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Obama Sells Himself as the New JFK


Former JFK speechwriter Ted Sorensen introduced Sen. Barack Obama at a Chicago speech. (AP).

The comparison has been floating around for a while, so it was only a matter of time before Barack Obama's campaign started making the claim explicitly itself: meet BHO, the new JFK.

The analogy has been bandied about ever since (if not before) Obama and his vibrant, photogenic family showed up in a glossy magazine photo shoot early last year, frolicking together in a yard in a manner reminiscent of a certain other glamorous political family on the rise. The points in common were hard to miss -- Obama, like John F. Kennedy, was young and of lanky build, was seeking to break a major cultural barrier in reaching the White House, and possessed a definite star quality and next-generation eloquence. (The comparison also offered a nice historic twist, considering that the other candidate to conjure some Kennedy nostalgia with his youth and smoothness was the husband of Obama's main rival for the Democratic nomination.)

Now, the Obama campaign is seizing on the comparison itself to rebut one of the main arguments against his candidacy, his rivals' charge that he lacks experience. At campaign stops yesterday in Chicago and Iowa, Obama was introduced by Ted Sorensen, the 79-year-old former Kennedy speechwriter, who went to great lengths to knock down the inexperience charge by invoking his former boss. In a packed hotel ballroom in Coralville, outside Iowa City, Sorensen spent several minutes on the podium retelling Kennedy's handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, "the most dangerous crisis in the history of mankind."

"That young president who had been accused of being too inexperienced and too young successfully steered the country through that crisis," Sorensen said. He compared Kennedy's secret negotiations with the Soviets to quell the crisis with Obama's stated willingness -- criticized by Hillary Clinton -- to meet with the country's foes without preconditions in his first year in office. And he compared Kennedy's refusal to take the advice of his military advisers to invade Cuba to Obama's early opposition to the war in Iraq, the day's campaign focus. "I have decided that judgment is the single most important quality in a president of the United States. Kennedy had judgment. Obama has judgment," Sorensen said. "Democrats are not going to throw away their biggest advantage by nominating a candidate who supported President Bush in going to war."

The crowd of more than 1,000 grew slightly restless by the end of Sorensen's history lesson, but one Iowa City resident attending said after Obama's speech that the JFK comparison was apt. Obama "has that sort of ease, and he looks great on a podium," said Linda Yanney, a historian. She quibbled with part of Sorensen's account of the naval "quarantine" imposed on Cuba, but said that the comparison was "going to work for a while" for Obama. "It's worth pointing out that age is not everything, that there's also judgment, and comfort in a crowd, and ability to think for yourself," she said.

She did not note one of the possible downsides to the comparison: that it was Kennedy who launched the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, leading to the very war whose foolhardiness Obama and other war critics now see being replicated in Iraq.

--Alec MacGillis

By Washington Post editors  |  October 3, 2007; 10:28 AM ET
 
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Comments

I AM SO TIRED of idiots commenting on JFK that have no clue what he did or did not do as President. The ridiulous notion that JFK started the Viet-0Nam war is just stupidly wrong. Prsiident Eisenhower was involved in sending troops known as advisors long before JFK took office. And JFK just before he died as headlined in The Military Times in Oct 1963 declared we were pulling out all the troops by spring of 1965. JFK also ordered the first 1000 troops to come home (out of 16,000) by december 1963, in his official document NSAM 263. This Alec MaGIllas 'reporter" should check his facts before spewing out more insane right wing propaganda un-facts and truthiness inspired ASSumptions about JFK. If you really want the actual truth about JFK go to my site at http://rocketstar.tv
or you can just believe the lies
Rock at rocketstar.tv

Posted by: rocketstar | December 12, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Amen.

Posted by: mel | October 6, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I think that the current presidential candidates don't have the right to compare themselves to JFK. It is very disrespectful and there was only one JFK and there will only be that one.

Posted by: kiwircwb | October 5, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama compares himself to JFK? The drawing of such a parallel is ridiculous. An "inspirational candidacy of hope?" Please! Is anyone going to call him out on this? Obama does not have the ability to inspire most of America (beyond the cult-like following of 20% of Democratic voters that rabidly worship him). I am a life long Democrat and Obama is lost on me. His speeches are one-note, tedious, and razor thin on specifics. He is not a new kind of politician. He is an empty suit who purports a "new way of leadership" quite possibly because he has little understanding of how to lead the United States out of the current mess. The Obama candidacy reminds me of George W Bush's candidacy. President Bush was the "uniter not a divider" and also claimed that his lack of Washington insider status would be an asset. It seems the candidacy of Obama is rationalized and argued on the same grounds as that of Bush, but from the left of the political spectrum instead of the right. Let's vote for a Democrat that will not require on the job training in these most difficult of times globally and nationally. There is too much at stake and Obama is no Jack Kennedy.

