Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) NARRATOR: They were beginning to be
seen together around town

soon after he entered the Senate
in 1953 -

two dazzling stars in Washington's
normally dull firmament.

Jack Kennedy was 35 years old,

the most sought-after bachelor
in the capital.

Jacqueline Bouvier
was a shy 23-year-old beauty,

the belle of Manhattan,
Easthampton and Newport.

The couple had met at a dinner party
two years earlier

and had been warily circling
one another ever since.

WOMAN: She was engaged
when she met him

and she broke it off
very quickly.

She wrote in her diary
that she had an intimation

that Jack would have a profound

and possibly disturbing effect
on her life,

but he was worth it.

She once said to her sister
that to her,

imagination was the most important
thing she wanted to find in a man,

and she said
that's very difficult to find.

From his standpoint,

she was very different
from the women that he'd known,

which were primarily
his own sisters.

Eunice and Pat and Jean

were what one of his friends said
"tawny, coltish women."

They were energetic and they were
athletic and they were outspoken.

Jackie, by contrast,
was cerebral and soft-spoken

and they both had
a kind of dry and sly wit.

The romance was carried out
largely in the public eye,

and when Jackie agreed to marry
the senator in the summer of 1953,

the press was invited
to share the joy.

They were so beautiful.

They were so young.

She was very stylish.

Somebody in the 'New York Times'

that she made the world safe
for brunettes again.

MAN: Jackie was smart, gorgeous,

and although she had not been
born into a political family,

she knew precisely what to say.

Jack's closest friend,
Lem Billings,

actually warned her
before they were married

that she was
going to be marrying a man

who was known for his womanising,

and that it was unlikely
that he would stop.

And she later said that instead of
being put off by what Billings said,

she actually viewed it
as kind of a challenge.

"After the first year,
Jackie was wandering around,

"looking like the survivor
of an airplane crash,"

a friend later remembered.

Her new husband
did not go out of his way

to hide his dalliances from her.

Jack Kennedy treated this
as a matter of personal liberty,

and betrayed little guilt.

"He had this thing about him," said
the man who introduced the Kennedys,

"which was not under control."

And it wasn't just his womanising
that stunned Jackie.

"Politics was sort of my enemy,"
she confided.

"We had no home life whatsoever."

Let's go and meet the newlyweds.

Are you there, Senator?
Yes, right here, Mr Murrow.

Good evening, sir.
Thank you.

Good evening, Mrs Kennedy.
Good evening.

I understand that the two of you
had a very much publicised...

Whatever her misgivings, Jackie
Kennedy had married a politician,

and she dutifully accepted her role.

And you first met the Senator
when you interviewed him?

Well, I interviewed him
shortly after I met him.

Well, now,
which requires the most diplomacy -

to interview senators
or to be married to one?

Um, well...

Being married to one, I guess.

Over on Capitol Hill, however,

the Kennedys' star power
had less appeal.

The young senator's way of being

set Democratic leader
Lyndon Johnson's teeth to grinding.

HUGHES: Johnson looked at Jack
as a person who picked and chose

what he would like to do
in the Senate.

And the picking and choosing

wasn't Johnson's idea
of how the Senate ran,

nor was it the idea of the other
southern moguls who were in charge.

Kennedy was the troubadour who came
and played before the banquet

and left before
the dishwashing began.

And I think Lyndon talked about him
in exactly those terms.

CARO: Johnson says
Kennedy was pathetic

as a congressman and senator.

He didn't know how to address
the chair,

by which he meant
he didn't even know the rules.

What irked Johnson was
that he couldn't depend on the man.

Kennedy was often absent -

he ducked the controversial
censure vote on Joe McCarthy.

And Kennedy's
insistence on independence

was maddening
for the Majority Leader.

Whether it was civil rights
or labour legislation,

Johnson couldn't count on
the Democrat from Massachusetts

to vote the party line.

Lyndon Johnson could be cutting
about Kennedy

in front of fellow Senators -

said he looked like a victim
of rickets,

and joked about
his puny little ankles.

What Johnson didn't see

was how tough Jack Kennedy had to be

just to get out of bed
in the morning.

By 1954, the drug he took
to control his Addison's disease

was eating away at his spine.

DALLEK: It came to a point

that in order for him to walk
from his office to the Senate floor,

he had to move across
a marble floor,

and it was so hard on his back,

he needed crutches to allow him
to put one foot in front of another

without excruciating pain.

And so what he decides to do
is to have surgery,

even though it is
a danger to his life.

CARO: It requires the fusing
of two large sections of the spine

and a steel plate inserted there.

What makes it risky
is that he has Addison's disease.

And Addison's disease leads to
infections often during surgery.

NASAW: His father pleads with him -
"Don't do this operation."

