Obama reflects on Kennedy family legacy, own security
November 22nd, 2013
07:32 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama reflects on Kennedy family legacy, own security

(CNN) - Five decades after President John F. Kennedy's assassination, President Barack Obama reflected Friday on the Kennedy family legacy.

And as the nation remembered the tragic day, Obama said "thankfully" his own safety does not weigh heavily on his mind.

"It's not something I think about," Obama told ABC's Barbara Walters in an interview set to air in full next Friday. "Mainly, because we've got a Secret Service that does such an outstanding job every single day."

"Obviously, tragedy reshaped the Secret Service in many ways, but they do an outstanding job, and it's, thankfully, not something that I spend a lot of time thinking about."

Obama spent the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's death in quiet commemoration at the White House, observing a moment of silence at 2 p.m. ET and meeting with volunteers for Peace Corps - the international service organization established by Kennedy in 1961.

"When you think about the legacy of the Kennedy family, it has been part of all of modern American history, and it's been an incredible legacy, but JFK in particular, I think, captured the idealism, the ability to imagine and remake America to meets its ideals, in a way we haven't seen before or since," Obama said.

The President, joined by members of the Kennedy family and former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, laid a wreath Wednesday on the late President's gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

A CNN/ORC International survey indicates that 90% of all Americans approve of how Kennedy handled his job as President - an approval rating higher than any other president of the last half century.

But the country remain at odds as to whether a greater conspiracy surrounds the murder of the 35th president. One-third of Americans believe the CIA was part of a plot to kill JFK and 30% believe the Mafia had its hand in Kennedy’s death.

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    This president needs a very strong security.

    November 22, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    Ever notice how the Kennedy haters always try to sully the Kennedy name by saying that Joseph Kennedy was a bootlegger (actually a myth; he imported alcohol under medicinal liquor permits—which were legal throughout Prohibition)?

    These same folks don't have a problem with the tea bag funders, the Koch brothers – even though their father made his fortune by building the energy infrastructure for JOSEPH STALIN.

    November 22, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  3. Thomas

    I was just listening to David Brooks speaking from my home town Stanford . He was talking about the fallacy of the JFK presidency . Comparing it with the myth of Camelot and that of a utopian society.
    I thought that his analysis was very distant in feeling . Since Mr. Brooks was only two years old at the time of the JFK assassination , he would have little or no memory of those black and white day's of shock and sadness.
    Mr.Brooks who supported GW Bush and the Iraq war , describes himself as being originally a liberal before "coming to his senses." In 1983, he worked under conservative pundit William F. Buckley Jr.

    Maybe there is no Camelot , surly not a utopian society , only cold dirt surrounded by a moat with deep cold water .

    Then I remember a voice , " No man is and Island ".

    November 23, 2013 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  4. Rogerd

    Why does this President always seem to make everything about him? The American people should be able to reflect on this sad day from 50 years ago without having to be reminded of the sorry state of affairs we are presently contending with. Can history ever be talked about without including President Obama?

    November 23, 2013 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  5. HenryMiller

    "...thankfully, not something that I spend a lot of time thinking about."

    If he'd resign, he wouldn't have to think about it at all.

    November 23, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Well said Mr. President. As for the next 3 years, keep up the great work, and don't let the domestic terrorists win.

    November 23, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. ladies first

    The cover-up, the hidden truth that JFK tried to be an American President to the people of the USA and his adversaries were plotting behind his back for their own agenda the UFO disclosure was going to be given to the public world wide he possibly wanted the Russians to join us in space and the space shuttle that blew up was sabataged along with getting men out of vietnam and thats just scratching the surface. There were a host of other people who wanted to go to war.

    November 23, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. Richard Rollins

    President Obama is one the greatest presidents in the United States. His cool speeches and visits to David Letterman are priceless. He wants to give all Americans healthcare which is awesome. He is a great Dad and has a loving family. The forces in Washington that oppose such a man are racists and extremists. Obama has done amazing things for black unemployment and has provided us with the most transparent administration in the history of the world. Not only has Obama won the Nobel peace prize, he rejects reactionary politics and would rather use drones than harm our US troops. This good man and loving husband's secretary of State and our next president allowed us key insight into Benghazi and was completely accountable for any mistakes. She deserves a salute and a promotion. I have no problem with the IRS researching racists and those that obstruct our great president. Overall, we our now living in wonderful times with an honest leader that manages situations "hands-on" and isn't afraid to make a tough decision like going after Bin Laden. I could only hope we could have him as president for another decade.

    November 23, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Rickd785

    I worry about the President. If you read about the rhetoric from the right wing in Texas before the Kennedy went to Dallas. There actually is no comparison to what is being said about him t(Obama) today. The hostility and hatred is palpable toward our President and worse than anything Kennedy could have imagined.

    November 23, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Richard – You are the first republican with a sense of humor. I am still smiling.

    November 23, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. loretta

    I worry for the First Family's safety every day. Examples like Rogerd and "Henry Miller" posts above and lots worse on other sites make this a very real and present danger.

    November 23, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Kinard

    With all the nuts running around loose and armed to boot, no one is safe. We're not even safe in our own homes thanks to the stupidity of the people in the nation. There was a time when neighbors looked out for each other. Today they look for the weak point in the armor where entry can be made and the most damage can be accomplished. It's not the country we grew up in.

    November 23, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Catmandew

    This president seems to think its all about himself. He always seems to interject something in what he says to make it about himself. He has to be the center of attention just like a 2 year old!

    November 23, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. don in albuquerque

    @Rogerd-And you don"t think things were in a pretty sorry state of affairs then to get a president assassinated? Sadly times change, people......not so much.

    November 23, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Richard, what drugs did you take? You are full of it. haha....everything you said is the total opposite. You are such a clown and thanks for the laughs!

    November 23, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. GaryO

    To those who think Obama is trying to "make it about himself . . . like a 2 year old," . . . The President was responding to questions from Barbara Walters in an interview. You need to try a little harder to comprehend what you read. Did you expect him to refuse to answer question about himself?

    November 23, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    "The LORD is on my side, I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me:...
    It is better to Trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man" (Psalm 118: 6-8)

    November 23, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. 2L

    Rickd785 – absolutely, people forget (or simply don't know) how Dallas was overwhelmingly anti-Kennedy at the time. Connelly himself was attacked shortly before Kennedy arrived. Even with all these known threats, only 12 SS agents were assigned to his protection detail. Several plots were foiled prior to the visit, so it was kind of unusual they didn't have more agents.

    November 23, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  19. Thomas

    @Richard Rollins
    He is a great president , and history will judge him with considerable understanding.
    I believe our president cares about what his legacy will be , unlike GW Bush who say's he doesn't , or never did care .

    2 terms only , PLEASE !

    November 24, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |