tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN April 1, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
>> kate anderson brower, thank you so much. good to see you. thanks for being with us. as you just heard, it's a big premiere night on cnn. pope the most powerful man in history airs at 10:00. i'm ana cabrera in new york. thank you for spending time with me. good night. >> i john fitzgerald kennedy do solemnly swear. >> just over 100 years after his family first set foot in the country, john f. kennedy becomes president of the united states of america. the kennedys had achieved their dream. in his first years in the white house, jfk learns winning power is one thing, wooeflding it is another. engulfed by violence at home and
the day of the inauguration was very, very cold. we were on the structure where all the press were freezing cold. but it was a moment of great pride for our family. >> john fitzgerald kennedy is making history. he is about to be sworn in as america's youngest elected president. >> jfk arrived when he became president. what a big satisfaction and relief for the family. >> we had this beautiful couple in jackie and jack that believed in trying new things, seeing new worlds. and believing in the promise of
america in a way that had not been said or thought of previously. >> i john fitzgerald kennedy do solemnly swear that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. >> for the family, having a kennedy in the white house is the inauguration of their ambition. >> jack is cheered on by his family. the president's brothers, his sisters, his mother rose. his wife jackie. and the patriarch himself joseph p. kennedy. >> joe kennedy who had been behind the scenes strategist, architect, stood up and doffed his top hat to the kennedy. >> and it was a great moment that showed his paternal pride.
>> let every nation know whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price to assure the survival and the success of liberty, and so my fellow americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. >> there was just a sense that we could see a different world. the torch is passed to a new generation who were focused on what the future would bring. >> invitations to the inaugural celebrations are the hottest tickets in town. the stars come out in full force for jfk. tony curtis, janet leigh, gene kelly, and frank sinatra. >> one of the things that the
kennedys did well was to bring hollywood to washington. >> they understood performance. they understood style. the kennedy administration was the rat pack '60s. >> jackie actually appeared in a white gown that she had designed to set her apart, and it was a very tight sheath in comparison to all these women in these big skirted gowns. >> here comes mrs. joseph p. kennedy, the mother of the president of the united states. >> on the road to the white house, rose kennedy has campaigned tirelessly to get her son elected. >> mrs. kennedy, this just be just about the proudest kay of your life. >> oh, yes, it's wonderful. >> it's important to keep in mind that rose kennedy evidently had dynastic ambitions for the family. this is not just the story of joseph p. kennedy, prominent pushing father. this is a joint effort on the
part of both joseph p. kennedy and rose. >> have you had a chance really to sit back and realize. >> no, no i don't think so. it takes a little while i think. >> jack's brother robert and wife ethyljoins in the family's triumph. bobby had been jack's campaign manager and their father is adamant he's handed add important role in the new administration. >> joe kennedy let jack choose his cabinet with one exception. joe insisted that the next attorney general be robert kennedy. >> one cold december morning, the president gets bobby kennedy up in his house in georgetown and tells him he's going to be appointing him as attorney general and he says, bobby, grab your balls, let's go.
>> jfk stops an the door and says hey, comb your hair. >> bobby for most of his career, a senate investigator, is announced to the world as the new head of america's criminal justice system. >> in looking for an attorney general, he must lead the fight for law enforcement, who must administer our laws without favor and with matchless integrity, i have turned to a man in whom i have found these qualities. >> it was an act of outrageous, brazen nepotism. >> bobby, who had never tried a case in a court of law may have been in american history the least-prepared person to be attorney general. >> i am pleased to accept the position of the attorney generalship of the united states. i understand and realize the great problems and difficulties that will be facing all of us in that position.
>> what was really kind of stunning at the time, barely a peep of objection. the press went completely along with it. >> bobby didn't want to be attorney general. jack didn't want his brother to be attorney general. nobody thought it was a good idea. but joe insisted. joe knew that jack, newcomer to the presidency, needed someone to watch his back, someone to protect him. he knew that the responsibilities that were now going to be put on his son's shoulders were absolutely enormous.