And he holds out
the example of Roosevelt.

He said, "Roosevelt was President
and he was in a wheelchair.

"You can do it."

Jack said to him, "I'd rather
be dead than be in a wheelchair

"or hobbling around on crutches,
in pain the rest of my life."

Jack goes ahead
with the operation.

Hours afterwards,
an infection develops.

Fever spikes.

Last rites are performed.

Jack pulls out

and Joe has him flown to Palm Beach.

He would suffer
a series of setbacks in Florida.

The 8-inch incision on his back
would not close -

he developed an abscess,
needed a second surgery.

The convalescence
dragged on into 1955.

NASAW: Joe watches over him,
hires his doctors, his nurses,

converts a large part of their Palm
Beach house to a nursing facility,

and encourages Jack.

The Kennedys told reporters
that Jack's back problems

were a result of war injuries.

They did not disclose
his ongoing need of steroids,

or his Addison's disease.

Jack, meanwhile,
began work on a second book,

a series of essays
about United States senators

who had risked
their political careers

bucking convention and party
for a greater purpose.

With the help of Library of Congress
research files,

his speechwriter Ted Sorensen,

and a handful of Senate staffers
produced 'Profiles in Courage'.

For seven, eight months,
Jack recuperates.

And only after a lengthy period
is he able to return to the Senate.

INTERVIEWER: How does it feel
to be back?

JFK: Well, I'm glad to be back here

and have a chance to take part
in what's going on.

I'm sure my wife is too.

NASAW: He returns in pain.

And he will remain in pain
for the rest of his life.

JFK: It is now my privilege

to present to this convention,

as a candidate for
President of the United States,

the name of the man
uniquely qualified by virtue

of his compassion, his conscience,
and his courage...

The 1956 Democratic
presidential nominee,

Adlai Stevenson,

gave his party's youngest senator
a starring role at the convention -

the official nominating speech.

And his performance helped ignite
a Kennedy-for-Vice-President boom.

..Adlai E. Stevenson.

How would you like to be
Vice President with him?

Well, I'd be honoured, of course,
if chosen,

but I've always had my doubts
whether I'd ever be chosen.

He wasn't sure he even
wanted a place on the ticket.

Joe Kennedy had counselled him
to steer clear.

But Stevenson threw the choice
to a floor vote,

and Jack Kennedy had a hard time
backing down from a challenge -

even against the better-known and
esteemed senator, Estes Kefauver.

Jack Kennedy liked his chances,

and he liked the feeling
on the convention floor.

The delegates
took his candidacy seriously.

CARO: This whole thing
lasted, like, 24 hours,

before the vice-presidential

And Kennedy makes a real try for it.

Texas proudly casts its vote

for that fighting sailor
who wears the scars of battle,

and that very senator -

the next Vice President
of the United States -

John Kennedy of Massachusetts.

CARO: For a moment, it seemed
actually like he's going to win.

But Kefauver beats him.

He has to make a concession speech
to Kefauver.

When he gets up there,
he's facing a sea of Kefauver signs.

They're all waving in his face.

And you look at Kennedy,
who's always immaculate -

at this moment he is not immaculate.

Ladies and gentlemen...

Ladies and gentlemen
of this convention...

In fact, one point of the collar
of his shirt is sticking out.

And as he's talking,
if you watch his hands,

he has the gavel in his hands
and he restlessly turns it around.

You saw a young man in defeat,

and you also see someone
who covers it up so well.

I hope that this convention

will make Estes Kefauver's
nomination unanimous.

Thank you.

Jack was very depressed, very upset.

And Bobby was there.
And he couldn't cheer him up.

And he said, "Let's call Dad."

So I remember when we all went
to call Dad, and he said,


He said to Jack,

"That's the best thing
that ever happened to you.

"That was magnificent.
I don't know how you did that.

"Was absolutely great."

He said,
"Adlai Stevenson is going nowhere."

He said, "He's going nowhere, and
that's... Kefauver's going nowhere.

"So you've just pulled it off,

"and I can't tell you
how wonderful that was."

And Jack came out beaming. Beaming.

Joe Kennedy
knew what he was talking about.

Stevenson lost big to Eisenhower,

which made the governor
a 2-time loser

and left the Democratic nomination
wide open next time round.

Jack Kennedy
understood the obstacles

to winning the presidency in 1960,

and they were not small.

He was younger than anybody
ever elected to the office.

He had few legislative
achievements to run on.

And, then too,
there was his religion.

In 1957, a quarter of the electorate
still said

they were unwilling to
vote for a Catholic for President.

There was a fear across the land

that Catholics
would be controlled by the Pope,

that they couldn't think
on their own,

and therefore
they weren't really Americans

in the way that Protestants were.

Some in the party argued
the country would change in time,

that he was still a young man,
that he could wait it out.

