tv Book TV CSPAN November 22, 2009 7:00am-7:45am EST
>> obama presidential campaign adviser shaun casey appeared at the 2009 southern festival of books in nashville, tennessee. he discusses his book the making of a catholic president. it is about the election and how john f. kennedy used his face to his advantage. this event is 45 minutes. >> i want to talk about why we should care about the 1960 election, what was so special about that one. i wanted to be about the major lessons i learned in my research that you can find in the book if you take the time to read it. thirdly if we're time i will walk you through three pivotal scenes in the book. and then find that want to do some questions and answers back and forth if you have questions, i would kind of like to get your feedback as we go through it. there are a number of reasons to look at the 1960 election. you have to faceting political
characters. john kennedy and richard nixon were two of the most political brilliant minds and america produced in the 1960s. nixon was on the national ticket five times, and won four out of the five times. the last i checked that's a pretty good batting average is. of course, john kennedy to come in the first and only roman catholic president in american history is a very interesting story in and of itself that it was an extraordinarily close election. kennedy won the election by just a tick or two over 100,000 votes out of the tens of millions that were cast. it was extraordinarily close. it was also really the first modern campaign when you think about pollsters, you think about use of media. you think of mass buying of advertising. and when you think about religion as a political force, you add all those together and many things we take for granted in our races today, began in mid- 1960 election.
i think it's the beginning of modern political presidential campaigns. but it was also what i call the larva stage of the religious right in the united states. if you look at who the players were among conservative protestants in 1960, you see some of the leading lights of what we now call the religious right first becoming active in that election. people like billy graham, the national association of evangelicals, and a host of smaller conservative protestant players really broke in their sweatshirt and sneakers in that election as they discovered they had political power. and that politicians cared about their opinions. the trajectory takes off that by now certainly the religious right is a very powerful force. 1960s where they really began to get thirst and taste for playing a very large and high political level. so those are all good reasons i think were thinking about this election in 1960s because
those themes reverberate down to this day. what did i learn in the process of writing this book? sort of two major lessons. first of all, kennedy had a very sophisticated approach to his catholicism because all of his holdings told him that this would be the major problem in the american electorate, whether or not they would vote for john kennedy or not. 50 years later, that strikes us as a little odd in terms of we don't think of on going to go for that person or to vote against that person based on their religious affiliation. but in the mid- 20th century anti-catholicism was alive and well. even liberals had a very dim view of the roman catholic church in this country. so ted sorensen said that religion was the toughest issue
they face. sorensen was really the brain trust inside the kennedy campaign, and they knew all things equal they would win that election, but they're one achilles' heel was the religion issue. if you'd grown up in massachusetts and had run for politics, being a catholic in the '50s and '60s was no advantage because the population is heavily catholic. sorensen sensitivity operation had never experienced the kind of anti-catholicism that was quite common in this part of the world, and further south. so they had a very steep learning curve to master. one of the things they did is they employed a number of folks who they thought they were the smartest people they could find on that issue. they hired advisers. kennedy himself actually turned to a number of catholic leaders and had a private sort of conversation going on on the side about how to deal with this
issue. the irony was one of the criticisms of kennedy he was going to be beholden to these leaders. they were not telling them what to do, they were giving him advice and in many cases he took it and in some cases he didn't take it. but his primary political mentor within the catholic church was bishop john wright of in the pittsburgh diocese. he was asked a diocesan priest and the boston diocesan and he got to know john tierney immediately after world war ii. his career then takes off within the church just as kennedy's takes off in politics. eventually right became the highest-ranking american in the vatican. he was named cardinal and brought to rome. wright was offering him advice about how to run, and in the book i discovered archival material else has found that goes into great detail with what
that relationship and the kind of advice that kennedy had. kennedy applied what i call that kind of technical rationality to this problem. he didn't fully understand why his catholicism was a problem in places like texas or tennessee or alabama or mississippi, but he employed the resources to understand and then try to address the issues that got identified as he had talked to these advisers. you see dexterity of policy and action in kennedy's mind. when he found the problem he said to her the best people we can bring to help us with that problem, and then he took their advice. emmy and i argued it was with that device that allowed him to win the election and try to win over the more conservative protestant forces. the second thing i learned was richard nixon had an anti-catholic strategy. in retrospect, perhaps not surprised by the revelation, and as you look at some of the standard in the 1960 race, nixon always said i am not going to raise the religion of my opponent in this election.