Posted by: german_hans | October 4, 2007 3:00 AM | Report abuse

Obama as the new JFK???? I don't hardly think so. He can't even compare. He is a product of the Chicago machine and the Republicans will tear him apart in a general election. Please do not try to place this man in the same category.

One of the things JFK did was hold off the war mongers of his own administration when they all presented him with plans of war with Russia. Had W been so astute, he might have looked for other venues such as JFK did. How did he, JFK, accomplish this? With diplomacy and reputation. We, the United States of America had a reputation throughout the world. No doubt, we have one now, but it is not quite the same.

Hillary is the only viable candidate that will return the reputation of being what we used to be . . . a friend, ally in all parts of the world and most of all, a powerful influence.

She is the one to return us, the American people, to the most respected and powerful nation in the world.

Posted by: mel | October 3, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Now, wait a minute. JFK was a Washington Insider! Did Obama's people stop to count all the years in the House and the Senate that JFK spent in comparison to Obama? It might work eight years from now but today it's preposterous and makes him look like a fool.

Posted by: Daedalus | October 3, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, Hillary certainly cannot point to and use the mantle of youth, excitement and energy or freshness. More like stale white bread. Bland, starchy and hard.
Obama should use the JFK thing since he's been compared to him for so long. It works for him. David Yepsen, the Iowa political guy said few could get away with it, i.e. Bill clinton, Gary Hart, Dan Quayle. they always look desperate and reaching and rather silly.
For Obama, as is usual, it looks natural and tasteful and right.
But, then, Obama is like that. He is a very elegant man with a cool intellect and easy manner. Lots of fun to listen to.
His speech yesterday was quite serious but, very good and very on target. I am glad to see he is getting more sharp with Hillary and exposing her flip flops and trying to use her vote as victim. He lied to me. I thought.....
No, she knew what she was voting for and she did it very coldly. she signed the deaths of thousands for political calculation.

Posted by: vwcat | October 3, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I want Obama to win the nomination but will accept Hillary. Both will have to overcome deep seated prejudice in the American public but I just hope one of them wins

Sorenson's focus on judgement and on Iraq and willingness to talk to the bad guys are strong points.

Obama does not match Kennedy's military service but in many different ways, including even putting his life on the line to be a public servant and being a dedicated public servant he matches or surpasses Kennedy at the same time in their careers.

Obama is the smart, moral and pragmatic choice in my opinion because he has exhibited superior qualities in all three areas. He will inspire the inspirable; he will challenge us to sacrifice more than anyone else; he will help rebuild America's moral fiber more than anyone else; he will give some hope to those in the world that believe the USA has permanently lost its way and is fundamentally evil (American exclusivity in being able to invade a country, defacto kill hundreds of thousands of innocents and not have an outraged public demanding its leaders, including those Democrats that voted for a preemptive war be deposed and tried as war criminals). Obama is the person who can bring us back from the abyss of our current madness just as Kennedy brought us back from the abyss of nuclear war. Obama is the anti-Iran sabber rattling candidate; in that regard he is trying to pull us back from the abyss of what could turn out to be WWIII with his excellent continuing judgement about how to handle foreign affairs.

Posted by: cbday | October 3, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I think the comparison between Obama and JFK is intended to be exclusively non-political, just the fluff stuff like cute wife and kids. As other writers have noted, no one can reasonably compare them politically. JFK had some fight in him while Obama thinks success for this country lies in diplomacy to the exclusion of military power. I'm trying to be as fair as I can in that assessment. After all, after we were attacked on 9/11/2001 and a guy always has a reason to talk and not fight, then we can expect him to continue that strategy.

If, as a country, we want to select the next president based on looks, speaking ability and vague hoped for leadership ability, then Obama is clearly our guy. If we are less focused on the fluff, then other candidates can be considered.

Posted by: josephpturner | October 3, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama would not make a pimple on JFK's butt. Speaking of butts, Obama is more like that other Clinton butt....Bill.