Jack Kennedy thought otherwise.

His star turn
at the 1956 convention

meant he would be taken seriously
in 1960.

He was not going to let
this moment pass.

And I want to be sure
that we haven't lost something

important in this country,

that we haven't gone soft...

He had campaigned across
the country for Stevenson in '56.

..that we just look to our own
private interests...

Let us cut the budget
and let us save on foreign aid.

And with his speechwriter
Ted Sorensen riding shotgun,

he just kept going in 1957.

The reason
the Communists attack us

is because they know
when the United States fails,

the cause of freedom fails.

There were county chairmen
to meet in every state,

delegates to woo.

Jackie was pregnant most
of that year, and nervously so.

She'd already had one miscarriage,
and delivered a stillborn daughter.

But her husband
rarely stopped travelling.

When Kennedy's
new back specialist

went to Palm Beach
for a consultation,

she, too, got the program.

She comes down and there's this
huge map of the United States,

where his father and he are plotting
out, you know, his next trips.

He's travelling
all around the United States,

trying to trying to make contact
with politicians.

And she says, "Well, you know, to do
this you need periods of rest."

And he says,
"Well, there's no time for rest."

And she says, "Well,
you have to change the schedule."

And he said,
"The schedule will not be changed."

When he was in Washington,

Kennedy was always on the lookout
for ways to take a stand apart

from the other would-be presidents
in the Senate -

Stuart Symington, Hubert Humphrey,

and above all, the majority leader,
Lyndon Johnson.

This is a strike-breaking,
union-busting bill, in my opinion.

Mr Harper, this bill is not a

You're the best argument
I know for it,

your testimony here this afternoon,

your complete indifference
to the fact...

He dabbled in domestic issues
where he saw opportunity,

like in the nationally televised

into racketeering
in the labour unions.

..might tend to incriminate them,

your complete indifference to it
I think makes this bill essential.

His chief interest, and his focus,
remained foreign affairs.

His father even managed to talk
Lyndon Johnson into giving Jack

a coveted slot on the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

HUGHES: When Kennedy
said that he would become chairman

of the African subcommittee in the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee,

he sort of got a commitment
that it would never have to meet.

And Johnson thought that was typical

of the kind of committee
that Kennedy would like to run.

REPORTER: Scenes like this are
taking place daily all over Algeria,

as French colonial troops round up
natives by the thousands

in a desperate attempt to halt
the guerrilla reign of terror

that has spread the length
and breadth of the colony.


The bloody escalation
of the 3-year-old war

for independence in Algeria

gave Senator Kennedy
a shot at the spotlight,

and one that played to his long-held
interest in foreign policy.

He identifies himself with
a kind of anti-colonial posture,

with the idea that the United States

is locked in a contest
with the Soviet Union

for hearts and minds
in the Third World,

in the developing world, in Africa,
in Asia, in Latin America.

And he sees Algeria
as the case study of the time.

JFK: I am concerned today that we
are failing to meet the challenge

of imperialism on both counts,
both East and West,

and thus failing
in our responsibilities

to the free world
and to ourselves.

What Kennedy was saying was,

"We know that French imperialism
is going to die out.

"The question is -

"are we going to be on the right
side or the wrong side of history?

"If we make a choice now,
we can help shape the outcome.

"If we align ourselves with Paris
until the bitter end,

"the new generation of leaders
in Algeria will remember that

"and won't talk to us."

I am introducing a resolution,

which I believe
outlines the best hopes for peace

and a settlement in Algeria...

MAN: Dean Acheson,
the former Secretary of State,

came out saying this speech

was "the irresponsible utterings
of a juvenile senator,"

because it was throwing aside

our alliance with Portugal
and France and England

in support of Africa and Asia, etc.

NAFTALI: France was a NATO
ally of ours in Europe.

Were we going to abandon our ally
for the sake of a group

of revolutionaries who might
turn out to be Communists?

Kennedy said,
"Yeah, you take that chance,

"because you want to vote
with the future, not with the past."

Senator, what do you feel

is the single most critical issue
facing the Congress at this time?

Well, I think it's the same issue

which has been facing us
for 10 years,

and that's our relations
with the Soviet Union

and this question of war and peace

and also the question of
whether the uncommitted countries,

the Middle East, Africa and Asia,

will move
to the Communist bloc or our own

and turn the balance of power
for us or against us.

And that's obviously the most
important issue of the day

and will be during, I think,
our lifetime.

MAN: When Sputnik went up
by the Russians

the surprise
could not have been greater.

How did they get ahead of us?

The Russians claimed
they invented everything -

the car, the plane, penicillin,
whatever it was.

The Russians would always say,
"Oh, no, we had that first."

This they had first,
and they proved it.

