tv American Dynasties The Kennedys CNN March 18, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
must labor on. >> they made a lot more enemies than friends and some of those enemies are truly dangerous. >> with the kennedys it's always tragedy and triumph mixed together. what would it take to put your family in the white house? charisma? vitality? an adoring wife? john f kennedy seems the perfect candidate but behind the facade lurked dark secrets. jfk will need everything his family can offer, blam moglamouy and power to win the presidency of the united states.
joe, sr. has lost his favorite son. joe, jr., his favorite daughter, kick, and yet for a family that's endured so much tragedy they don't look like it. they look like they're at play all the time. >> 25-year-old aspiring attorney, robert kennedy has given the dynasty its newest member. >> bobby married ethel who gives birth to the first grandchild of joe and rose kennedy, kathleen. >> john, known as jack, is 8 years older than bobby and at 34 is in his third term as a congressman. yet, he still leads a bachelor's life. >> jack was having a lot of fun not being married. he had lots of girlfriends. he was a party boy, he was a playboy, he was regarded as his peers as being a bit of a dilettante. >> joe yearns for his son to become president and the next logical step is a seat in the u.s. senate. but in jack's first appearance
on national television, he seems undecided. >> are you going to run? >> well, i think that we have a good chance to carry massachusetts in 1952. i'm seriously considering running. i'm not sure what i'm going to do. it'll still a year away. >> jack felt the essure. pop wan him to go to the top and that was it. >> in the 1950s it would be unheard of in the united states for anyone with presidential ambitions to think of running as an unmarried man. it was absolutely essential in joe kennedy, sr.'s mind that jack be married. >> jack's pal plays match maker inviting jack and a female friend to dinner. >> this young unmarried lady was jackie, and he followed her out
to the car after the par ty was over. she had enormous appeal. >> 21 jackie has just completed her bachelor's degree at george washington university. >> jackie had the reputation of being what people then called a brain, very, very bright. but at the same time, very glamorous. >> cajackie was different from e women he dated or had one-night stands with and there was chemistry between them. she thought a bigger world for herself and she found that in jack kennedy. >> jack finally resolves to run for a u.s. senate seat in massachusetts. >> he's up against a man whose grandfather has defeated his grandfather a half a century
before. >> now meet your candidate for the united states senate. >> how can this young whipper snapper of a congressman without much of a record run against henry, jr., who has an ancestry that is much more distinguished? >> it was a brazen move, a move that looked totally toxic and nobody gave him much of a shot. >> jack needs all the help he can get. and his mother, rose, is one of his most important assets. >> rose was the expert at campaigning, because she had been campaigning with her father from the time she was a teenager. when he had run for mayor of boston. >> rose kennedy was fantastic in front of an audience. she knew exactly what to say and she knew exactly how to say it. she was extremely smart about politics but she was also very smart about human nature. >> there was an idea to have
formal tea parties where rose kennedy and her daughters and jack kennedy would go to a fancy hotel in massachusetts and they would invite all the ladies of the town to dress in their best finery and come to have formal tea with the kennedys. it was really one of the first time that women got involved in politics in a very sustained way. jack's sister and his mother, rose, w wear wha recall poodle skirts and they would stan up and reveal that their skirts are embroidered, jfk. >> but his father joe, understands that jack needs for mar than fashion and fine china. >> joe kennedy didn't like what he thought was a lethargic campaign that he thought the official campaign manager was running. >> joe wants his third son bobby to take charge. jack is unconvinced.
>> jack thought that bo bobby was a prude and was annoyed by him. he said that bobby was a pain in the ass. >> my father and john kennedy were not very close as they were growing up because there was a big gap in age between them. >> he was considered as the runt of the family. he was unathletic in a very athletic family. and what that did with bob di is it gave him the determination to prove to his dad that he mattered, that he could do these difficult tasks that joe threw his way in the most difficult of all at this point was making his brother a u.s. senator. >> bobby rises to his father's challenge and takes on a new role as the kennedy family fixer. >> bobby finds a campaign in a shambles, all these old hacks sitting around and bobby tells the hacks to get out or shut up.
to get out and knock on some doors. >> daddy was organized. he was straightforward. he held people accountable. and jack liked that. >> sometimes in politics you need somebody to be the bad cop. bobby was willing to be the bad cop. >> the charismatic jack defeats lodge to win the sene seat. kennedy wins what was one of the biggest upsets in maybe the state's political history. >> i'm glad it's over. >> it was jack's victory. in 1952, it gave kennedy the idea that he in fact could win the presidency. >> but if senator kennedy wants to make the white house his own he needs to follow his father's advice and show the world he has a good woman at his side.