Posted by: imaciasjr5 | October 3, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

JFK fought in WW II, fought communism around the globe, was unapologetic about America, and slashed taxes against the advice of his aging New Dealers. Still like the comparison?

Posted by: jtbcribaolcom | October 3, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

JFK fought in WW II, fought communism around the globe, was unapologetic about America, and slashed taxes against the advice of his aging New Dealers. Still like the comparison?

Posted by: jtbcribaolcom | October 3, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Lyle, Obama is not making up the fact that Hillary voted for the war...its you know, recorded as a vote in Congress...its not a matter of jumping on the Colts bandwagon after they win a super bowl. Hillary Clinton voted for the war. Period. End of Story. Only when it became popular to protest the war did she become 'against' it.

Posted by: thegribbler1 | October 3, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I am a Hillary supporter and think Obama hurt himself by implying that Hillary voted for and supported the war in Iraq, and it is wrong, she did not. By trying to make his opposition to the war in Iraq his only real issue, is beginning to get a little tiresome.

Posted by: lylepink | October 3, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

today, we need leaders who can make the right judgement even when such judgements are not popular.we need leaders who can stand up for what they believe not just for the sake of winning election and Barack has demostrated that he fits into that group.Can anyone for God really talk about Hillary experience minus Bill.redecorating the whiteHouse i guess!

Posted by: toniwire | October 3, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

newagent99,

Obama hasn't claimed to be like JFK.

OTHER people make the correlation.

Anyway, that wasn't going to be the point of my post.

It is starting to look like Democrats will once again

snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by nominating Hillary.

How dumb is the Dem party to nominate the

candidate who will not only bring out every single right winger

who would otherwise sit this election out,

but who also appeals the least to Independant

and other american voters?

Way to go, losers.

I need a new party. One with brains.

Posted by: julieds | October 3, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama is no Kennedy! Nor can he distinguish himself from HRC. At most he can be the Veep if Hillary approves?

