John F. Kennedy had many landmark appearances on NBC News, spanning the remarkable period from when he was a young Congressman in Washington in the 1950's to his time as President. Kennedy’s last appearance on the network aired 50 years ago on September 9, 1963, the month before his death. NBC reporters Chet Huntley and David Brinkley sat down with the President in the White House for an exclusive interview for their program, The Huntley-Brinkley Report. Kennedy stuck to outlining the policy priorities of his first term throughout the expansive interview, particularly focusing on the conflict in Southeast Asia. But he grew reflective when Huntley asked if, three years into his presidency, he found the office of the presidency unmanageable. Kennedy gave a strikingly thoughtful, long response assessing America’s place in the world and economic issues and political roadblocks at home – essentially summing up all the challenges facing his presidency. But Kennedy ended on a hopeful and humble note, saying that the country was really managed not by the White House, but by its citizens. He concluded the America was making progress and said, “I think we can really look forward to the 60s with a great deal of hope.” Tragically, of course, Kennedy would not live out that decade about which he had so much hope. You can watch his full answer about the challenges of the presidency in the video clip below, courtesy of NBC Universal Archives (nbcuniversalarchives.com, @NBCUArchives). And go to our NBC Archives website for more exclusive footage of President Kennedy’s appearances on NBC News programs, and a special compilation of key appearances. And don’t miss NBC’s special coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, including a video interactive of Tom Brokaw’s interviews with journalists, historians and friends of the president.
Stay tuned for more NBC Politics weekly trivia from Betsy Fischer Martin (@BetsyNBC), Managing Editor of Political Programming -- in collaboration with NBC Archives (nbcuniversalarchives.com,@NBCUArchives)
First published November 22 2013, 2:27 PM