JUNE 4, 2012
THE BIG ONE II
Kenneth O'Donnell discusses the role that the advance man played in the 1960 KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT campaign.
He tells us that the method had been developed during Jack's Senate re-election campaign two years earlier.
The advance man travels to the places where the candidate will appear several days ahead of time. He makes arrangements with local party leaders as well as TV & radio officials.
Kenny says that his main function is "to get out the crowds."
Before the campaign had even begun, there was a school for the KENNEDY advance men.
Kenny then talks about the decision JFK made to speak to the Houston Ministers Association. He calls it "the most difficult, & probably the most important, decision of the campaign."
JFK was getting some advice to decline the invitation as Richard Nixon already had done.
LBJ & Speaker Sam Rayburn both thought JFK should also decline. As Mr. Sam put it: "They're mostly Republicans, & they're out to get you."
Kenny says that JFK made the decision to accept the speaking engagement while he was in the process of shaving.
JFK said: "This is as good a time as any to get it over with. I've got to face it sooner or later."*
*JFK had to face the fact that no American presidential candidate had won election to or even become President of the United States. There was the concern among some Protestants that a Catholic president would be taking orders from the Pope.