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Saturday, October 10, 2015

David Von Pein: Thank You Mr. President 1983: A Look at President John F. Kennedy's Press Conferences

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Watching President John F. Kennedy’s press conferences makes me want President Barack Obama to do more of them. Because they really do have a lot in common when it comes to intelligence, being off the cuff both in humor and how they talk and being able to give long intelligent answers to a whole host of questions off the cuff and being able to do it with humor. President Kennedy made press conferences fun for the reporters there because of his quick wit, but also because he gave them real information that they could work on a whole host of issues. From civil rights, to the economy, to foreign policy, the budget, the Cold War, nuclear power and everything else. Which gave Americans a great idea about how the President thought and what his administration was working on.

This was Jack Kennedy’s first press conference as President of the United States. Early 1961 with Democrats not just coming to power, but now they had all the power as a party. With the White House and both chambers of Congress with large majorities both in the House and Senate. A big part of that had to do with the Democratic Party having a right-wing Dixiecrat base in the South. Democrats who are and would be Republicans today. So the Republican Party was not just in the opposition in 1961, but were an opposition minority party that was reeling and not sure where they would go from there. I think President Kennedy was enjoying all of this and taking little jabs at the GOP with their current political status and that comes off in come of his answers.