The October 1957 launch of Sputnik -

a 184-pound
beach-ball-sized satellite -

spurred an instant jump in Cold War
hysteria, and not without reason.

If the Soviets were able to launch
a satellite into space,

could they also reach the US
with nuclear-armed missiles?

US Air Force bombers
went on 24-hour alert.

The Eisenhower administration

began sending extra planes
into Soviet airspace,

just to remind Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev

who had the upper hand in bombers.

When President Eisenhower
pursued more - and more potent -

nuclear warheads for the US arsenal,

the Soviets answered.

6 in 10 Americans believed
nuclear war was imminent

and would be catastrophic.

(GIGGLES) Mum! VOICEOVER: Experience
a new way to move. The new Samsung Motion Sync
vacuum. With a swivel body, cambered wheels and powerful suction...'s designed
to move in sync with you.

Samsung Motion Sync vacuum.

Kennedy appeared unruffled by the
rising dangers of the Cold War.

He increased his travel schedule,
running harder, state to state,

the list of delegates

who had supported
his Vice Presidential candidacy

tucked in his pocket.

CARO: Jack Kennedy
could learn on the run.

So he's travelling
around the country,

and he's seeing
that politics is changing.

He's learning that the power
isn't back in Washington anymore -

the power is with these
younger people in the states,

if he can just line them up for him.

He's learning that the old party
machinery doesn't work.

He knows that he's got the money

to mount an independent campaign,

that he's got the charisma, without
the help of any party bigwigs.

He begins a change in American
politics that is quite significant.

INTERVIEWER: Senator, when are you
going to drop this public pretence

of non-candidacy

and frankly admit
that you already are seeking

the Democratic
presidential nomination of 1960?

Well, Mr Lawrence,
I think there's an appropriate time

for anyone to make a decision
and a final announcement

as to whether
he's going to be a candidate...

MAN: It seemed to me

that there was a sort of
perpetual half-smile on his face.

There was a sense of joy
about what he was doing,

that he loved what he was doing.

DALLEK: He's only 43 years old.

And a woman says to him,
"Young man, it's too soon."

And he says, "No, ma'am.
This is my time."

I am today announcing my candidacy

for the Presidency
of the United States.

The Presidency is the most powerful
office in the free world.

Through its leadership

can come a more vital life
for all of our people.

Kennedy officially announced
his candidacy in January of 1960.

Political odds-makers
put his chances

well below Senators Symington,
Humphrey and Johnson.

And if the old rules applied,
Kennedy was surely in trouble.

The well-worn path to the Democratic
presidential nomination

went through the state party
chairmen and the big city bosses,

who still thought they could
keep their delegations in line.

But Kennedy already had a handful
of key players in every state,

and a way to show himself a winner -

the primaries.

The few state primaries were
regarded as side events before 1960,

fine for junior senators
like Jack Kennedy,

but not worthy
of serious candidates.

Lyndon Johnson
sat them out that year.

HUGHES: Johnson stayed in the
Senate, stayed as majority leader,

told everybody else
who was leaving town

that they should be
ashamed of themselves

and they should be
back legislating, not speaking.

DALLEK: Johnson's supposition
is that he's earned the nomination

by dint of his role
as Senate majority leader,

he has very good relations

with various party bosses
across the country,

and that Jack Kennedy is an upstart.

"Who is this kid who's trying to
displace me and take the nomination?

"I deserve it."

Nice to see you.

I'm Senator Humphrey,
just stopping by to say hello.

The most important early
primary was in Wisconsin,

where Kennedy had a real opponent -

the popular Senator
from neighbouring Minnesota,

Hubert Humphrey.

Say, that's just what I need
for my campaign. Can I have that?

I'm running short!

You should realise
that you are voting

for the most important individual
in the entire free world...

He cast Humphrey
as the establishment candidate,

and ran against the party bosses.

And he cast himself as the underdog,

in spite of a huge advantage
in money and television exposure,

and having celebrity backers,
like Frank Sinatra.

# K-E-double-N-E—D—Y

# Jack's the nation's favourite guy

# Everyone wants to back Jack

# Jack is on the right track

# Come on and vote for Kennedy

# Vote for Kennedy

# He'll keep America strong

# Kennedy
He just keeps rolling a...

# Kennedy
He just keeps rolling a...

# Kennedy

# He just keeps rolling along

# Vote for Kennedy! #

INTERVIEWER: Senator, good evening.

Good evening, Sandy.
How does the evening look to you?

As all these election nights are,
it's a very interesting evening.

He knew on election day
he was going to win...

..but as the results came in,

and his margin was narrower
than he'd expected,

Kennedy began to understand
there would be a caveat.

The party elders could argue
that his victory in Wisconsin

owed to his overwhelming margin

in the state's large bloc
of big-city Catholic voters,

as if his religion
had been an unfair advantage.

