How Sick Was J.F.K.?

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Ted Sorensen, once one of Kennedy's closest advisers, is on the three-member committee that oversees Kennedy's papers at the library and that gave Dallek permission to open the medical records. But he strongly disputes the claim that Kennedy was virtually disabled by his health problems. "I often saw him take on and off his socks and shoes," he says. "I also saw him play touch football and carry on a campaign in 1960 that was absolutely exhausting for the rest of us."

Dallek says that seeing Kennedy's medical records gave him greater respect for the President's courage in conducting his presidency in the face of daily pain. But he also writes that Kennedy should have let voters know in 1960 just how sick he was. If what he found was a profile in courage, it's a profile in bad faith too.

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