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Jackie Kennedy post-assassination interviews released

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Analisa Norling
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« on: September 14, 2011, 01:16:04 am »

Jackie Kennedy post-assassination interviews released



A 1961 photo of Jackie Kennedy Jackie Kennedy also reserved some sharp criticisms for world leaders

Audio tapes of Jackie Kennedy, made just months after the assassination of her husband President John F Kennedy, have been released for the first time.

In the interviews with a White House historian, she says civil rights leader Martin Luther King is "a terrible man".

The former first lady is also scathing about Lyndon Johnson, her husband's vice-president, and world leaders.

In the eight hours of tapes, she recalls, too, how her husband joked about the threat of assassination.

Jackie Kennedy opened her heart to White House aide Arthur Schlesinger at her Washington home, four months after JFK was killed in Dallas, Texas, in 1963.
'That spiteful man'

She agreed to the interviews on condition that they would not be released until long after her death.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

    Even if there's not room in the bomb shelter in the White House, I just want to be with you, and I want to die with you”

End Quote Jackie Kennedy to JFK during Cuban missile crisis

The recordings are the subject of a book - Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John F Kennedy - published on Wednesday.

She recalls her husband's scathing words about his Texan Vice-President, Lyndon Johnson, whom he reluctantly made his number two because of the need for a Southerner to balance the ticket.

"Jack said it to me sometimes. He said, 'Oh, God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon were president?"' she said.

She also strongly criticised Dr King, recalling how her brother-in-law, US Attorney General Robert Kennedy, told her the civil rights leader had been intoxicated at JFK's funeral and mocked Cardinal Richard Cushing's Mass.

She said: "He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and [Robert] said that he was drunk at it. I can't see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, that man's terrible."

She reserved sharp criticism for world leaders, too.

French President Charles de Gaulle was "that egomaniac" and "that spiteful man", while future Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a "bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman".

She recalled that her closest moments with her husband came during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the US and Soviet Union seemed on the brink of nuclear war.

Some officials had sent their wives away, but the first lady resisted.

"If anything happens, we're all going to stay right here with you," she remembers telling her husband.

"Even if there's not room in the bomb shelter in the White House. I just want to be with you, and I want to die with you, and the children do, too - than live without you."

Jackie Kennedy also recalled how her husband joked darkly about being assassinated after discussing Abraham Lincoln's legacy with a Princeton historian.

JFK had asked the academic if Lincoln would have been rated as great a president if he had not killed.

The historian replied that was unlikely since Lincoln's reputation would ultimately have suffered while tackling the problem of post-Civil War reconstruction.

The former first lady said: "And then I remember Jack saying after the Cuban missile crisis, when it all turned [out] so fantastically, he said, 'Well, if anyone's ever going to shoot me, this would be the day they should do it.'"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14909983
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