'petra2' writes:
I've always voted Republican in elections -- going all the way back to Reagan. And guess what, barring something unforeseen, I'm planning to pull the lever for Hillary in November of 2008 (and yes, folks, I know there's that little matter of her having to win the nomination). I like Obama, too, but he's frankly a bit too far to the left for me. John Edwards just seems tired, and all the Republicans running are incredible pander bears (pandering to the extreme right wing, that is). It is somewhat disconcerting to have yet another dynasty member as our next president. But the times we live in are too critical NOT to choose the best person for the job. I don't care if she's not warm, or not spontaneous, or not likable. Dogonnit, she's clearly the most polished, intelligent, hard-working, well-prepared, and competent candidate running. We can't settle for anything else. I'm personally hoping for a Hillary-Obama ticket in 2008.
'freespeak' writes:
The question is, can anyone stop Clinton?
I say, if they can, now is the time to step up to the plate. She just did five talk shows in one day and hit it out of the ballpark.
Batter up?
I'm a proud supporter of Hillary Clinton (and an Independent from New Hampshire).
I don't understand who these people are, who have these 'HORRIBLE' memories of the nation under the leadership of Bill Clinton.
When Clinton left office, 70% of the nation thought we were going in the right direction.
Currently, 70% of the nation thinks we're going in the WRONG direction.
Oh!
The people who have bad memories of the Clinton years think Bush is doing' a heckuva job!
I get it.
'charly_n' writes:
After the 2006 midterm election, I think Hillary couldn't choose a more perfect year to run for president.
The whole country is now leaning toward Democrats. People are just so unhappy and fed up with the Republican Party which has controlled the country for almost 8 years now. Any Democrats (yes even Hillary) has better chance to win 2008 presidency than any republican. I don't see all these unhappy Americans who clearly want a change in direction in 2006 would vote for another republican again over Hillary.
In 2006, we all saw a lot of good republicans lost their seats to some never-heard-before Democrats because of this effect.
I'm certain that Hillary will prove everybody wrong and she will become the first woman President.
'jnurse' writes:
All you Hillary haters on here are just mad because your candidates have been getting stomped by her for almost a year now. Underestimate her at your own expense. The woman is brilliant, and more politically skilled than her husband. In the general election, she is going to do the Republicans, what she has done to her fellow Democrats for the past year, and that is make them luck unprepared to lead the free world. In November 08, voters are going to be faced with a choice: vote to make history with electing the first woman and also change the course of the past 8 years, or vote for more of the same with a boring white male who backs all of Bush's policies. I think that we have 51% of America that will vote for the former. If you disagree, just wait and see. Her campaign has been flawless, and will continue as such... Enjoy the shadow.
'winngerald' writes:
petera1, no one could say it better than you did! The Republicans view her as a "bogeyman" because she fights back against their smears...and because they have sunk way below their previous depths to a point where they have NO positives to run on...they depend on nothing more than the modern equivalent of inciting mobs with pitchforks and torches into voting AGAINST anything/anyone from gays to non-Christians to communism to deficits (at least until Darth Cheney declared that deficits are GOOD when they're run up by Republicans) to Bill Clinton. I think their formerly mindless followers are wising up to the fact that their party has not been their friend. The left-wing fringe Democrats are so desperate to put a rehabilitated image of "liberalism" on a pedestal that they aren't bothering to notice that the nation isn't becoming, necessarily, more "liberal" as much as it is becoming "anti-right-wing-conservative"...and they hang their hats on my--yes MY--Senator Obama to be their champion without bothering to look at his actual history here in Illinois. He is NOT exactly a "liberal", and he hasn't proven that he can LEAD, let alone be an executive. You can't base your entire candidacy on a) not supporting the Iraq invasion during your tenure in the Illinois State Senate (which can't even manage to do the State's business right now), and b) NOT being Hillary. Edwards would be in the single digits were it not for sympathy for his wife (if it weren't for her tragic cancer, she'd make a better candidate), and ALL of the Republican candidates are flip-flopping jokes worse than fish just pulled out of the water.
You are absolutely right in pointing out Hillary's reelection support in highly-Republican Upstate New York...THEY have had her representing them for almost 8 years, and their Republican support of her says all that needs to be said. Her Republican Senate colleagues speak highly of her, too...she is OBVIOUSLY NOT a polarizing figure, but the fringes in both parties still try to paint her as one for the very simple reason that they are trying to beat her in the upcoming elections...and because she DOES know what she's talking about and DOES have more than basic competence, the only way they can beat her is to plant the red herring that many people have preconceived notions of not liking her. They are TRYING to scare support away from her without letting people see her for herself...without her being filtered and framed by the fringes of both parties. And they seem to forget that Bush was reelected with some very high negatives...people are so numbed by the partisan sniping of the past 12 years and incompetence of the past 6 years that personal negatives don't matter to them nearly as much as much as intelligence and competence do.
I hope that these people start pulling their heads out of their backsides pretty darned quick...and stop living in the past...and stop spewing the old venom that no one is interested in hearing anymore. The Nation has work to do, and no one is better versed, better educated, and better qualified to lead it out of the Republican-created nightmare...ready to roll up sleeves and get to work on Day 1...than Hillary. And when she DOES get elected, I hope that the Republicans give her the deference due her as President that they never gave her husband but expected for his successor for the 8 years to which we have been subjugated. They had their chance, and they've perverted everything they've touched. It's time for a woman to clean the White House!
'jmmiller' writes:
"As a moderate Republican, I find the remarks about Hillary being too divisive either unreflective or disingenuous. Of all the Democratic candidates, she is the one I would consider voting for because she is the only one who takes seriously America's role in the wider world. It strikes me that a lot of the animosity towards her is from the far left that wants to return to the labor glory days of the 1930's. They're upset because she won't hew to the MoveOn orthodoxy. The netroots who are drunk now with their power better get some religion soon - a perception that the Democratic nominee is too closely associated with them will be poison in the general election."
'ogdeeds' writes:
jeez...get over it...for every nasty accusation hurled at Clinton, you can find an equally nasty (if that is how some choose to see it) issue in someone else. All this talk about her taking big $ from corporations, etc.....it is what she does with it that matters. Mostly what I hear her talking about is helping families, children, and the middle class. And oh, by the way, she also has to be president to all those other groups (lawyers, lobbyists, teachers, carpenters, rich CEOs, etc., etc.)Which some of you may or may not like, you know, like other Americans? The last thing we need is another president who only wants to be president to his base. Clinton is inclusive, and will lead for the good of all Americans as well as putting our country back where we deserve to be....respected and (jealously) admired, both for our greatness, and for the goodness we represent...and let me tell you, goodness does not include invading other countries under the guise of "protecting America" - just so one uninformed and ideological president can play out his ideological fantasies of 'transforming the middle east'...what a joke (instead of going after bin laden, the one who attacked us on 9/11 - oops, sorry, some of you still believe Iraq was connected to 9/11) we need someone like Hillary...thoughtful, knowledgeable and smart.
'wesfromGA' writes:
One has to smile at all the "I'll never vote for her" postings. If you are a Republican you were never going to vote for her anyway, if you are one of the distinct minority of Hillary haters on the left of the Democratic Party the essential silliness of this position will soon become apparent if she gets the nod. On present evidence this seems highly likely much to the chagrin of Mr. Balz and the media world who want a horse race because it sells newspapers and air time which is why there is all the parsing in his piece although he accepts the most likely outcome. Absent a major slip up there seems little doubt she has it wrapped up. Contrary to some assertions above she does not do conspicuously worse than Edwards or Obama against any member of the Republican field. On the contrary she does better than either of them and while they have been stuck for months in the mid twenties and mid teens for months she has steadily improved her position and has now been sitting in the low forties for weeks. In Iowa she has come from behind and leads in most polls. Why? Because she is self evidently the best candidate. She has a formidable machine, plenty of money and a few more difficult to pin down advantages like Gender and the presence of Bill who is widely respected much to the chagrin of the right.
The right must have choked over their coffee when Greenspan recently gave Bill stellar grades and of course they responded as they always do by launch personal attacks (there's a typical example in today's post from Novak).
There is no question she is going to get the nomination and a 60% chance she's going to win the presidency. Even some right wingers like Karl Rove are gloomily admitting it.
All the negative comments about Hillary on this board are from disgruntled Republicans who do not have a great choice in their party and will elect a nominee called "none of the above" because Republicans will stay home in 2008.
What a stark contrast there is in the Republican nomination and the Democratic nomination campaigns. Republicans know fully well after G. W. Bush we can only have a Democratic President and its going to be Hillary this time!
People and the writer of this article give undue importance to the Iowa caucus. Isn't it time to break the back of this myth of Iowa's importance? They haven't picked a winner since 1976. And Clinton and Kerry won the democratic nominations without winning in Iowa. Enough with the rural pandering.
I fondly remember the Bill Clinton administration years as pretty good ones in spite of the personal attacks from the right. The personal problems were Bill's not Hillary's. She had to deal with him and the public and she did it expertly with a win as a junior Senator in NY and a re-election where she won 67% of the vote, with 58 of 62 counties including the MOSTly Republican "red" counties in upstate NY.
In the General election Hillary will beat the pants off any Republican nominee trying to keep us fighting the Iraq war.
People forget that Giuliani dropped out in that first Senate race not because of prostate cancer, but because he saw the writing on the wall, which was a certain defeat and an end to his political dreams.
We may have the re-match that we never had. Rudy vs. Hillary. Single point campaign of 9-11 against well rounded Hillary.
When Bill Clinton left the White House we were a nation at peace, we had a sizable surplus, we had a growing economy, and today he is the most popular politician in the nation if not the world.
Maybe that is not such a bad thing to return to. But the reality is that Hillary is not Bill. She is by all accounts smarter and definitely won't have the personal problems that Bill had. She is a master politician and is becoming a master speaker as attested to by looking at her in some of her live appearances and on yesterday's sweep of the Sunday news shows.
It is Hillary's time and it is the time for a woman to be the US President. It is time to break the highest glass ceiling in the US. I predict that many Republican women will join because they have said "I have never voted or never voted for a Democrat in my life, but if Hillary is the candidate and I have the chance to see a woman US President in my lifetime, Hillary will have my vote!"
People underestimate the positive change that will occur around the world in the way the United States is viewed when we elect Hillary. She will be symbol for women everywhere.
It's time to give up the sniping and for some women to stop venting their jealousy, which is really what it is when they complain not about her policies but about her personal choices as relates to Bill.
It's time to think about the nation and Hillary will be good for the nation and the world.
'jmartin' writes:
For people that say Hillary unelectable? Let's see.
The latest Post-ABC poll says it all. In the September 2007 poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, Hillary 49% vs. Rudy 42%. Hillary 50% vs. Fred Thompson 41%. Hillary 51% vs. Romney 38%.
September 2007 poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corp.: Hillary 50% vs. Rudy 46%, Hillary 55% vs. Fred Thompson 42%. Same poll, Obama 45% vs. Rudy 49%. Obama 53% vs. Fred Thompson 41%.
Inevitable? Perhaps not. Unelectable? Not that either.