there was sort of a nixonian bailiffs to that. even the sunday night before the general election, nixon bought a half-hour primetime television. he reminded his audience yet again i'm not going to raise the religion of my opponent in this election subtly reminding you that if you had a problem with them being catholic i he is in fact a catholic so please be reminded when you go to the polls in a few days. but beyond this, public denial. and it is true and nixon did not publicly exploit the issue of that these throwaway lines in a lot of his speeches. he had been on the grand strategy of organizing conservative ministers, sometimes from the southern baptist church, from the national association of each been jellicle's, the church of christ and other groups. such that millions of pieces of literature were circulated during the course of the campaign because nixon had won operative in the field off of the books and below the radar screen going around organizing
these forces on the ground. and there were a couple of national meetings, one in washington, d.c., and another in different places where they tried to organize leaders in these 50 meters to go out and turn out the vote against kennedy because he was a catholic. so by the end of the election, almost every leading religious public figure of the day cuts across the scoring somewhere. billy graham is deeply involved to help nixon went. the national association of evangelicals is deeply involved. an organization that was called protestants and other americans, united for separation of church and state, was deeply involved in organizing. they are now known as americans united for separation. they cut off the religious part of their message but early on they were one of the strongest anti-catholic points in america in the '40s and '50s and they went all in for richard nixon and against the john tierney. they worked with the nixon campaign against him. so those are the two basic things that i learn as we go
through that campaign. i'm going to read a couple of passages and let me point you to three scenes and we will see how far we get any. one has to do with billy graham's work on behalf of nixon and against kennedy. the second one which will probably skip over is kennedy's houston speech where this was this crisis late in the campaign where he felt he had to go and speak in front of a group of protestant ministers, and he went to houston. the last one is here in nashville, tennessee, where one of the most prominent clergyman in nashville at the time, baxter, preached an anti-catholic sermon and then had the u.s. congress and get up in the pulpit and rebut the sermon he did it after it was delivered. which few can imagine both the banter and the tennessean have front-page stories on monday, just the outrageous violation of all kinds of southern taboos getting up and rebutting an iconic preacher at his own pulpit was really quite extraordinary. so i will do that one and this
one about billy graham. limited the moment and read this episode with respect to the grand. in the summer of 1960, billy graham had been in europe conducting a series of crusades. on august 17 he had convened a group of 25 american crew clergy in switzerland to discuss the presidential race and have a response. graham's father-in-law doctor nelson bell, afterwards they set a handwritten account to nixon. according, the group was a man who's behind nixon and appeal was part of a selected committee chosen to meet with the vice president to convey the groups thoughts. teele suggested september 8 as a possible meeting day. he concluded by telling nixon
that he had been touched by the spiritual concern that was expressed for him by those in attendance but he also know that billy graham was one of nixon's biggest supporters. peal hope that something instructive and wise could come out of this meeting. he later claimed they had nothing to do with the organization, that's part of a washington meeting but since that meeting was planned to take, that could hardly be true. graham also wrote a letter to nixon after the meeting. girly or in the summer graham had reported to nixon that both johnson and sand raburn if kennedy were the nominee the religion would be a key campaign. instead, name someone protestant that the process could rally behind. earlier this spring he sent nixon a clipping from the chicago tribune telling the
story of how graham had led the southern baptist demonstration to pass a resolution at their national convention that was a de facto repudiation of kennedy as a presidential candidate and an endorsement of nixon. in another long letter addressed to do your deck, graham outlined some observations that had emerged from the meeting. graham had been followed to develop and the campaign with keen interest that he believed that god was giving nixon quote supernatural wisdom and of course, to handle difficult situations. according to graham, a highly finis organize off as being open september 8 in washington to supply information to religious leaders throughout the nation. is reversed to the national association of evangelicals spinoff known as citizens for religious freedom, which would've been headed but donald o'connor in washington staffer for the in 80. next you relate the results of a recent poll of clergy who were supporting nixon. graham felt this percentage would increase by election day no doubt as result of a massive
