Interview with Ted Sorensen . Sorensen was President Kennedy's Special Counsel & Adviser, and primary speechwriter, the role for which he is best remembered today. He was particularly famous for having helped draft the inaugural address in which Kennedy exhorted listeners to "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." This call to service is the phrase still most closely associated with the Kennedy administration. Although Sorensen played an important part in the composition of the Inaugural Address, "the speech and its famous turn of phrase that everyone remembers was," Sorensen firmly states (counter to what the majority of authors, journalists and other media sources have claimed), "written by Kennedy himself." In later years, when pressed in interviews if he wrote the phrase, Sorenson would reply tongue-in-cheek "Ask not."
In the early months of the administration the scope of Sorensen's responsibilities lay within the domestic agenda; however, after the Bay of Pigs debacle Kennedy asked Sorensen to take part in foreign policy discussions as well. During the Cuban Missile Crisis Sorensen served as a member of ExComm and was named by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara as one of the "true inner circle" members who advised the president, the others being Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, General Maxwell D. Taylor (the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs), former Ambassador to the Soviet Union Llewellyn Thompson and McNamara himself. Sorensen played a critical role in drafting Kennedy's correspondence with Nikita Khrushchev and worked on Kennedy's first address to the nation about the crisis on October 22.
Sorensen was devastated by Kennedy's assassination, which he called "the most deeply traumatic experience of my life...I had never considered a future without him." He later quoted a poem that he said summed up how he felt: 'How could you leave us, how could you die? We are sheep without a shepherd when the snow shuts out the sky'. He submitted a letter of resignation to President Johnson the day after the assassination but was persuaded to stay through the transition. Sorensen drafted Johnson's first address to Congress as well as the 1964 State of the Union. He officially resigned February 29, 1964, and was the first member of the Kennedy Administration to do so.
Talks about first meeting JFK in 1953 as a new senator describes his first impression of JFK
describes how Kennedy was a giant figure on the political stage ant his myth shields his true achievements
talks about the Cold War during the Kennedy administration
discusses JFK's greatest accomplishments #1 was Cuban Crisis and Civil Rights
How he pushed us into exploring outer space and te Peace Corps and higher education aid
Sorensen talks about how JFK inspired an entire generation of young people to go into public service
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