DALLEK: He understands
this is not enough.

If he's going to win
that nomination,

he has to convince people

in the Democratic Party
and around the country

that he can win Protestant votes,

that he's more than just
a Catholic candidate.

His sister, after the victory
in Wisconsin, says to him,

"Well, what does it mean?"

He says, "It means we've got
to go on to West Virginia."

West Virginia is a state
with 97% Protestant population.

Humphrey started with
a 20-point lead in West Virginia

and the backing of the state's
popular senator, Robert Byrd.

He also got
a new campaign theme song,

the anti-Catholic dog-whistle,
'Give Me That Old Time Religion'.

The Kennedys answered in kind.

Joe blanketed the state with money,

buying the support
of crucial local bosses.

Bobby recruited
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr

to allege that Humphrey had shirked
his military duty in World War II.

Jack Kennedy and I served in the
United States Navy for five years.

DALLEK: And John Kennedy
then dismisses this

as a terrible thing
to have been said about Hubert.

And he keeps going
around the state, saying,

"It's a terrible thing to say
that Hubert's a draft dodger,

"a terrible thing,"

until it fastened itself
on people's minds

that Hubert
maybe was a draft dodger.

Kennedy left West Virginia
on May 11, 1960, with a win.

He got in his private plane,
outfitted to carry staff and press -

a first in presidential campaigns -

and flew off to primaries
in Maryland and then Oregon

to pile up more delegates to take to
the nominating convention that July.

CARO: Jack Kennedy
is going around the country.

He's showing the country
what he is -

this charming, incredible,
adept campaigner.

The 'New York Times' says,
"The calliope sound of a bandwagon

"is being heard
in the Democratic Party."

All of a sudden
Lyndon Johnson wakes up.

Senator Jack Kennedy
of Massachusetts

has won every primary
in which he's entered.

He's won them in a breeze.
Does this entitle him...

Well, Mr Kennedy is a very
effective and able young man.

Let me finish my question.

Does this entitle him to the
Democratic presidential nomination?

Well, I wouldn't think that we would
want to nominate our president

on the basis of what
four states or five states

or six states
or eight states might say

in a limited primary system
where only a few people participate.

By the time he got around
to announcing his candidacy

for the Democratic
presidential nomination

just a week before the party
convention in Los Angeles,

Johnson needed a miracle.

So he pulled out
his last best hope -

he sent a private investigator
to dig up Kennedy's health records.

DALLEK: They get to the Democratic
convention in Los Angeles,

and Johnson unleashes his aide,
a man named John Connally,

and Connally will issue a story
about Kennedy's Addison's disease,

raising the question
of whether Kennedy

is physically capable
of serving as president.

That Jack Kennedy
suffered from Addison's disease

was a fact beyond dispute,

but the Kennedys disputed it.

"John F. Kennedy does not now
nor has he ever

"had an ailment described
classically as Addison's disease,"

Bobby claimed.

The Addison's story didn't stick,
but Johnson kept fighting anyway -

he still couldn't believe
Jack Kennedy, of all people,

could take the nomination
away from him.

For six days and nights
we had 24-hour sessions.

Six days and nights
I had to deliver a quorum of 51 men,

on a moment's notice,

to keep the Senate in session,
to get any bill at all.

And I'm proud to tell you
that, on those 50 quorum calls,

Lyndon Johnson
answered every one of them.


Although, some men
who would be president...

..on a civil rights platform,
answered none.

Let me just say that I appreciate
what Senator Johnson had to say.

He made some general references

to, uh, perhaps the shortcomings
of other presidential candidates.

But, as he was not specific,

I assume he was talking
about some of the other candidates

and not about me.

Kennedy parried Johnson
with the grace of a sure winner.

Bobby, meanwhile,
was working the phones,

keeping a white-knuckle grip on
his brother's committed delegates.

He knew Johnson operatives were
still trying to peel them away.

California cast 7.5 votes
for Johnson...

..33.5 votes for Kennedy...

SEIGENTHALER: The Kennedy campaign

thought they had
every hole plugged... president of
the United States - John F. Kennedy.

..and were aware that,
if something came unplugged,

they wanted to be
on top of it immediately.

Senator Kennedy - 104.5 votes.

And every delegation was covered.

Wyoming's vote remits majority
to Senator Kennedy.

The motion is
that the rules be suspended

and that John F. Kennedy

be nominated for president
of the United States

by acclamation.


Ladies and gentlemen, your nominee,

and the next president of
the United States - John F. Kennedy!

CARO: The next morning at 6:30,

the phone rings
in Bobby Kennedy's suite.

It's his brother.

He says, "Count up
how many votes we have

"if we take the Northeast,
the eastern states, plus Texas."