effort he was planning. graham concluded while there would be a large catholic bloc vote for kennedy was not as large as some had thought. he thought by election day kennedy share of the catholic vote might be under 70%. those gathered at the meeting blew the catholic vote for katie had peaked whereas the protestant vote for nixon would continue to rise. they thought nagin should emphasize the south and border states. the more conservative republican platform combined with the religion issue could put some of the states, those states in the column. they did not think josh's presence on the democratic ticket would count the religion issue in these states. graham's political bias then became more pointed. gnp of urge nixon to the more religion in his speeches. there were real questions and across the world as to nixon's religious convictions. graham told a gathering of nixon's reticence to use his religion for political gain, but the attendees did not think the country's process would interpret nixon's actions that
way. they would insist that the people have a right to note that candidates religious beliefs, particularly, quote, at this uncertain out of history, unquote. graham urged quick nixon once again to weave this into his addresses and perhaps most important, graham wrote, i have just written a letter to my daily list of 2 million american families. urging them to organize this sunday school, the sunday school classes in churches to get out the vote here contrary to most people's thinking my primary blog lies in the middle west, california, pennsylvania, and new york state that i think in these areas plus the south we can beat of the greatest help the would have supported on our list of every single post office in the united states but were getting other religious groups to do the same, many millions were the personally circulator it is though the majority of these lives are democratic or independent voters. it is also felt this would bring about a favorable swing among these voters to you.
he concluded by announcing that teele was going to endorse nixon in our october. extended an invitation to nixon to visit the grand home in north carolina which now have become regular requirement of most presidential nominees. it would highlight the religious issue nationally without any mention of the topic. the next day graham said a shorter letter with two other urgent matters he had matters he had a bit from the. first he had met martin luther king jr. in rio de janeiro. shortly after kennedy and king had met for three hours in kennedy's home. according to graham, king was impressed in quote unquote just about sold. graham fuller realized what was at stake with king's blessing. i think i at least neutralized him. i think if you could invite him for a brief conference it might swing him. he would be a powerful influence. so i will just up there but that
gives you a flavor of how deeply involved billy graham was with these other people in listing the aid of millions of people within his circle, and he is riding richard nixon and telling him that. that gives you a glance of one major player in the evangelical world who was working for nixon. and nixon knew this because these came from letters that graham wrote to nixon himself. let me skip over 20 inches in. you can read that chapter. i call it a lion and. he was surrounded by all these ministers and he was universalizing as a turning point of his campaign when he effectively answered all of questions on these clergy people, and received a standing ovation from the ministers gathered there in houston. it was nationally broadcast that was rebroadcast around the country by the kennedy campaign, and i think repligen is seen as the turning point in the election in the early september of 1960. i want to turn now to an episode more localized here in nashville. i will read you a passage here
about what happened in this episode. another conservative protestant in the south, the churches of christ, produced a large one of anti-catholic and paper to the countryside with him. is very hard to convey to the current generation, the power of the tract in the protestant world in the 1950s and '60s but i grew up in the churches of christ, and in our church we had a deacon whose entire works was maintaining our rack up tracks at the back of the sanctuary. on every imaginable and unimaginable theological issue of the day. we produced a robust literature on this election, dozens of tracks that light, you could not beauport roman catholic. the baptist produce a literature that was just as ridgeback the national as richburg national association of evangelicals produced the literature. noted that these tracks were mailed across the country because a very powerful tool.
all of the articles wrote against unity can see with the set of arguments. howard one of kennedy's inquisitors at the houston speech printed a 32 page tract called the white house, american or roman. at one point howard claimed that 400,000 copies of his tract were circling in the country. and he was 841 million. the enterprising reporter who is now a columnist for the "washington post," but then a young reporter for the washington star asked howard how much they cost to print and who was paying for the printing? howard refused to answer. but he offered them to listen on his radio broadcast and he also sold them in bulk. his largest single order he told him had been for 10000 copies, but he refused to divulge the source of that order.