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>> the country is really swept away by jfk and jackie in a way that the country has never been swept away before by anybody in office. jack is at the forefront and he brings with him his beautiful wife and his amazing family. >> the kennedys have two young children, three-year-old caroline and baby john jr. >> no one could remember seeing children in the white house.
there were suddenly playthings around there, animals, there were toys strewn on the floor. it's a beautiful and welcoming image. >> if it's not presumptuous, mrs. kennedy, what about your role as a mother and a wife? >> yes, i think it doesn't matter what else you do if you don't do that part well, if you failure husband and your children. that really is the role which means the most to me. >> she was gutsy. i mean, here's -- she's really young, what was she 31 or something? so young. >> it has been more difficult, though, honestly, to fulfill this role? >> since we've been in the white house? >> yes, ma'am. >> no, my husband loves a challenge and i do, too. he set me a good example. so let's hope it works out. >> the president's sister eunice
shriver approaches his door with some trepidation. >> the kennedy sisters find themselves in a more formal relationship with brother jack. >> the president autographs pictures for his sisters and their children. >> stevie? for you? >> but in signing autographs for the family, the president finds it hard not to be presidential. >> it's pretty hard to turn these out. i find myself writing very best wishes. >> that is already borg. >> listen, have a good trip. >> joe kennedy, the brains and money behind his son's campaign, retreats to the family homes in florida and hyannisport. joe kennedy knew he had to be very careful not to rain on his son's parade. he decided very early on that he was not going to visit the white
house, he was not going to appear in public with his son. he didn't want anybody to think that jack kennedy was not his own man. >> jack knows that traditionally american presidents are judged by their first 100 days. >> jack kennedy saw himself as an historic figure. he saw himself as somebody who could lead the country into a new golden age. now, it was a golden age tinged by shadow because 1961 was the height or the depth of the cold war. >> america and the soviet union are locked in a titanic ideological struggle. the u.s. is terrified of the spread of communism as it reaches the nation's backyard. cuba is under the control of the fiery revolutionary fidel castro.
>> he was not only a communist and a marxist, but he was going to align himself with the soviet union on an island 90 miles from the coast of florida. >> the moment jack becomes president, the cia present him with their plan to bring down the cuban leader. >> the bay of pigs was a plot that was hatched during the eisenhower administration. the idea was to train some cuban exiles to invade cuba on the assumption that on their arrival there would be a popular uprising and fidel castro would be thrown out. >> kennedy was suspicious about the viability of this plan and the wisdom of this plan up until essentially the last moment. >> reluctantly jack gives the go-ahead for the operation with one crucial condition. >> he did not want it to be clear that the united states was supporting this. he wanted it to be a quiet invasion.
>> it turns out to be an unmitigated disaster. early morning hours, kennedy is pulled away from a soiree at the white house. >> the president in white tie at 2:00 in the morning is meeting with his generals. the cuban exiles were being attacked by tanks. they were going to be driven into the sea. >> back in washington, the u.s. navy and deputy cia director are basically saying let us invade cuba. the cia had the notion president kennedy would send in the marines, he would come to the rescue. but that's not what happens. kennedy says this was supposed to be a covert operation in which the u.s. hand did not show. we are not going to invade cuba and attack cuba ourselves to salvage this operation.
>> over 100 cuban exiles are killed and more than a thousand are taken prisoner. >> in the end, the united states is revealed to be completely behind this invasion. >> as castro boasts to the world about his victory, america is humiliated. >> kennedy was so overwrought that he began to cry. jackie had never seen her husband as distraught, as despondent, as depressed. he believed his presidency was over before it had even started because of this tragedy. at one point in the depths of his despair he and bobby were together and bobby said "let's call dad, maybe he can cheer us up." >> joe kennedy may not be in washington, but he remains a trusted adviser to his son. >> if you look at the records of
kennedy's calls during the days of the bay of pigs fiasco you will see how many times he called his father. joe kennedy never, ever, ever trusted the intelligence services and he had warned jack about the cia. so the bay of pigs shook kennedy's confidence in his advisers. it even shook his confidence in himself. but what it also did was it strengthened his conviction that he had to rely more on those he trusted most -- members of his family. an incomplete job from any one else. so why accept it from your allergy pills? most pills don't finish the job because they don't relieve nasal congestion. flonase allergy relief is different. flonase relieves sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, plus nasal congestion, which pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances.