Posted by: ajain31 | October 3, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Obama isn't necessarily making the comparison with JFK. There are some people who are rallying to him under the JFK "young, idealistic" flag. There are some who also made that comparison with Clinton in '92 as well.

On the other hand, Ted Sorenson, I think, is an authority on who is Kennedy-seque and who isn't, seeing as how he was one of JFK's most trusted advisors. I will choose, on this particular issue, to defer to the people with inside knowledge.

Posted by: cam8 | October 3, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Actually, U.S. involvement in Vietnam began while Truman was still in office. U.S. military "advisors" were trying to help the French hold on to their colony.

Eisenhower put more boots on the ground, then Kennedy did as well.

However, in '63, Kennedy was on the verge of pulling all U.S. personnel out of Vietnam, which some argue may have been the reason why he took one in the squash that November to make way for Johnson, who was gung-ho about 'Nam.

Posted by: cam8 | October 3, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

And I could be the Next George Washington!

Where's that Cherry Tree?

Heck with the Tree, where's Ahmadinejad?

Heeeeeere Chavez, Rat's got a little surprise for you!

Posted by: rat-the | October 3, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't care how much money Hilary Raises. That doesn't mean she will win. We have over 1 year before the election so who really cares right now.

I for one will only vote for the best of the candidates. I vote based on record and their willingness to sit and discuss issues with everyone. I want someone who doesn't point fingers and who can speak to a crowd fluently without intimidation in their voice (as Hilary does) she isn't ready to be president and I don't care if her husband was in office or if she is a Sentor. I want someone who can clearly speak for themselves without the approval or pre-written nonsense from their advisors. Obama to me has that. He speaks from the heart and when he answers questions it doesn't seem like it's already be written or even written by their staff writers and advisors.

Also as a black woman, I noticed that Obama is starting to gain ground in the black community just by recent statements and appearances in black areas or events sponsored by black officials. People are really starting to feel this guy and the other candidates better recognize that Obama could be the front runner. Simply because most black people are in those STUPID POLES that they do every week. So who are they asking? Why is it that normally when the poles say one thing another thing happens. Who are they asking? And even the people they ask usually change their minds within the WHOLE LONG ONE YEAR before the election.

Posted by: tagl322 | October 3, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama invoked JFK as a distraction from his nuclear policy, which has absolutely no chance of ever succeeding in practice.

I agree the comparison is shopworn, largely because we're always hearing about the Next Big Thing, e.g., who's the next JFK, the next RFK, the next MLK, etc. So many people have tried to use it (like Dan Quayle) that the comparison has lost its impact.

For Obama to fall back on it has the whiff of desperation because he can't get traction distinguishing himself from HRC or JRE. I guess that's what happens when you worship at the Altar of Bipartisanship.

Posted by: cab91 | October 3, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama as JFK? What a joke!

Posted by: DQuixote1 | October 3, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, JFK was a war hero..

Obama , er no.... and he's still young enough to serve in the military

It's an insult to JFK for Obama to claim that title.
Has he no respect for his elders?

Posted by: newagent99 | October 3, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Peterdc, I'm sorry, how is Obama a Harvard elitist, since he's the only one who grew up in a single parent home and worked as a community organizer in one of the worst neighborhoods in the entire country. I think someone who has spent the past 24 years as First Lady or Senator or in Edwards' case, millionaire would be more apt to be labeled an elitist. Personally, I don't have a problem with a Hillary Presidency or an Edwards administration, but I think for this country, we need Barack Obama. He is a man who has prepared himself for great things, while successfully accomplishing little things which mean the world to those who he's helped. Whether Obama had spent 4 years or 40 years in Washington, his perspective and insight on problems, his engaging manner which attracts those who agree with him and those who don't as well as his post-baby boom life experience allows him the freedom to challenge so much of what has been standard in our political process. If America misses out on its chance to reinvigorate its image around the world and take a step towards healing the scars of the past few years and past few decades, by electing Barack Obama, then it will be the country's lost, not BHO!