on october 9, baxter, the minister of the church of christ in nashville, tennessee, preach a sermon entitled a dangerous doctrine. baxter was a widely revered minister in the tradition from among other things his appearance on especially syndicated and broadcast show the herald of truth. this sermon was emblematic of the kind of anti-catholic rhetoric in this era. baxter began by asserting that in addition to the commonest threat, america faced a threat to his religious freedom in the form of the roman catholic church. the catholic church solely in union. those are the two greatest threats to american freedom. without mentioning kennedy's name, baxter concluded it would seem wise and even necessary that all non-catholics oppose the further growth and spread of roman catholicism. until such time as the roman catholic church changes its doctrine of intolerance towards
other religions, so note the irony here and they note of religious freedom. no sense of irony that shutting down a church was a violation of anybody's religious freedom. all of this was unremarkable in terms of the arguments that were advanced to the iconic baxter was one of the leading ministers in the churches of christ at that time and hillsboro was an upscale and prestigious congregation. chet huntley of nbc news had sent a crew to film baxter preaching the sermon to it and the sanctuary the day before he actually delivered it in church. after the sermon, congressman joe evans from the fourth congressional dish and each in tennessee who was in attendance at that sunday apparently having been tipped off that this sermon was coming, went up and asked baxter if he might say a few words to the congregation.
if you are been in a church of christ service to the notion of anybody getting up and speaking to rebut or respond, it's just unthinkable. it violates a thousand taboos did he criticize what you label as a partisan sermon and called for religious toleration. as you can imagine a firestorm erupted. haven't a member of the church of christ and a kennedy supporter who was roundly criticized in church services and the local and national media wrote about him in both tennessee and the bennett's front page stories the next day. the elders decide to have baxter sermon printed as a tract that is the one intellectual shelflife of three weeks. a wealthy member of the congregation paid for 60000 copies to be printed and distributed. the contributors have been a
financial supporter to baxter's national television show which had been found but james walter and ago so i've been contacted by nixon's outreach man, armstrong, when armstrong began organizing a conservative protestant on behalf of the nixon campaign. evans received a great deal of mail from members of the church castigating him for this impromptu rebuttal of the iconic baxter. another sign of how closely answers at the kennedy campaign monitored anti-catholicism in key states, robert kennedy wrote to joe evans are actually jack kennedy and joe evans had aired the house of representatives together in the late 40s that they had known each other at the beginning of their public lives. bobby wrote i read about your recent action and speaking out so forthrightly on a religious question. i would like you to know that i very much a version which did and i'm sure that senator kennedy does to.
so here this is an amazing scene, one of the strongest most prominent religious leaders in this town preaches a sermon. e. is rebutted by a member of his own tradition, a congressman from another part of the state. and a firestorm erupts, and the kennedys are paying attention. that is the level of fear they had and they still entertain hopes of winning the state of tennessee which of course they did not. but tennessee was very much in play in the mine, and that is the level of scrutiny robert kennedy was giving the store in terms of how religion was going to put out or not play out. actually i think we do have a little bit of time. let me go back to this houston vignette and we will open it up for question and answer and take our time there. in early september norman vincent field convened a meeting of 150 protestant clergy in washington, d.c., at the mayflower hotel, and reporters stuck it in wrote the story about what they were poised to do in the name of religion to
defeat guinea pig that created a firestorm. john kennedy was an gauge in making his first long campaign trip down the west coast of california. the trip was going poorly. his speeches were bad. the press response was not very strong picket wasn't very good. there was just the sense, dark clouds come over the kennedy campaign and their literate on the train when they get the news that norman peale and billy graham, the national association of evangelicals and processing of america's are working against him. kennedy had an informant inside the nixon campaign who dictated all of these details to him. so they're in the midst of their first long regional camping trip, going poorly, and then the bombshell drops that millions of evangelicals are being organized by these icons, and they panic. they're absolutely stunned that they think the wheels are coming off. they say yes to this invitation
the next week to go to houston and to speak to these projects are to. in many ways it was a speech given out of fear. they felt all the caches on the table, if you will pardon the poker metaphor that they had to play this hand that they have been dealt. houston were memory is a great speech, that people forget it was a speech given out of fear because they were afraid if they didn't stop is hemorrhaging, the campaign would be over and they had would have two more months of getting hammered by nixon and these preachers. what's fascinating is people remember the speech but afterwards kennedy did a question and answer session to end the transcript is three times as long as the speech. scholars to read the speech would be dealt read the transcript of the two and a. so in this chapter i talk about the speech but then i spend a lot of time looking at the back of four between these preachers because they had an open microphone or any member could come up and throw a hand grenade at the candidate to see how well he handled it.
