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THE PRIVATE WORLD OF THE KENNEDY WHITE HOUSE r .: cantly to Kennedy’s victory, but he had no appetite for taking a stand in Congress for desegregation against the dominant southerners of his party.” Page 203: When Freedom Riders were attacked by Alabama rednecks, Kennedy asked Harris Wofford, his civil rights adviser, “Can’t you get your goddamned friends off those buses? Stop them!” Page 296: “In Washington the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation was being celebrated in front of the Lincoln Memorial?’ Kennedy didn’t attend the ceremony and that “was consistent with his hands-off approach to civil rights?’ The dirtiest trade-off in the book went like this: FBI director J. Edgar Hoover wanted to bug and wire-tap Martin Luther King, Jr.’s hotel rooms to catch the conversation and sound of bedsprings when King entertained his women. But Attorney General Robert Kennedy refused to authorize electronic snooping. Then the Senate geared up to investigate a whorehouse operating on Capitol Hill. An East German woman suspected of being a spy worked there. She was also one of the President’s girlfriends and had visited the White House several times. Brother Bobby knew J. Edgar Hoover knew this and would be subpoenaed to testify at the Senate investigation. For Hoover’s silence, Bobby gave him permission to eavesdrop on King. In foreign affairs, Kennedy was a cocky nincompoop. Shortly after taking office, he did away with regular sessions of the National Security Council and disbanded the NSC’s staff support group”a move that eliminated a rich source of analysis from agencies and departments.” He was so smart, he didn’t need their advice. The original plan for the Bay of Pigs invasion was for it to begin in the port of Trinidad, adjacent to mountains which would give a haven for escape if necessary. “But Kennedy wanted a quieter scheme, so the planners shifted to the more remote Bay of Pigs, which as it turned out, was totally hemmed in by impassable swamps.” Throughout the planning, says Ted Sorensen \(one of the few level heads indecisive and vacillating.” And when the plan was literally falling apart but the situation could be saved because the invasion had not yet taken place, Secretary of State Dean Rusk urged Kennedy to cancel it. Instead, we learn, our great president paid no attention and “tried to distract himself by whacking golf balls” with buddies at two country clubs. Power having failed again, we quickly return to Grace. Two days after the Bay of Pigs disaster: Jack and Jackie hosted a gala reception Among the most hopeless was Texas’ own Lyndon, who was dancing with one of Kennedy’s prize girlfriends, and suddenly Lyndon collapsed. Just slid to the floor. Splat! Out cold. Unfortunately, he was still holding onto Kennedy’s girlfriend, who was trapped on the floor under him. It took several partygoers to hoist the vice president off of her. The book includes a sufficient sprinkling of such bawdy occasions, many proudly admitted mistresses on and off the public payroll, boring displays of wealth, betrayals of friends \(such as tive planning, and toadying by staff satellites \(such as Arthur Schlesinger, who that you will know you have been given an authentic look inside the Kennedy White House. Frequent Observer contributor Robert Sherrill divides his time between Florida and Texas. for members of Congress. Wearing a Cassini-designed sheath of pink-and-white straw lace, a feather-shaped diamond clip in her hair, and an impish look, Jackie whirled around the dance floor with Lyndon Johnson. You learn too much about Jackie’s clothing from Ms. Smith and not enough about LBJ’s dancing. But there is one other dance we are told about, and for me it is the high point of the book: The black-tie candlelit dinner dance for eighty… offered perhaps too much fun… Oleg Cassini introduced the twist, which originated at New York’s Peppermint Lounge [and] was considered improperly suggestive… The champagne flowed until 4 a.m., and many partygoers got hopelessly drunk. 8/13/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19