Essay: KENNEDY LEGEND & JOHNSON PERFORMANCE

IN his memoirs of John F. Kennedy's Thousand Days, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. recalls how his historian father early in 1962 asked Kennedy, among others, to rate previous U.S. Presidents on a scale ranging from "great" to "failure." It was the sort of thing that fascinated Jack Kennedy, and he started to fill out the form, then decided against it, replying: "A year ago I would have responded with confidence, but now I am not so sure." When the results of the survey were published, Kennedy was pleased that Truman ranked among the "near great," amused that Eisenhower stood near the bottom...

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