Friday, October 31, 2014



Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Today we continue our review of Benjamin C. Bradlee's* article "He Had That Special Grace" from Newsweek's Special Section in its issue dated December 2, 1963.

The section of Mr. Bradlee's article that we will discuss today is titled A Palmer in Power.

Bradlee writes...

"John Kennedy had a Walter Mitty* streak in him, as wide as his smile.  On the golf course, when he was winning, he reminded himself most of Arnold Palmer** in raw power, or Julius Boros*** in finesse.  When he was losing he was 'the old warrior' at the end of a brilliant career, asking only that his faithful caddy point him in the right direction..."

Bradlee, as many other of JFK's friends and associates would say, describes the President as "restless and exuberant."  He was a man who faced challenges as they came and like a football quarterback who calls a play and regardless if it succeeds or fails looks ahead to the next play call.

As president, JFK had many "calls" to make and looked forward to even more in a second term.  Bradlee says that Mr. Kennedy "had no doubt he would be reelected" but he "hoped" for a mandate that clearly escaped him in 1960.

Bradlee admits that his friend was "a blunt man," and, in fact, "sometimes profane when it came to assessing" his rivals, but although he expected to run against Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, JFK "liked him."

Benjamin Bradlee concludes this section by writing...

"For John Kennedy was a loving man, lately come to lasting love.  And historians are too far removed from love."

The Bradlees and The Kennedys
Newport Country Club
Photo by Robert Knudsen
JFK Library Image

We will continue our look at "He Had That Special Grace" in tomorrow's post.

*Walter Mitty is a fictional character created by James Thurber in 1939.  Danny Kaye played the character in 1947 and Ben Stiller in 2013.  Walter Mitty is described as a mild man with a vivid fantasy life.

**Arnold Palmer is a professional golfer who is considered one of the greatest in history.  He was the first superstar of the sports television age in the 1950s and 1960s.  AP was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

***Julius Boros (1920-1994) was a professional golfer noted for his effortless swing.  Known as "Moose," he won both the Masters and U.S. Open Tournaments in 1963.  He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1982.


"He Had That Special Grace...," by Benjamin Bradlee, Newsweek Magazine, December 2, 1963.

Benjamin C. Bradlee
by Miguel Ariel Contreras