Bobby Kennedy calls in
two of his top advisors,

Ken O'Donnell
and Pierre Salinger.

He says to them,
"Count up these votes, plus Texas."

Salinger, as he calls, says,

"You're not thinking of nominating
Lyndon Johnson. You can't do that!"

Kennedy knew how Johnson
talked about him -

"Little Johnny" or "Sonny Boy",

"Heard his paediatricians have
given him a clean bill of health."

And he knew his brother Bobby
despised Johnson.

But hatred was one of the few
luxuries Kennedy could not afford,

not in picking a running mate.

The numbers said he needed
to win Texas to win the presidency,

and there was one man
who could deliver the state.

WOFFORD: Robert Kennedy
tried to stop it.

He went down to try to persuade
Johnson not to accept it,

that the opposition to him
was too great.

HUGHES: I remember
how haggard Bobby looked.

Johnson obviously had told him

that he didn't want to speak
to his brother's spokesman,

he wanted to speak to his brother.

"If Jack has anything to say,
he can call me.

"Here's my phone number."

Senator Kennedy announced his choice

as Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson
of the state of Texas,

the Senate Majority Leader,

and his foremost rival
for the presidential nomination...

There are many compartments
in Jack's mind.

I think the main one was
that he wanted to win.

REPORTER: And there is
the presidential candidate,

Senator John Kennedy
of Massachusetts,

as he comes out of the
Biltmore hotel to come to his car.

This motorcade will drive the three
miles out here to the colosseum.

John F. Kennedy
had never lost an election.

And now, against all odds,
at age 43,

he was just one win
away from the presidency.

He was confident he could get there.

What the American voters craved -
Kennedy had come to understand -

was a good story.

And the set piece Kennedy would
campaign on in the general election

had it all -

good versus evil,
freedom versus slavery,

a youthful paladin -
that would be himself -

and his powerful antagonist, the
Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev,

who proved the perfect foil in 1960.

For the world is changing.
The old era is ending.

The old ways will not do.

Abroad, the balance of power
is shifting.

New and more terrible weapons
are coming into use.

One third of the world may be free,

but one third is the victim
of a cruel repression,

and the other third is racked
by poverty and hunger and disease.

Communist influence
has penetrated into Asia.

It stands in the Middle East

and now festers some 90 miles
off the coast of Florida.

Khrushchev had come
to the United States

to the United Nations session
in September of 1960,

banged the shoe on the desk,
and said, "We will bury you.

"We are grinding out missiles
like sausages."

So there was a heightened
sense of competition.

And this appealed
to Kennedy's competitive spirit.

And I say we can't afford
to have the White House

as a training ground
for an inexperienced man...

Kennedy was certain
he could show himself the better man

in a race against the sitting
Vice President, Richard Nixon.

But I am not satisfied
as an American

to be second to the Soviet Union

in sending a missile to the moon
or sending Sputnik around the globe

or having
the second strongest arms...

The polls, however, showed a dead
heat coming out of the conventions,

and Kennedy could not shake free
from the mire of religion.

He watched with increasing ire

as Protestant ministers
across the country

stirred opposition
among their parishioners.

The Reverend
Martin Luther King, Sr,

said he could not in good conscience
vote for a Catholic.

He instructed his flock
to vote for Nixon.

It was very nasty.

I mean, let's just
be blunt about it.

For a while, he didn't really
want to have to deal with it.

He just wanted people to look at him
and judge him on his own record.

But it was getting
so virulent and so scary

that he then, in the fall campaign,

went to Houston
and spoke to the ministers,

went, sort of, into the belly
of the beast, as it were.

Reverend Meza, Reverend Reck,

I'm grateful for your generous
invitation to state my views.

NAFTALI: His advisors said,
"Don't do this.

"You are just making
religion an issue.

"You are actually
speaking to the bigots.

"The bigots want you to remind
people that you're a Catholic.

"Don't do this!" He did it.

So it is apparently necessary
for me to state once again

not what kind of church
I believe in -

for that should be important
only to me -

but what kind of America
I believe in.

I believe in an America

where the separation
of church and state is absolute.

He was making, sort of,
a moral, ethical argument

about what it means to be American.

And this is the kind of America
I fought for in the South Pacific

and the kind
my brother died for in Europe.

No-one suggested then that
we might have a divided loyalty,

that we did not believe in liberty,

or that we belonged to a disloyal
group that threatened - I quote -

"the freedoms for which
our forefathers died."

And he said,
"We would hate to have a country

"that millions of people
who, on the day they're baptised,

"are told they can't be
president of the United States."

So I want you to know
that I'm grateful to you

for inviting me tonight.