Posted by: johnnyspazm | October 3, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I believe it was Eisenhower who started this country's involvement in Viet Nam. Pres. Kennedy added more troops to Viet Nam, but Johnson was the person led the surge and kept the war going for at least a year longer than it should have, even though it was already lost.

Posted by: bringbackimus | October 3, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

peterdc Hit the Nail right on the Head!

Obasama is NOT a War Hero! He is a Lawyer, who specialized in Constitutional Law, who has already demonstrated the most Bafoonish comments reguarding issues the Exectutive Seat is about-Military and Foreign Relations.

I sincerely DOUBT he has much of a clue when it comes to Business either!

Do not ever make such an OBSCENE Comparison to such a great Statesman and BTW-Hussein, Catholic, AGAIN!

Or the Governator, who is Married to a "Kennedy", might become your Terminator!

And Box those Goofy looking ears off!

Posted by: rat-the | October 3, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton both compaired themselves to JFK. Hillary did it a few months ago. John Edwards compaired himself to Robert F. Kennedy. Too bad JFK and RFK had their respective lives cut short. People worried back then about a Kennedy dynasty. Today's generation of Americans don't seem to mind the Bush/Clinton dynasty, but they should.

Posted by: bringbackimus | October 3, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, it wasn't Kennedy who launched our involvement in Vietnam. Advisors entered during the Eisenhower Administration and at Kennedy's death there were only 1,600 U.S. military advisors. According to a number of close Kennedy advisors and historians, most recently Robert Dallek, there is a fair amount of statements and circumstantial evidence that Kennedy was on a course to reducing American ground force involvement. It was the Johnson and Nixon Administrations that ramped up our troops so the comment at the end of the above story is a misstating of the hisorical record asserting an inept comparison to tarnish Obama.

Posted by: HarryR | October 3, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is capitalizing on the fact that GWB and the GOP have really made mockery of the presidency and governance in general and she knows that people would do anything to bring back the Bill Clinton years, even if she does not offer any specifics (like she did in the last debate that she evaded questions). She knows that Americans are really dumb and don't need any specifics to elects her... all she has to do is play the "Bill Clinton card"

Let's all start to learn CHINESE and PUNJAB since she will complete the globalization initiative started by Bill Clinton and further ship American jobs overseas.

Posted by: ztlogic | October 3, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Clinton is the smart politician, Edwards the smart lawyer, but Obama is the born leader. Can't Democrats recognize this? We don't need trail lawyer fighters or those experienced fighting the vast right wing conspiracy. This is a time in world history when something needs to get done. And that can't happen when politicians are just looking to extend the political battles of the last decade. We need Obama who brings all voices to the table and focuses on getting problems solved. That is the kind of experience he got as a community organizer and from working in the Illinois legislature bringing bipartisan bills to fruition that dealt with ethics reform and health insurance. Clinton is so reviled by the Republican voters that no Republican Senator would dare cooperate with her. And without those 60 votes in the Senate nothing gets passed. Gridlock. That is what Clinton will give us.

Posted by: goldie2 | October 3, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Today we need a leader with real world Judgment and Obama is that guy.

Posted by: emmygell | October 3, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is a hawk. Even in the last debate, when Tim Russert recalled her vote to authorize war, the most important vote of her life, SHE GOT IT WRONG. He then asked WHY WE SHOULD TRUST HER JUDGMENT to be president. She gave her standard 'non-answer'... "I take responsibility for my vote."

Zbignew Brzezinski, one of the most distinguished foreign policy experts in America, recently endorsed Obama because of his good judgment. Noting how President Kennedy's military advisors wanted him to use nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And yet, this young, wise president said no to them, using a naval blockade instead. He saved us from nuclear war...THAT is the good judgment Brzezinski's talking about.

Obama spoke out against this "rash, dumb ideological war of choice". He did it in 2002 and every year since then. EVERYTHING he predicted came true. He said we'd be in a quagmire that would drain our treasury and cost too many lives. He said it would destroy our moral standing in the world. All this, sadly, has happened.

The wisdom that Senator Obama has shown is what our country needs. In contrast, Senators Clinton, Biden, Edwards and Dodd ALL voted for the war and Sen. Clinton didn't even take the time to read the 90 page NIE (National Intelligence Estimate), even with 10 days to read it, before casting her vote to go to war.

To send other people's kids to war without reading it was dereliction of duty. She did not ask the hard questions before voting and feared looking weak, MAKING A POLITICAL CALCLUATION.

