The greatest enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent,pervasive and unrealistic.
- John F. Kennedy, Yale University, June 11, 1962,
JFK served as President of the United States from 20 January 1961 until he was assassinated on 22 November 1963 — a total of one thousand and thirty-six days. At the age of forty-three, he became the youngest president of the United States. During his brief time in office, he became a celebrity icon of pop star magnitude, and is still revered by many as one of our greatest presidents. According to a 1999 Gallup Poll, he ranked third in line, behind Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., as the most widely admired person in the world. JFK had much in common with Senator Obama, including his youth (if elected, Senator Obama will be forty-seven when inaugurated), skill in public speaking, and glamor in general. One might legitimately wonder what other attributes they share.
The first significant action JFK took as President was to order the Bay of Pigs Invasion on 17 April 1961, only eighty-seven days after he had assumed office. It was a disaster of the first order. The invasion had been planned with great secrecy during President Eisenhower's administration and, as planned, would have been a far more vigorous effort with substantial air power directed against the Cuban air force and with a reasonably high likelihood of success. During the Kennedy-Nixon election campaign, Senator Kennedy had claimed that the U.S., under Eisenhower, had not been sufficiently assertive in defeating Communism. During the 21 October 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate, Kennedy said that he would defeat Castro by invading Cuba, using all necessary force. The Eisenhower plans to do just that had been kept secret; Vice President Nixon had been the point man in pushing the CIA. Kennedy challenged Nixon by effectively calling for a U.S.- sponsored invasion to overthrow Castro. Nixon, to preserve the necessary secrecy, was forced to argue against it. It has been suggested that Senator Kennedy had learned of the invasion plans, and intended to put Vice President Nixon in exactly that position — apparently without regard to the good of the country or to the success of an attack on Cuba which they both favored. What would Senator Obama have done?