I'm sure that I have made
no converts to my church,

but I do hope...I do hope
that at least my view,

which I believe to be the view of
my fellow Catholics who hold office,

I hope that it may be of some value

in at least assisting you
to make a careful judgment.

Thank you.

How can Officeworks
print and copy solutions help you? Well, we can print these. These.
These. These.
These! And of course, these. You name it, we can print it. Nice.

The general election campaign
of 1960 featured a new wrinkle...

Pull the curtains back
entirely, please.

..the first ever one-on-one debates
between the major-party candidates

broadcast live across the nation.

look this way, please.

Looking right at the camera here.
Do that again.

NASAW: In every campaign
from '46 on,

his father taught Jack
how to use the camera as his friend,

how to look into the camera,

to smile, look charming,
but be serious.

It was no accident,
no accident at all,

that when Jack Kennedy
debates Nixon,

Nixon, the champion debater,
comes off worse,

because Nixon doesn't know
how to look into a camera.

He doesn't know
how to connect with an audience.

He looks stiff, sweaty, scared.

And Jack is totally,
absolutely composed.

It isn't enough to compare what
might have been done 8 years ago

or 10 years ago or 15 years ago
or 20 years ago.

I want to compare
what we're doing...

DALLEK: Nixon was someone who would
sweat under the klieg lights,

and his make-up ran,

and somebody later said, "He looked
like a sinister chipmunk."

NIXON: I will concede

that in all the areas
to which I have referred...

According to opinion polling,

the majority of people
who listened in on radio

thought Nixon won the first debate.

JFK: If we appoint people
to ambassadorships

and positions in Washington...

Among television viewers,
the clear winner was Kennedy.

JFK: ..then the United States
does not maintain its influence.

The split decision in the
opening debate was a wake-up call,

and through the next three debates,
and every day in between,

Kennedy kept hammering
at Eisenhower and Nixon.

Can you imagine if this country
elects Dick Nixon

Republican President
of the United States?

He hit them for allowing Americans

to lose their sense
of national purpose,

for allowing
the US economic engine to sputter

as compared to the Soviets',

for allowing the United States
to fall behind the Soviet Union

in science and technology

and, most dangerously,
in nuclear arms -

what Kennedy called
the "missile gap".

If there is any lesson
of the summit,

it is that the Communists believe

that the military balance of power
is shifting in their direction.

Why was the United States unable to
get an indictment of Castro by name?

Jack was the representative

of the new, young,
vibrant generation.

And Jack ran on that theme,
and ran hard.

The United States looks tired.

It looks like our brightest days
have been in the past.

It looks like the Communists
are reaching for the future,

and we sit back and talk about the
ideals of the American Revolution.

He says Eisenhower was an old man

who wasn't watching over
the store anymore.

And Nixon was his accomplice.

And only this young hero,
Jack Kennedy,

who knew how to fight
and knew how to win,

was going to put the United States

back in its
commanding position again.

And there's a direct line
between what Jack says in 1960

and what he writes in 1939,
'Why England Slept' -

"The only way to deter aggression

"is to have an impregnable
military defence.

"And I'm the one
who can build that military,

"because I'm the new man, the man
of the future, the new generation,

"not an old, tired Republican."

Kennedy opened a comfortable lead
in the polls in mid-October,

but he was careful
not to get swept up

in the energy and excitement
of his rallies.

The Catholic question
still worried him,

and the issue of civil rights

demanded cunning
political calculation.

JFK: I come as a citizen
of the United States...

He placated white-supremacist
Democrats in the South,

who insisted on their right

to enforce segregation
in their own states.

But he also meant
to signal his sympathy

to the growing number of African
American voters - North and South.

MAN: At that time, the 1960s,

the black community across the South

were largely
Abraham Lincoln Republicans.

My parents were Republicans.

And I was rather cynical
about the Kennedy family,

that they didn't know
any black people.

There was a deep-seated
personal suffering

that we did know in the rural South.

But Kennedy didn't know any of that.

Kennedy shadowed Nixon's position
on civil rights.

Both candidates talked of promoting
equal opportunity for everyone,

but neither was willing
to pledge federal power

to actually enforce
court-ordered integration

of schools
and public accommodations.

As the campaign headed
into its final days, though,

Kennedy found a way
to separate himself from Nixon.

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr,

the nation's most respected
civil rights leader,

was arrested
at a protest in Georgia.

YOUNG: They put him in chains and
put him in the back of a paddy wagon

to Reidsville Penitentiary

in the middle of the night.

And nobody knew where he was.

WOFFORD: Coretta King
was six months pregnant,

and I had never seen her panic,

but she was panicked by this,
and called me

and said, "I think
they're going to kill him,"

and, you know,
"Can't you do anything?"

Kennedy's brother-in-law,
Sargent Shriver,

went to see if the candidate
might be willing

to reach out to Dr King's wife.