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from their wedding it looks like you're watching a film. it doesn't seem real. you have jfk, he's so good looking, he moves with ease, he's trim. even in black and white he seems like he's made of gold. and then you have jackie and she just looks like a star of stage and screen. everything seems perfect. everyone seems at ease. and yet we learn later that jackie was pretty unhappy with the wedding. >> joe wants a wedding to be a place to invite people who will be able to benefit his son as he eventually runs for president of the united states. jackie has this naive idea that a wedding is a place where you invite your friends and family and celebrate because you're in love. joe wins. >> she's thrust into the
limelight. she's almost crushed by photographers. she has thousands of people literally at her reception she doesn't know because they've been invited by her father-in-law. and she's wearing a dress that she doesn't care for that she says made her look like a lamp shade. >> i'm sure that jackie would have liked to have chosen her own dress but that's simply not how it worked out. joe sr. chose her dress. if jackie didn't know that she wasn't just marrying a person, but a family before the wedding, she definitely learned during the planning process that this was a group affair. she was genuinely in love with jfk and she believed that they would have a wonderful marriage. the first moment in which she may have realized that was not her destiny was on their honeymoon. >> in the midst of the honeymoon, jack decides they're
going to leave alka pull coe and go to visit with his navy mate, paul fey and paul takes home movies of the visit. >> in one scene, jack twirls her around but lets her go almost as if she's a teenage girl and he feels a little bit awkward to show affection towards his wife and then he grabs the wife of his friend and he puts his hand on her derrier, so one wonders if this is a fore taste of what's coming in the marriage. >> i asked him, you're trying to hard to be president, why do you jeopardize it by going around with girls? >> and he said because i can't help it. >> jackie would always put on a
brave face regarding her husband's absences. >> jackie, i think probably being married to a senator would compared to being a doctor's wife because a senator must be on callt all times. >> i suppose it is in that they have these late hours, they go away at a moment's notice. work late. >> jack's affairs are not the only thing he's hiding. >> a great secret about jack kennedy is not his sex life, it's his health. he is a sick man. >> the joke always was if a mosquito bit jack, the mosquito would get sick. >> it wasn't a day of jack's life that it wasn't in pain. >> jack suffered from a very debilitating back issue. >> jack finds a doctor who says the only way to relieve this pain is surgery. but there are really terrible
risks. >> the problem with operating on him was that he had addison's disease. >> this is a potentially fatal disease. a different eficiency of the ad glands that can kill you. >> the doctors said we don't know if we could kill your back ailment and second you could die from an infection that could come from it. >> the doctors tell him there's a 50% chance it could kill him and with a discussion with his father kennedy said look, i'd rather take this chance because the alternative is i won't live a full life. >> joe is terrified. and he says to jack, please, don't do this surgery. joe has lost his daughter and he has two other children who's
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>> the surgery goes very badly. he develops a life threatening infection. >> his father wonders, am i going to lose now my second son? >> he's actually given the last rights. . >> and yet miraculously he pulls through. the doctors had inserted a steel plate to try to settle his back and jackie has to take overhe job of trying to change the dressings on this gruesome wound. >> jack recovers with jackie's support, but he believes his days may be numbered. >> if you think you are going to die young, then you will act differently, because you know your time is short on this earth. >> around convention hall as
nomination time approaches and delegates stream in for the big successi succession. >> he wanted to prove that he was vital and fit. >> at the democratic national convention, jack surprises everyone by announcing his candidacy for vice president. >> jack looks at bobby and says, bobby, would you call dad and give him the news? >> joe kennedy wanted his son to be president of the united states, but he didn't want him to try for vice president and lose and somehow blot his copy book before he was ready for the real run for the white house. >> the old man just rages obscenely over the phone. you boys don't know what you're doing. almost like a father talking to a bunch of, you know, five-year-olds. at this point jack kennedy for the first time of his life disobeyed his father totally.
bobby and jack kennedy run around on the convention floor trying to run up candidates. they don't really know what they're doing. >> the vice presidential nominee in the most thrilling wire to wire convention. >> it's close. and ultimately they lose. >> senator john kennedy of massachusetts. >> this was hard for him. this is the first time jack kennedy h ever lost. >> ladieangentlemen, we can nicing that thi convention has selected a plan with campaigns in all parts of the country -- >> he makes clear that he wants the entire convention to rally -- >> and i hope that this will make the nomination unanimous. thank you. >> there's a tradition in american politics of knowing how to concede so that this is the first step to a future victory. jack has turned defeat on its head and there's more good news.
