JFK in his limousine in Dallas

November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. We talk to leading presidential historians and journalists about JFK’s life and legacy.

At the close of today's 9:00am hour, Michael Krasny took a moment to remember Raul Ramirez, executive producer of Forum for over 20 years. Ramirez passed away on Friday, November 15.

Robert Dallek, historian and author of "An Unfinished Life" and most recently of "Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House"
H.W. Brands, history professor at the University of Texas, Austin and author of over 20 books on history and politics
Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    The same day President Kennedy died two other notables died. Aldous Huxley, author of the futuristic novel Brave New World, and C S Lewis the well known Christian author.

    Which of these three men continues to have a major role in the lives of people throughout the world?

    C S Lewis an atheist turned Christian is a major best seller even today and Aldous Huxley’s book Brave New World is being discussed in so many many groups I am in per NSA, Homeland Security and other Constitutional concerns.

  • colinvgallagher

    As President, JFK green-lighted the assassinations of two world leaders – “Operation Mongoose”, the unsuccessful covert operation supervised by his own brother RFK to kill Fidel Castro, as well the successful coup against the South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem that had resulted in the killing of Diem and his brother. Granted it was shocking that a young, charismatic American President had been killed, but 50 years later shouldn’t we have some perspective on the events of that time, especially given JFK’s willingness to use covert operations and assassinations as a foreign policy tool?

  • geraldfnord

    In which ways did the J.F.K. of November 1963 differ the most from the J.F.K. of January 1961?

    Does it take a war hero to stand up to the military? …every ex-serviceman I’ve heard on the subject has shown little respect for many officers, and the higher so the less respect—I think of this every time I hear of Kennedy’s standing up to Curtis LeMay (scabrously immortalised as Gen. Buck Turgidson). I wonder also if Kennedy ever cared a jot about Quemoy and Matsu—wait a second, I don’t: he card nowt for them save as a club with which to beat Nixon.

  • Bob Fry

    I too am puzzled by the near-worship given to this 3-year President. He didn’t have time to leave much of any substance behind, except the man-to-the-moon project, and even that fizzled after it was achieved. I can only conclude that America, like other societies, places great value on charisma, looks, and celebrity, and little on genuine merit.

  • guud00

    I wonder what the speaker thinks is the proper discount to his popularity that racism plays for President Obama ( 1%, 40%, zero!). It is so revealing of this country’s past and present, that you news people report on Obam’s perceived follies by his avowed enemies, and never, ever factor in the effects of racism on his policies and the evaluation thereof.

  • LF

    Conservatives could have learned from the liberals mistake about going into Vietnam. They can’t resist invading other countries either.

  • Another Mike

    I’m pleased that Ms. Abramson is breaking out of her monotone, because it distracted me from her message. Keep up the good work.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Since you’re not getting into specific assassination conspiracy theories, can you at least talk about the role Papa Kennedy played in getting JFK elected and whether he made a deal with Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana that sent the voting machines into the river…

    (You dont need to read this on air, but it is notable)
    From wikipedia:
    Paraphrasing wikipedia, “In a 1988 interview, Judith Exner said that she had lied to the Church Committee and in her memoir out of fear of Mafia retaliation. She said Kennedy had asked her to contact Giancana, and she helped set up a meeting between them during the 1960 presidential election. For about 18 months in 1960–1961, “Exner claimed she served as the president’s link with the Mob. She crisscrossed the nation carrying envelopes between the president and Giancana, and arranged about 10 meetings between the two.”

  • Skip Conrad

    There was this hilarious “First Family” comedy album by Vaughn Meade. At a summit, JFK is ordering lunch for the gang. Chaing Kai Shek orders a ham sandwich, and Kennedy asks if he wants Mao on that. “dont ever say that word” is his reply.

  • Joshua

    Check out THE MEMOIRS OF JFK: If Kennedy Had Survived, by The New York Times acclaimed author, Leonard Gross.


  • utera

    Unfortunately a man like jkf would have been Anthony weinered today… left or right, puritanical hysteria continues to this day, its funny how something’s get better while other things get worse. As progressive as people claim to be, today we are even more willing to judge than ever before, just in different ways.

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