Thursday, October 4, 2012

JFK "not that interested in space" - Secret White House Tapes

JFK to NASA in 1962: "I'm not that interested in space"

Published: Thursday, October 04, 2012, 2:10 PM     Updated: Thursday, October 04, 2012, 2:11 PM
John F. KennedyView full size 
In this May 25, 1961 file photo, President John F. Kennedy speaks in the House of Representatives before a joint session of Congress in Washington. In the background are Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, left, and House Speaker Sam Rayburn. During that speech, Kennedy issued the challenge for NASA to send a man to the moon. That challenge that was met on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11's lunar module landed on the moon. (AP Photo, File) 

WASHINGTON -- President John F. Kennedy's challenge for America to be first on the moon is the stuff of American and NASA legend, but a new release of secret recordings Kennedy made in the Oval Office makes clear what he thought of the moon race. "I'm not that interested in space," Kennedy tells NASA's boss at one point.

Kennedy was motivated instead by beating the Soviet Union to the moon to prove the superiority of the America system. That much is well-known to historians. But to hear Kennedy's voice in an Oval Office debate with then-NASA Administrator James Webb is still extraordinary. That's even easier  now thanks to the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, which just released annotated highlights from 260 hours of secret recordings Kennedy made in the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. Not even Kennedy's aides knew about the tapes.

"I think it is the top priority," Kennedy replies. "Some of these other programs can slip six months and nothing's going to happen. This is important for political reasons. This is, whether we like it or not, a race."

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Source: The Birmingham News.


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