it was better i think were kennedy did in fact do quite well. at the very end of the question and answer session this is what kennedy says, i am delighted to come here today. i don't want anyone to think because they interrogate me on this very important that i regard that unfair. or unreasonable or that is somebody who is concerned about that matter is prejudiced or bigoted. i think religion is basic in the assessment of the american system and therefore any candidate for office i think should submit himself to questions of any reasonable man. my only limit to that would be if somebody said regardless of senator kennedy's position, regardless of how much evidence is given, i still won't vote for because he's a member member of that church. i would consider that unreasonable. what i consider to be reasonable is an exercise of free will and free choice is to ask senator kennedy to state his views as broad as possible, investigate
his regular to see what he states what he believes and then make a rational judgment as to whether he could be entrusted with this highly important position. so i want you to know that i'm grateful to you for inviting me tonight. i am sure that i've made no converts to my church, but i hope that it leads and my view which i believe to be few of my fellow catholics who hold office, i hope it may be of some by and at least assisting you to make a careful judgment. with that, the meeting ended with applause bringing to close perhaps the most single public moment in the entire campaign. in the immediate aftermath, the press hailed the speech as a triumph. kennedy was pleased at the reaction of across an elite both liberal and conservative would come clear in short order. the general election campaign had only just her but now the kennedy campaign is that the religion issue would not be for resolve until election day. there were still too much and camping ahead of him and
anything could happen. on the nixon side the shadow strategy of organizing process belown good. because part of it had become known in the so-called mayflower meeting in washington, d.c.. over the failure of the puberty as a success of the houston speech. theodore white gave perhaps the best contemporary summary of the period between the national convention at the democratic national convention through the houston speech. he noted that round one of the general election have begun for kennedy with euphoria over the victory in los angeles. but it won't almost despair over the peale meeting but he rose to a point of cautious hope in houston, texas. here's what white wrote in summary. when he'd finished, that is what kennedy had finished, yet not only closed round one, he had for the first time more fully and explicitly than any other thinker of his fate to find a personal doctrine of a modern catholic and a democratic society.
how much effect he had that evening, no one could tell. it addressed a sullen almost hostile audience when he began in houston. he had won the applause of it and perhaps sympathies of more. than be kept close in respect and friendship. but how far the victory in this hall would extend its globe, no one could measure. the national tv networks were to broadcast his performance the next day and fragments around the nation. nevertheless, the candidate always happiest is the man when confronting a crisis with action, felt better. as if miraculously his cracking voice began to clear. in a few weeks he could dispense entirely with the attendant of the voice coach who had hitherto accompanied him. the next day he barnstormed growing crowd under the patriots lyndon b. johnson and sam rayburn in texas. the following day to crowd in saint louis, and then he was off to new jersey, in new york and even greater things in the industrial northeast where he meant to win. so kennedy had survived a
near-death experience. he had turned adversity into triumph with the houston speech, and faltering west toasted was now forgotten and he entered the general election campaign with renewed momentum. he had directly confront the issue of his faith and in so doing found his stride. polls indicate the race with nixon was tight. the remainder of the campaign would prove to be tough. all right. i'm going to stop the. we have a few minutes i think the questions and answers. and i'm happy to take any questions you might have, if you want to toss them my way. >> with any actual outcome -- >> can i get you to repeat that? >> was any outcome coming back and calculate how many catholics voted for kennedy, nixon, how many protestants, latter day saints, you name it? >> yes. i devote some time to that in the book in the end, forgive me if i misquote myself.