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>> in may, 1961, jfk announces to the world an extraordinarily ambitious project. >> now it is time to take longer strides, time for a great new american enterprise. >> the soviets have already put the first man into space and after the bay of pigs fiasco, jack cannot afford for america to be left behind. >> the united states was engaged in a space race with the russians. we weren't just trying to beat the soviet asks militarily. we were trying to beat them to new frontiers. >> this is the kennedy approach to life which is win at all the costs. it's not good enough to come in second. and that was what they were told by their father from the time they were little children. >> as jack projects the superiority of his country around the world, back at home a desperate struggle for civil rights is tearing america apart. >> if you're african-american in
the united states in the '60s, you're not living in a democracy, you're living under an apartheid dictatorship based on race. >> we're still seeing intense violence. lynching is still the reality. >> if you were black you couldn't vote. you couldn't buy property, you couldn't go certain places. >> i said i'm sorry, our management does not allow us to serve niggers in here. >> while jfk is looking at the moon and stars, you see real hypocrisy and contradiction. >> how can the united states be a democracy if its citizens are killing, are hurting, are hospitalizing its other citizens but in the spring of 1961, john f. kennedy and his brother robert didn't care that much about civil rights. jack and bobby kennedy grew up rich and privileged.
they never saw any african-americans other than people who waited on tables. >> so they didn't get the terrible, terrible prejudice of southern whites against blacks. >> they were worried about russia. they were worried about the cold war, about the big game as they saw it and they were afraid the civil rights struggle would somehow distract or deflect from the main event. >> many are saying enough is enough. they want the president to take action against the brutal oppression that so many african-americans are forced to endure. >> in the south, blacks could not ride on the same buses, or at least at the front of the bus, with whites. >> so in late may of 1961 there were these young black and white students who decided that they were going to integrate the interstate bus system in america.
they called themselves the freedom riders. >> they're going to challenge segregation in the south by riding through the most dangerous areas. >> passengers on one bus were attacked at the bus station in aniston. another bus halted outside town by a flat tire was set afire. >> it puts the savagery and the brutality on television and it puts kind of this massive resistance on display not just across the country but across the world. >> and the governor of alabama, john patterson had said citizens of the state are so enraged i cannot guarantee protection for this bunch of rabble-rousers. >> the whole world is watching. the violence could undermine kennedy's presidential authority. >> jfk says get them off the buses. stop them from demonstrating. >> jack does not want to back the protesters. supporting civil rights would make him very unpopular with southern democrats. >> let's not forget, the south is solidly democratic.
they call them dixiecrats but they were democrats so a big part of the power base for the kennedys rests in the south. >> in a desperate attempt to defuse the situation, bobby makes a call. >> bobby tried to convince the freedom riders that they should cool down for a bit and not embarrass the president. the wonderful response of the young civil rights leaders is "we've been cooling off and slowing down for 50 years and we're going to keep going." >> civil rights leader the reverend doctor martin luther king jr. arrives in montgomery, alabama, to join the assembly. the church is soon surrounded by an angry mob of 3,000 southern whites. >> there's a risk they're going to burn the church down and king calls the attorney general in washington and says i need your help. >> hundreds of lives are in danger.
bobby realizes he has to act. >> on the issue of civil rights, there's no middle ground. you're either for civil rights or you're against civil rights. >> the attorney general couldn't very well let all these people die. that would have been an immense tragedy. bobby knew that he had to protect them. >> it was really a question of doing the right thing, politics be damned. >> bobby sends in a federal force to protect the lives of martin luther king jr. and the freedom riders. >> and this was bobby's real baptism in terms of what the civil rights movement meant to him. >> bobby kennedy has to be educated. he doesn't come to the civil rights struggle with anything much different than any other wealthy white man of privilege would. >> but after the freedom riders, bobby went from wanting to have nothing to do with the civil rights movement to feeling he had to play a role.
