Secret Tapes Peer Into JFK's Final Days

45 hours of recordings cover politics, family
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 24, 2012 11:47 AM CST
UNITED STATES: John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-63), pictured in the 1960s in the USA. 09 November 1960, he was the first Catholic, and the youngest person, to be elected for Democratic party the president...   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Some 45 hours of newly-released private recordings offer an intimate look at John F. Kennedy's last months. The taped material ranges from discussions of Vietnam to planning his re-election bid and chats about Kennedy's family, MSNBC reports. Kennedy made some 260 hours' worth of recordings; the latest release marks the final batch. He didn't tell aides about the tapes, which run up until two days before his assassination.

Politico breaks down some of the highlights, including discussion of a problem that might resonate with the current administration:

  • Kennedy points out a rift between Washington and the rest of the country. "We’ve got so mechanical an operation here in Washington that it doesn’t have much identity where these people are concerned," he says.
  • Another recording covers a visit from the Soviet foreign minister, who tells Kennedy his children are "very popular in our country."
  • Some of the material is haunting: Referring to what would be the day of his funeral, he says, "Monday? Well, that's a tough day." Says an aide, "It's a hell of a day, Mr. President."

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