The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers

Excerpt from column dated January 6, 1959

A few days ago I received a letter from Senator John Kennedy telling me that I had been completely misinformed as to the fact that his father had any paid representatives working for him in any state of the union, or that he has spent any money around the country on Senator Kennedy's behalf. My statement to the Senator had been that it was commonly accepted as a fact that these things had been done and that while it was obligatory on anyone to build up an organization if they wished nomination or election, in any case an extravagant use of money to achieve these results was not looked upon with favor. This brought forth from the Senator the statements paraphrased above and he writes: "I am certain no evidence to the contrary has ever been presented to you. I am aware, as you must be, that there are a good many people who fabricate rumors and engage in slander about any person in public life. But I have made it a point never to accept or repeat such statements unless I have some concrete evidence of their truth. Since my letter to you, I assume you have requested your informants to furnish you with more than their gossip and speculation. If they have been unable to produce concrete evidence to support their charges or proof of the existence of at least one "paid representative" in one state of the union, I am confident you will, after your investigation, correct the record in a fair and gracious manner..."

Since my information came largely from remarks made by people in many places,1 I think I should give my readers Senator Kennedy's own statement. That is the fairest way I know of dealing with a situation of this kind.

TMs, attached to Eleanor Roosevelt to John Kennedy, January 6, 1959, POF, MBJFK

     1. ER never revealed the identity of the people who relayed this information to her.

Index to this Document: 1960 presidential campaign; Campaign finance; Kennedy, John F.: ER's criticism of; ER, retraction demanded from; rumors denied by; Kennedy, Joseph P.: campaign finance and; criticized in My Day; My Day: criticism of JPK in; Roosevelt, Eleanor: journalistic practices of; JFK, 1960 campaign organization of; JFK, criticism of; JFK, retraction demanded by; on JPK; Rumors: political; Slander; Sources: anonymous; ER's use of

Published by the Model Editions Partnership

Recommended citation: Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and the Election of 1960: A Project of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, ed. by Allida Black, June Hopkins, John Sears, Christopher Alhambra, Mary Jo Binker, Christopher Brick, John S. Emrich, Eugenia Gusev, Kristen E. Gwinn, and Bryan D. Peery (Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2003). Electronic version based on unpublished letters. .

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