>> i think they're going to have to face up to our responsibilities. this is 1961. it's not 1861. we're going to have to continue to make progress. >> for jack, the freedom riders' protests could not have come at a worse time. all eyes are on him as he heads to europe for his first face-to-face summit with the leader of the soviet union. >> john kennedy wanted to show the world that he is a statesman, but kennedy was walking into an ambush, and he had no idea.
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>> i returned this morning from a week-long trip to europe and i want to report to you on that trip in full. it was in every sense an unforgettable experience. >> the kennedys' first international tour is their chance to present themselves on the world stage. in paris, however, jack kennedy is not the main attraction. >> that really was the moment when jackie kennedy became a genuine star. because she was so beautiful and because she was so young and effervescent, the primary interest for the french media was jacqueline kennedy.
>> she was so cultured and spoke fluent french to crusty old charles de gaulle, yet you can see him just melting. >> thousands of people lined the streets to see jackie. she was the first really glamorous american first lady they had ever seen. >> she wore american couture in the united states but when in paris, givenchy. she just knew how to present herself to make the most of her personality, her beauty, her fashion. >> we had never seen a first lady in the tv age become the story herself. >> she made an enormous impact and jack recognized that this was greatly to his advantage. >> i do not think it all together inappropriate to introduce myself to this audience. i am the man who accompanied jacqueline kennedy to paris. and i've enjoyed it.
[ laughter ] >> paris is a triumph for the kennedys. but their next stop, vienna, is the real test for the young president. for the first time, he meets with the leader of the soviet union, nikita kruschev. >> the world is nervous about nuclear war in 1961 and they welcomed a summit meeting between the head of the soviet union, kruschev, and president kennedy. >> what kennedy wanted to do was to show the world, i can find common language with this man. we can do business. >> an historic palace. a state dinder brings mr. and mrs. kennedy and mr. and mrs. khrushchev together. >> during two days of talks jack launches a charm offensive spearheaded by the first lady. >> they had a lovely banquet, kruschev sat next to jackie and she did what she could to charm him.
>> mr. kruschev visibly enjoys the evening with the glamorous american first lady and even insisted on shaking her hand before her husband's. >> there's another kennedy dining with the kruschevs that night -- jack's mother rose. >> john f. kennedy did not want his mother to go. he didn't want a huge family europe, but his mom insisted. his mother loved the limelight. she was interested in power and she liked being around people with power. >> away from the banquets and the cameras, jack has a serious mission in vienna. both sides have enough missiles to destroy the entire world so kennedy intends to make a deal on nuclear disarmament with khrushchev. >> john kennedy was deeply concerned about nuclear danger, that the cold war could spiral out of control. >> since the bay of pigs, jack no longer has full confidence in
his own advisers. >> the kepdies always like to operate on more than one track. they always like to do things privately through the family and jack always used bobby as a secret messenger to his friends and to his foes. >> in washington, bobby has gone so far as to hold secret meetings with a russian spy to open a back channel between the president and kruschev. >> it was really something quite extraordinary. things like that had probably never gone on before. kennedy had taken risks by having bobby set up this back channel, and he was hopeful that the soviets would respond. >> bobby through the russian spy had been led to believe that khrushchev was ready to talk about nuclear arms. as it turned out, he wasn't the least bit interested. >> khrushchev has only one agenda, berlin.