Shriver knew the Kennedy
political operation

wanted no part
of a civil rights controversy

in the final days of the campaign.

He said, "You know,
you've been trying to figure out

"what you could do
that would help in this situation.

"You can't issue a public statement,

"but what about calling her
and conveying your sympathy?"

He said Kennedy thought
for a couple minutes,

and then, a good Kennedy grin, said,

"That's a very good idea.
Do you have her number?"

On the airplane,
Salinger asked Kennedy,

"Did you do anything
when we were all out?"

And he said, "Yeah, I called
Mrs Martin Luther King."

And they went wild, and Bobby was
just livid with anger and fury,

and fear that it was going to lose
a number of Southern states.

Bobby eventually calmed down

and made a series of discreet
phone calls to help free King.

But Kennedy's team kept
most of the manoeuvring under wraps,

and they did not talk up the call
to Coretta to the national press.

They were, however,
quick to take advantage

when Mrs King went public about
her sympathetic call from Kennedy.

The campaign printed hundreds
of thousands of pamphlets

telling the story of Kennedy's
kindness to the King family -

and Nixon's silence -

and shipped those pamphlets
across the country,

many by Greyhound bus,

to be distributed at black churches.

YOUNG: The reaction that got
the publicity was Daddy King saying,

"I got a whole suitcase
full of votes,

"and I'm going to throw them
toward this Kennedy boy.

"I wasn't sure about
a Catholic in the White House,

"but he's won me over."

SONG: # Kennedy is showing

# That's why Kennedy is going... #

In the final push of the campaign,

the crowds that came out were the
biggest Kennedy had ever seen...

..but the candidate was spent,
and edgy.

# All the way... #

He didn't like
the feel of the race -

on the eve of the election, he was
sure Nixon was closing on him.

He wanted to fly west
for a little extra campaigning.

His advisors insisted
there was little left to do,

and so Kennedy settled in at the
family compound in Hyannis Port

to watch the results come in.

# All the way. #

NASAW: The house next door,
which was Bobby's house,

was set up as campaign headquarters,

and all the children's bedrooms
were turned into research rooms.

As the returns came in,
it was frighteningly close.

There was a problem
with the Catholic vote,

which they had hoped
would be 90%...was 80%.

But worse, traditional Democratic
votes in Protestant areas

were not coming in Democratic -

Protestants weren't voting
for Jack Kennedy.

They were either not voting
or they were voting for Nixon.

We're trying to settle here,
so far without any success,

or without enough success,

the closest...
one of the closest elections

in the history of the United States.

Kennedy didn't know
if he'd won or not

when he went to sleep that night -

the press was unable
to make sense of the vote totals

out of Cook County, Illinois.

We still have some states
that aren't certain, but...

Texas was neck-and-neck.

Nobody could call California.

When he did wake up
the next morning,

Jack Kennedy was president-elect.

He had won the popular vote
by less than 0.25%.

Kennedy's razor-thin advantages
in Illinois and 10 other states

had made the difference
in electoral votes.

His huge margin among black voters
helped pull him through

in as many as five
of those key states.

And the bet on Lyndon Johnson
had paid off -

the Kennedy-Johnson ticket
had carried Texas.

REPORTER: There he is, there he is,

the next president
of the United States.

He always sits in the front seat

and, incidentally,
so does Mr Khrushchev.

These people find that you can wave
more easily from that point.

And I can assure you

that every degree of mind and spirit
that I possess

will be devoted to the long-range
interest of the United States

and to the cause of freedom
around the world.

So now my wife and I prepare
for a new administration...

..and for a new baby.

Thank you.

John F. Kennedy
had spent the campaign of 1960

telling the American people
he would be a new kind of president.

He'd promised not just dynamism,
but strength.

He had promised
to stand up to the Soviets,

and to protect American
pre-eminence in the world.

His stubborn insistence on being
the kind of leader he'd vowed to be

would make his presidency

among the most energetic, the most
far-reaching, the most perilous

and the most tragic
in American history.

Supertext Captions by
Red Bee Media Australia
Captions copyright SBS 2013

Hi - Andy Park from the SBS newsroom. Coming up in World News Australia tonight - we'll take you live to the Philippines, where incredible stories are emerging of both death and destruction, but also of survival, in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Australian medical teams and essential aid are being readied for dispatch in Darwin as hunger, disease and looting now become the most urgent problems. A gunman in New York kills three Iranian indie-band members and injures a fourth person before killing himself. The gunman was allegedly upset at being kicked out of another band on the bill. And how the man behind the cult TV show Game of Thrones is using fantasy to inform reality. Author, George RR Martin and much more, tonight on World News Australia, right after Dateline.

This program is captioned live. Hi. I'm Jenny Brockie. Thanks for