Friday, December 07, 2007

After Kennedy's Speech
Because of all the attention given to Mitt Romney's speech yesterday about religion, then-candidate John F. Kennedy's 1960 speech on a similar (I suppose) issue has come up as well. That was given to the Houston Ministers Association in an attempt to allay fears that as President he would secretly defer to the Catholic Church if the Vatican so directed him. If you haven't seen it, you can watch it (or read it) here. But my friend Melissa Rogers (who will coincidentally be on Bill Moyers Journal tonight discussing Romney) points to an even more compelling moment in that whole episode. If you have any time (it's about 30 minutes), watch the q & a with Kennedy that followed his speech. There, Protestant ministers who clearly were concerned about him asked him their questions, live and televised, face-to-face. And he answered them.

Sounds simple enough, but it's the last thing that would happen today. These days if someone that disagrees during a campaign asks a question on TV, handlers cry that their candidate is being ambushed and that the network should have controlled the environment. Anyway, it's really worth watching, just to imagine what that kind of political environment might be like. Also, if you want to know what the real story-driven hubbub of the day was, that led to him wanting to give that kind of speech to begin with, you get a better idea of it listening to their questions than you do listening to his speech.

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