divided by the russians in the west after world war ii, people are flooding through soviet-controlled east berlin to escape communism. it's a major source of embarrassment for kruschev. >> people are fleeing the eastern part into the west and kruschev wants to stop that flood of refugees. >> in vienna, they went off into their meeting which was five hours long and a complete disaster. >> the soviet leader makes an impossible demand. he wants kennedy to surrender the western sector of berlin. >> khrushchev just bullies kennedy. >> there was nothing kennedy could say to him except "i give up on west berlin" that would have made kruschev happy. khrushchev was determined to put kennedy's feet to the fire. >> despite his best efforts jack is humiliated. he leaves the summit having achieved nothing. >> kennedy's first meetings with
journalists after vienna, there was no spin. he was dejected, he didn't hide it. >> i will tell you now, it was a very sober two days. no spectacular progress was either achieved or pretended. >> and two months later, kruschev built the berlin wall sealed off east berlin from west berlin and kennedy did nothing. >> kruschev goes one step further, testing even more powerful nuclear weapons, he shatters kennedy's hopes of slowing down the arms race. >> kennedy learned the soviets were not as committed as he was to avoiding war and that the world was in a very dangerous place.
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it was a safe haven. despite everything that was going on, when they got together at the compound all of that was forgotten. >> jack finds solace in his ever-growing extended family. in addition to his own children john jr. and caroline, his brothers and sisters have 17 children between them. >> the excitement when the helicopter landed and then they would take us for a ride on the golf cart with all the cousins. there were games and sailing and there were parties every night. there was always something going on. >> i think it's those moments that really kept them sane and focused on who they were and what their mission was. especially their political goals because a lot of politics talk
was going on there. it was the center of all power. >> the kennedys may have power, but jack is frustrated by how difficult it is to achieve real progress. he needs his brother now more than ever. >> bobby became the chief law enforcement guy, he became his chief foreign policy adviser, he became his chief political aide, and he became the closest thing that we have and we will ever see to a co-president. >> it seems amazing to this day to have these two brothers who are basically running the country together. >> there's one battle bobby kennedy is determined to fight on his own -- taking on the mafia. >> the mafia was really huge in this country, and there was a stronghold of mobster influence on politics and on entertainment and government. >> they were very powerful, they
were politically connected and when you investigated them, who would you run into? you'd run into an elected official. >> this is robert pierpoint and that building across the street there is the u.s. department of justice. >> since the 1950s, bobby has been rooting out corruption in the mob-infiltrated labor unions. >> the attorney general seldom leaves the office before 8:00 at night. >> as attorney general, he's determined to wage the biggest war on the mafia in american history. >> we need now more than talk, we need action. >> bobby kennedy had the single adjective stick with him more than anything else and it was the word "ruthless" and bobby learned, to joe's great delight, how to be a tough guy from papa joe. >> you have a reputation for toughness from being a fighter. we've heard your father fostered
a spirit of competition in the family. >> i think so. as we were growing up i think in any family where there's a lot of children you're always fighting with one another, competing with one another. >> joe believes making such dangerous enemies could ruin the kennedy presidency. >> he said democrats don't go after labor leaders no matter how corrupt they might be. not only will you destroy your future, he said, but you'll destroy your brother's future. >> bobby was a stern moralist and a tough guy, and there was also kind of a rebellious streak in him. he was willing to defy parental authority to go after the mob. >> this was personal. he felt these people were animals, and he wanted personally to destroy them. >> there's one mobster in particular whom bobby is obsessed with bringing to justice. >> sam "momo" giancana was
exactly the sort of villain bobby kennedy would want to take on. he was exactly the sort bobby kennedy would want to take on. when bobby took on giancanna, in the 1950s, the fat was in the fire. that was a confrontation that was never going to go away. >> so the fbi detail in chicago begins harassing are sam giancanna and his top lieutenants. >> they follow giancanna everywhere, wiretapping his girlfriends. even on the golf course. >> were we afraid? no, as a matter of fact, we were pushed very hard by robert kennedy to do everything we could. he was a great guy if you were his friend. i would not have wanted to be his enemy. >> bobby's investigations may be hitting too close to home. >> this guy was well known to joe kennedy and he was a co-investor in a large casino.