i won't look in the book, but essentially i believe kennedy won something like 87 percent of the catholic vote. he won about 34 percent of the protestant vote. what's interesting about that is that's exactly the same percentage if i recall correctly, that adlai stevenson won other possible in 1966. so kennedy ended up about where adlai did, but will provide his margin of victory was his overwhelming support among the catholic vote. so he had, it was a very tough, he had the whole southern democrats who were for the most part protestants. he had to hold those look at the same time he had to win the catholic vote. he had a very odd sort of strategy that he had to placate these two groups that were really quite aliens from one another in some ways it is a precursor to modern constituency politics were to be either nominee in the political party you had to appeal to some very
strange constituents within your own party that in the end i think he carried the day certainly among his catholic friends. by the stop the bleeding among protestants. and in that sense i think he was paid off handsomely and he eats out the teeny tiny victory. so yeah, that has been said by political scientist and i do talk a little bit about that in the end. >> speaking to the ministers what points did kennedy make it seem to be so persuasive? >> that's a very good question. there were likely for kennedy some very specific public policy questions. protestant ministers were afraid. one was would he appoint an ambassador to the vatican. and he said no, i will not. this had flirted earlier in about 1948. when harry truman wanted to appoint an ambassador to the vatican. people don't remember this story is going to appoint mark clark, the army general who was
catholic. it just made sense to do that i have a catholic general here. i will make him an ambassador. well, the protestant world went nuts. conservatives, liberals and moderates all rose up and said how can we have a southern baptist presidenpresident appointing an ambassador, and they intimidate truman so he backed down. kennedy said i'm not going to go to. i'm not going to. so you said no, i will not appoint an ambassador. the second question was federal aid to parochial schools. you know do, differ there was you get a catholic, and before you know we're going to be writing checks to catholic schools and go, out of your tax money. and kennedy said absolutely not i will not do that. mixon made a horrible mistake on this point from candidate machiavellian legal angle. mixon revealed refused to answt question. it was like wait a minute you
are running against a catholic. you're not going to answer that question? late in the day, and i tell the story at the very end of the book, and editor of the baptist standard which was the paper of record among baptist, has circulation of over 300,000. think about that. a paper by one denomination in one state that has hundreds of thousands of readers. the editor wrote dixon and said we are still waiting for answer. mixon in a strategic blunder of epic proportions right back since i am a states rights can a guy. so applies in federal money to the state of tennessee and the state legislature decides in their infinite wisdom they want about some of that money in the conference under coffers of catholic churches, god love them. let them do it. you can imagine. the baptist at her and texas have you got to be kidding me? the protestant guy is hitting a catholic edge to the question and the catholic guy is getting
across answer. so kennedy was adamant that i'm not going to spend parochial fey on parochial schools. the last was about birth control. they said can you give us a comedy loan aid to provide birth control for our citizens, will you fund that, and the catholic church was against birth control. kennedy kind of oscillate a little bit but the vision he said no, if, i will make that decision and say no, we can do. kennedy was able to go to houston to take these are the changeable issues where my faith might prevent a political policy issue and here are my answers on a. he did what he thought was a catholic answer that said catholics believe in separation of church and state to pick it acerbic or you go back to the 19th century and the middle ages. there is a lot of stuff coming out of european catholicism that would give a contemporary american committed to democracy
pause, where the monarchy form of government was called, democracy was a bad form of government that there is the other cheek to give pause. but kennedy said that was then, this is not. the catholic church has change. i'm going to make my views independent of what anybody and rome has to know me. i believe very clear. then the kicker for them was if there's ever a conflict between my faith at my politics in terms of my conscious, i will resign the office of the presidency. it was bishop john wright, the catholic adviser who told them to use that line to show that after she was about his faith and has said he was about avoiding some kind of conflict. so he says all that together in a speech and in the question and answer session. the ministers had very specific follow-up questions for him. does a great question. i go into it pretty fine detail on the houston speech.