jackie is expecting a baby. by the mid-1950s, the kennedy dynasty is growing. bobby has four children. jack's younger sister patricia has one, and eunice has two. jack wants children of his own and it would be the icing on the cake for a young man seeking the presidency. >> jackie had already had a miscarriage and in 1956, she was thrilled that she was pregnant again. she went to stay with her mother and await the birth of their child. >> john f. kennedy went to visit his father in the south of france. he then went on a cruise with his buddies. >> whi he was in communication with jackie, jackie goes into labor suddenly and prematurely.
she is raced off to the hospital and has quite a bit of hemorrhaging and is very fearful situation. >> jack couldn't be reached for a couple of days. and it was bobby who went to the hospital. >> bobby tells her when she comes out of anesthesia that she has lost the baby. >> bobby's public image which is the hard guy, but privately he was soft. >> jack's public image was as the genial graceful guy. privately jack was hard. >> the word back from jfk from the language was the baby is lost, there's nothing i can do. i'm sure jackie will be fine. you better get your ass back
here. >> he didn't come back because he wanted to be with jackie. he came back because he wanted to make sure that he wasn't damaging his chances for eventual presidency. >> meanwhile, bobby takes a job as an attorney investigating corruption for the senate. >> bobby kennedy's life had been defined by serving his father and his bother but in the mid-50s you sense he's trying to make a sense for himself. at christmas time, 1956, the family's gathered and bobby kennedy comes to his father and says i want to lead an investigation into organized crime. >> my father said, either they're going to own the country or we are. >> so joe kennedy says you don't nose what you're getting into. don't go near that. and bob di kennedy says i am i'm going straight to capitol hill
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>> the mob was moving in to unions and many aspects of american society. the fbi wasn't doing anything about them. >> bobby kennedy was a moralist. he was a good catholic. the idea of corruption within our society was deeply offensive to him. he really was at that point the biggest threat to american democracy. >> but bobby's father is not happy. >> joe is furious. it's possible that joe is afraid that bobby, if he investigates organized crime is going to trip over joe's traces. the gossip about joe was that he was a bootlegger. that was never proved but he was shady with some shady friends. >> bobby was very conscious of the sins of his father. he wanted to cauterize this and cut this out and distance it from the family. >> bobby kennedy ran this
extraordinary set of hearings. and the witness that had to be before bob kennedy. >> i don't even know who i was talking about and i don't know who you're talking about. >> he's erupting. he's bullying them. >> let's find out whose back you were going to make this fig rattira yourtively. rs. kennedy, do you attend many of bob's committee hearings? >> , i do, yes. most all of them and you can really tell i think when a witness is lying. >> ethel and bobby would strategize and ethel would say you've got to give it to them good and don't you let them get away with it, bobby. don't you let them get away with any of it. >> ethel shared his sense of the world and that's one of the many reasons why they got along so brill yaniant
brilliantly? >> you the world is divided into white hatted and black hats. >> it really fascinates me. >> when other parents would take their kid to the playground to swing on the swings or go on the merry go round, my mother took us to the senate hearings so that some of my first words were i refuse to answer that question. >> upon the grounds that the answer may tend to incriminate me. >> taking on the mob is never a risk free thing to do. they put the family in peril. there were a lot of death threats. there were, you know, phone calls and ethel kennedy was afraid for her children. >> at one point, you know, they threatened to throw acid in our eyes. >> these kennedys share what bobby call the guts of a cat
burglar. they were not afraid to go into areas where other people just would not go. >> one of the toughest gangsters that bobby summonsed before the senate was sam. >> he's the head of the chicago outfit. this is the most powerful wealthy section of organized crime. >> would you tell us about the vice operations in lake county indiana? >> i won't answer because the answer might incriminate me. >> they questioned him about bodies in trumps and he takes the fifth 40 times and finally starts laughing. >> will you tell us anything about any of your operations? >> i giggle every time i ask you a question. >> i believe my answer my incriminate me. >> i thought only little girled giggled. >> and then bobby has an unexpected visitor. despite his opposition to
bobby's kacandidacy he's endorsg his campaign. >> i think it's an extraordinary moment that he was as tough and smart as he was and for bobby it was winning the paternal his life trying to get.'d spent >> as bobby's reputation grows, a young politician decides to join him at the hearings. >> at the time john f kennedy is the undistinguished senator. he becomes part of that investigation and really distinguishes himself thanks to his younger brother. >> this is not a strike breaking bill. you're the best argument i know for it. your testimony this afternoon, your complete indifference -- >> it's not just a playboy, he's chasing the mob and so this is good publicity for the kennedys. >> jack receives another boost after a miscarriage and a
stillbir stillbirth, jackie gives birth to their first child. >> i want you to meet my daughter ca daughter caroline and my wife, jackie. >> admired as a principal politician and the family man, the young senator believes his time has come. >> i am today announcing my candidacy for the presidency of the united states. the presidency is the most powerful office in the free world. through its leadership can come a more vital life for all of our people. >> but first jack must mount a primary campaign with the aim of winning the democratic party's nomination. the kennedy family machine kicks into high gear. >> thank you very much. i'm sorry that my mother couldn't be here tonight. and my sister eunice. my sister gene, my brother teddy, but my cousin joe is here
so you'll have to settle with me. thank you very much. >> you're never running against one kennedy. you're running against every kennedy. it's a full family affair. >> jackie was willing to go with jack and campaign with him in small towns and go through poor homes and meet with the people and because she was so glamorous and yet down to earth, she really connected with the people as did her husband. >> she could make you feel as if you were the only person in her life at that moment when she was talking to you. but even the allure of jackie kennedy cannot guarantee victory. >> kennedy is a very attractive candidate but he has three big witnesses. he's catholic, he's a womanizer, and he's deathly sick. >> womanizing and the illness he can hide.
