August 17, 1960 Eleanor Roosevelt Endorses John Kennedy for President

On this day in history, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote a favorable opinion of Kennedy in an installment of her newspaper column “My Day”:

I think Senator Kennedy is anxious to learn. I think he is hospitable to new ideas. He is hard-headed. He calculates the political effect of every move. I left my conversation with him with the feeling that here is a man who wants to leave a record of not only having helped his countrymen, but having helped humanity as a whole.”

She concludes:

I had withheld my decision on joining Herbert Lehman as honorary chairman of the Democratic Citizens Committee of New York until I had a chance to see and talk with our Democratic candidate. After Senator Kennedy’s visit, I telephoned my acceptance to serve with Mr. Lehman, and I told Senator Kennedy that I would discuss what help in the campaign I could give, for I have come to the conclusion that the people will have in John F. Kennedy, if he is elected, a good President.”

The endorsement was important to Kennedy. Roosevelt was a powerful figure within the Democratic Party, and had initially supported Adlai Stevenson for the party’s 1960 presidential nomination, as she had supported him in 1952 and 1956. Kennedy set out to woo her to his side, and Roosevelt proved as susceptible to his legendary charm as everyone else.

Eleanor Roosevelt and John Kennedy, March 1961

Eleanor Roosevelt and John Kennedy, March 1961


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