If being first lady in the governor's mansion for 8 years and another 8 years in the White House qualifies for 'experience' to be president, then why not Laura Bush for president? How preposterous is that? This is how the Clinton Machine spins and manipulates perceptions.

Prior to being elected to the Senate in 2000, Hillary's only recent professional employment had been as a lawyer in Little Rock, Arkansas while her husband, coincidentally, was governor of that state. She represented clients who sometimes had an interest in getting to know her husband better. She has never managed anything larger than a Senate office, and while First Lady, her international activities were more in line with the ceremonial responsibilities of a Pat Nixon or Laura Bush, than with the actual interventions of Eleanor Roosevelt. In other words, she doesn't have the government management experience of a Reagan, Carter or Bill Clinton. Nor does she have the international or military experience of an Eisenhower or a Franklin Roosevelt. And that apparently makes her the best 'qualified' candidate......

Time served in Washington does not equate with good judgment.

In Obama, we have someone who will unite our country and yes, the world. The moment he is inaugurated, the healing begins.

Posted by: pacifica1 | October 3, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

peterdc writes
"Today the situation in the world really calls for someone more experienced and with a different set of experiences and seasoning than Obama has."

Such as?

Being married to a charismatic politician perhaps?

Posted by: bsimon | October 3, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

To the person who wrote this comment, "Obama needs more than a shop-worn comparison to a 20th century president who served almost 50 years ago", I think it's very telling indeed that nearly 50 years later, candidates still look to John Kennedy as the president who reflected youth, ability, and leadership in times of crisis. It still pains me to wonder what John Kennedy Jr. would be up to had he lived, and what he'd be making of the Obama/Kennedy comparison.

Timothy C.
33 Chicago

Posted by: tdc221 | October 3, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

This is a little funny when you think of it. It reminds me of Lloyd Bentsen's statement about another candidate which could be applicable to Obama- " Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine and you are no Jack Kennedy".

Jack Kennedy struck a chord at time in our history. He was a war hero. We actually didn't face the problems we are facing now. His experience wasn't the factor it would be now. We were in a time of general peace after the Eisenhower presidency and after Eisenhower's heart attacks and his and Mamie's image the country was looking for someone young and vibrant. It could also be said as someone has that it was Jack Kennedy's inexperience that got us into Vietnam.

Today the situation in the world really calls for someone more experienced and with a different set of experiences and seasoning than Obama has. Yes he is a young charismatic person but electing an elitist from Harvard with a wife who is a high paid attorney doesn't have the same cache that electing Kennedy did in 1960.

I got interested in politics at the age of 12 because of Jack Kennedy. I think that today there will be more young people - especially young women- who will be enticed to see new opportunities for themselves, if we elect Hillary Clinton than would be the case if we were to elect Barack Obama.

I think Obama is looking a little desparate if he tries to trot out the Kennedy similarities when nothing else seems to be working. Bringing out a 79 year old Ted Sorenson to talk about his reminicenses about youth and Jack Kennedy 47 yeas ago is really laughable.

Posted by: peterdc | October 3, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Wait!

I thought he was the new Reagan?

Posted by: JoeCHI | October 3, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It was only a matter of time before the Obama campaign trotted out JFK partisans to provide the emotional scaffolding for his candidacy.

Obama needs more than a shop-worn comparison to a 20th century president who served almost 50 years ago.

It is a sign of the Obama campaing's growing sense of desparation in the face of Clinton's slow, steady waddle into the hearts of an equally desparate deomocratic electorate.

If the presidency can be won by Obama's acting like JFK and endlessing proclaiming his being the first candidate to oppose the war then it is a sad commentary of the state of our politics.

As Dodd and Biden remind us the US in in need of proven leadership- Edwards fits the bill- not Hillary or Obama.

Edwards is a damn good trial lawyer- the perfect man to make America's case on both the domestic and world stages.

Contrary to popular belief lawyers, especially trial lawyers, are best suited to lead this country.

Hillary served at Rose law firm, probably as a commercial lawyer. Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. The two of them remind me of the over-eager to please law students I went to school with- we used to call them "grade grubbers." Both would be "business-as-usual" presidents. To my mind Edwards, a skilled fighter in the crucible of trial court warfare, is just what the country needs. Corpoate lawyers need not apply.

Posted by: kolp999 | October 3, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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