he can't side that he's a catholic. you can't judge a daughter by looking at the mother. you can't judge a book by looking at the cover. taking one look. try to read me like a book but i leave 'em all shook 'cuz you can't judge a book by its cover. you can't judge a book by looking at the cover [x2] it's the volkswagen "smile, it's spring" sales event, where you will find great deals on award-winning suvs, that are sure to make you smile. with over 40 standard features and with america's best bumper-to-bumper transferable limited warranty. during the volkswagen spring sales event you can't help, but smile. do you know them? uh-uh. do you know them? uh-uh. it's the volkswagen "smile, it's spring" sales event. hurry in and you can get a $1000 bonus on new 2018 atlas or tiguan models.
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against kennedy because of his religion, but will you? >> i will. >> you will? >> i will. >> why? >> i just think that i shouldn't vote. >> there was a lot of anti catholic fervor in 1960. billy graham, the fams ncent cosigned a letter saying don't vote for john kennedy because then we'll have the pope telling us what to do. >> it's a reminder that for all their wealth and power, the kennedys are still outsiders. >> my grandmother rose being irish catholic always felt that she was not accepted by the white anglo- protestants. >> my grand father joe kennedy once read in the paper a description of himself as an irishman and they said when are they going to stop calling me irish? i'm an american. >> as the people of west virginia prepare to vote, what
do you think the result will be? >> well, i hope we're going to do well, but i guess we'll know better by the time the votes are counted. >> the west virginia primary is a make or break moment for the kennedys. >> jack kennedys had to show that he could win in a state that was 98% protestant. >> if you could win in west virginia you could prove that a catholic could win. >> jack and bobbie made a brilliant decision which was rather than let the issue of his catholic faith fester in the background, they were going to take it on head-on. >> for the past months and years, i have answered almost daily inquiries from the press about my religious dues. >> he described that he didn't have a religious test when he went in the service. there was no religious service when his brother went in service and got killed. >> little or no attention was paid to my religion when i came to the house and when i came to
the senate. though i take almost the same oath as the president of united states now takes. >> he played it smart. he said i'm not going to to take order from the pope. >> the presidency is not elected to be the protector of the faith. >> he said to the people of america, i know you're a more tolerant country to let the simple fact of my faith to stop societyi voting for me. >> he defies all odds and wins the primary. he arrives exuding confidence. >> i don't think that there has been a more anticipated candidate at the democratic national convention since jfk and definitely not before him. >> he was fresh, he was attractive, he was charismatic. >> everybody seemed to be
spinning their heads. >> he was just enormously impressive figure. >> i went to the convention with my parents. my father was the democratic national committeeman from maryland. the excitement of it was great because my father had been a big supporter. >> jack kennedy's main rival is lbj. >> i news here and now solicit the votes of every delegate present in this room in the sound of my voice. >> lyendon johnson and majority of the united states senate, thinks kennedy is sort of a light weight. >> let's talk about how we ought to do it and when we get down to doing it, just going to get it done. >> but kennedy is rolling with this stuff. >> i appreciate what senator johnson had to say.