i devote a whole chapter two because it was such a pivotal, pivotal moment. the ministers wanted and they gave him an ovation in several points along what he really did delay their fears. >> would you talk about the discoveries that you made that other people hadn't used before, the resources? >> yes. two things, bishop john wright did a 65 singlespaced page in the kennedy library about his relationship with john kennedy, and i was the first color to use that. so it goes into amazing detail about the relationship and really open up a window on the sort of political panel he got from this church. and that in itself was quite interesting. the other piece was a memo from
an informant inside the nixon campaign. and again, the memo just as memo from an informant are. and it's about a nine page memo that lays out for the kennedys all of the contours of nixon's strategy. now it's one of these things that i began my research, i found an oral history from one of kennedys religion guys and he said we had an incontrovertible proof that nixon was doing this stuff. so you think oh, my goodness, the holy grail is here some of. it took me about three years to find that memo. but when i did it was like eureka. and i think i know who the informant was. i identify, my guess in the book, because i found the person who was involved and i can show he was unhappy and his last thing was rycroft, it begins with our. i make an educated guess who
this was that it was his information that confirmed to the kennedy camp their worst fears. and the back of their mind they might say maybe we're overly paranoid about it looks like or nixon is organizing people all across the country. they finally had proof that the worst fears were true. and that's what forced them to say yes to the houston speech otherwise they would not have given that speech. those are two of the piece i found that no one else is out and archival work. if you do archival research, you spend thousands of hours sitting in libraries looking at page after page and at least one or two eureka moments that make it all worthwhile but there was really a lot of fun to have that experience this time around. a great question. >> to what extent did the study the history of the 1928 campaign of governor smith of new york? >> it was the standard political wits of the 1960s that a catholic can't win because of
what happened to al smith in 1920. it's like today we here at america will never elect a woman, an african-american, just fill in the blanks. people said 1928 tells us if you know me a catholic you are just listed as able to go party. so from 1956 to 1960, most of kennedys effort went into disproving that these. in fact, in 1956 kennedy tried to become the vice presidential nominee to at least evenson and even wrote a memorandum and leaked it to the press showing how it would help the democratic ticket if they had a catholic vice president. because eisenhower in 52 and 56 had begun to siphon off more catholics from the democratic party. so they spent a lot of time. that was the press is the first question, don't remember the lessons of 19 to eight? so they knew they had to have some kind of formal educator question. they studied that election very,
very carefully and they crafted a set of public arguments to say that conditions are different now and it would be held to have a catholic on the ticket if so they devote a lot of energy to that. >> probably time for one more. >> were there any protestant ministers, they can protestant ministers, that came out in favor of kennedy saying this whole catholicism thing is stupid? and if they did, was there any retaliation? >> the answer is yes. the leadership on that side really came out of new york city. john bennett and another wrote for a magazine sink the catholic church has change and john kennedy would make it better president than richard nixon would. they caught a lot of heat and a lot of flack for that. and i spent some time early in the book tracing the argument back and forth that they put
forward saint kennedy is okay, as a christian you can vote, as a protestant christian you can vote for him. and certainly they were the two probably most public voices on that side. there were a lot of protestant leaders working behind the scenes supporting kennedy but not taking quite as public a view of. one of the more interesting characters and all that was the methodist bishop of baltimore-washington, who was a classic social gospel liberal picketing of a thing about the methodist tradition they tend to be progressive politically on social justice issues. but he was very strong anti-catholic. and kennedy reached out to pick one of the things kerry did, he did a listening tour of leading protestant anti-catholics in the country and met with them one on one. he met with him on a couple of occasions in washington, d.c., and they flip to. he became a supporter. so they did reach out to some of
these liberal protestant leaders who you would think with the democrats would turn out not to be in this case, because they were still wary about the catholic church. so the answer is yes, there were some very prominent folks. they work in your circle and networks trying to persuade people to join them. but people like the christian century which was one of the leading liberal christian magazines of the day was anti-kennedy and pro-nixon. there were a lot of who were troubled by kennedy. so i do talk about that a bit in the book that very interesting. thank you very much. i appreciate your questions and your time and your attention. it's been a great pleasure. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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