he made some references to perhaps the shortcomings of other candidates but i assume he was talking about some of the other candidates and not about me. >> with his egobruised, johnson gets personal. >> lbj began to disparage joe kennedy sr. >> johnson not only smears jack's family, he also attempts to expose jack's deepest secret. >> the day before the vote, the johnson people put under the hotel room doors of every delegate, a yellow sheet of paper saying that kennedy had a disease. >> for bobby kennedy, that was absolutely verboten. from that point forward he considered lbj to be the enemy. >> bobby wouldn't let him get
away with it. running the kind of war room that campaigns salivate over he responds almost immediately. >> bobby rallies the doctors to lie, to say that jack is healthy as can be. >> will bobby's damage control pay off? >> climactic moments of the democratic convention. before the first ballot is completed wyoming finishes with a deciding vote. >> john f. kennedy fights offensively strong opposition to win the nomination. he is now the democratic party's presidential candidate. >> we will carry the fight to the people and we shall win. >> jack faces a tough decision. he must pick a running mate. >> when it comes to picking a vice president, the obvious candidate in a way is lbj. >> what did you and senator johnson talk about? >> i thanked him for his msa he sent me.
>> johnson is a southern democrat. jack needs the southern vote. >> jack kennedy never liked johnson. bobby kennedy despised johnson. they were like dogs with the hair standing up on the back of their neck. >> joe kennedy didn't feel that way. he was looking in strategic terms at the map and realized that his son needed texas. >> so the two brothers had johnson to be jack's presidential running mate and they did that for one reason. they were going to do anything it took to get jack elected p . president. >> he must beat one of the most experienced politicians of america. sitting vice president richard nixon. the kennedys is brought to you
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this young fella, be president of the united states. >> the candidates need no introduction. the republican candidate, richard m. nixon, and the democratic candidate, senator john f. kennedy. >> can an attractive rich kid, seen pictures on the cover of "life" magazine, but does he have anything? >> the stakes could not be higher. but jack has a critical advantage. >> joe kennedy knew his way around hollywood. so all the tricks to turn a jock into a leading man, he knew all those tricks. and he used them with jack kennedy. >> it's fascinating in the early footage you could see the kennedy nannies, the kids' nannies carrying movie cameras. theylayed wh them and made homemovies, but they also learned what looked best, how to appear. and that would stand jack very
well when it came time to run for president. >> this is a great country. but i think it could be a greater country. and this is a powerful country, but i think it could be a more powerful country. >> his answers were so crisp and clear, and confident. his body language was so powerful, whereas nixon, it wasn't just that he's sweating or needed to shave or something, but he was so antsy and uncertain. >> would you like to make a meant? >> i have no comment. >> am i serious enough or am i equal to this guy who's had eight years in the white house? >> kennedy and nixon slug it out for six more weeks in one of the hardest fought presidential campaigns in history. >> today, on election day, the big question is, how will the people vote? >> america may be choosing a president, but they're also
determining the destiny of the kennedy dynasty. >> the whole family gathered and they set up a war room. they brought in dozens and dozens of phone lines to communice with campaign direorsll over the country. and they waited. >> it appears that senator kennedy is moving into the lead. >> but as the night went on, the early lead that kennedy had seemed to drift away. >> when ohio went for nixon, the kennedy team began to wonder whether they would win this at all. >> senator kennedy's early lead of 2 million votes dwindles perilously as the returns come in from the western states. >> the suspense very much focused on illinois, which reported very late. >> northern illinois, chicago, was controlled by mayor daly,
and southern illinois was controlled by republicans. >> daly was a powerful political figure. >> jack gets daly on the phone, and mayor daly says we're going to win illinois with the help of a few close friends. >> there are stories to this day that dead people voted in chicago. there's no doubt that the daly machine helped the kennedys. but whether it engaged in massive fraud or not i think remains to be seen. >> back in -- the kennedys wait and wait. >> in the still of the night the secret service moved in. and when they saw the secret service surrounding the kennedy houses, they knew that they had
won. >> john fitzgerald kennedy is elected president, just over 100 years after arriving penniless in boston, the kennedys are now the most powerful family in the world. >> as a catholic it was something quite remarkable. but john f. kennedy was an inspirational figure, whatever your faith. >> it is the climax of one of the closest, mo dramatic elections in history. >> a guy not favored to win, and he won. when a result. >> the election may have been a close one, but i think that there is general agreement by all of our citizens that a supreme national effort will be needed in the years ahead to move this country safely through the 1960s. >> it's hard to describe the atmosphere at the cape after
jack's victory. we had a family that was on top of the world. >> think of the geography of hiennesport, the houses where they all live, the house where jack and jackie live, and now this compound is the center of the world. this was the realization, the dynastic dream of the kennedys. >> next on american dynasties, the kennedys. >> ask what you can do for your country. >> jack believed in the promise of america. >> kennedy was walking into an ambush, and he hado idea. >>t t unmitigated disaster. jack needed someone to watch his