he and joe kennedy had bought condos in the hotel vicinity. >> wiretapped by the fbi, giancanna makes a shocking allegation about joe kennedy. >> on the fbi tapes you can hear jiancanna bragging that he has a deal with joe kennedy, with the patriarch. >> giancanna thinks he helped jfk get elected by arranging for him top get some votes in chicago. i think there are gangsters. i don't think there's any truth to it. sgl the the truth is the the kennedys did not need him to win chicago, but nonetheless, he thinks that he's been helping the kennedys and so he feels betrayed when the kennedys turn against him. sgl he felt double crossed and was threatening murder and
revenge. >> through something else would threaten the kennedy dynasty. >> they have had tragedy in their lives, but this feels different. it's going to change everything. b from any one else. so why accept it from your allergy pills? most pills don't finish the job because they don't relieve nasal congestion. flonase allergy relief is different. flonase relieves sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, plus nasal congestion, which pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. and 6 is greater than 1. start your day with flonase for more complete allergy relief. flonase. this changes everything. janice, mom told me you bought a house. okay. [ buttons clicking ] [ camera shutter clicks ] so, now that you have a house, you can use homequote explorer.
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joseph kennedy, while he had left the stage, was very much a leader. he was a source of advice, strategy, and he was a sounding board. >> he was an essential support for jack kennedy, who spoke to him a lot on the phone. who jack could call at 2:00 in the morning. it was really all was there for him. >> in december of 1961 all of that disappeared. >> joe is the at the family vacation home in palm beach. >> joe kennedy goes out to play golf. he loved nothing better than to play golf. he was pretty good. especially when money was on the line. >> and on the 8th hole, he began to feel faint. he said, please take me home. >> he goes back to the house. jackie is there.
he said, i just need to rest. >> don't call any doctors. those are his last words. he then went into his room and he suffered a massive stroke. >> joseph is taken to the hospital. immediately he's put on the critical list. he's in real bad shape. he's given last rights because he might pass away. for jackie to be the one to tell jack that this has happened, it's devastating. >> jack, bobby and their sister jeanne fly from washington to be at their father's side. >> they all rush eed be with hi in the hospital. everybody is in a panic. >> joe might not live. >> joe's doctors don't think they can save him. but bobby refuses to let them
turn off his father's life support. >> bobby, i think, partly is a matter of his catholic faith was not about to do anything that was going to end his father's life. joseph kennedy survives, but the stroke takes a terrible toll. >> it was awful because he was such a vital force. we would play with him where we'd walk on the beach or go swimming. so when he had a stroke, it was shocking. >> his face was disfigured. one side of his body was useless. the worst of all he lost the power of speech. this man who never stopped talking, who was fabulously
eloquent, who could walk boo any room with anybody and command the attention of the crowd lost his voice. lost his words. lost language. >> there was always a sense that as long as joseph is at the helm, things are going to work out. joe is the architect of everything. ask. for him to be sidelined when they are finally there is such a tragedy. for that to come at the end of a mean year, that was a terrible way for john f. kennedy to end
1961. >> as jack and jackie pose tr the cameras, the mood in the white house is anything but festive. >> we know exactly what president kennedy was thinking at the end of his first year. when he was approached by an author who said i'm going to be writing a book on the first year of your presidency is, the president's response was why would anyone want to read a book about this first year. >> in 1961 the kennedys came out of the white house cocky, confident, bright. by the end of 1961 they were humiliated by cass ro and threat k. they made a lot more enemies than friends. and some of those enemies are truly dangerous. >> next on "american dynasties",
the ken dis. >> jackie smiled for the camera, but there was sadness behind that smile. he had a reckless streak. >> it's just starts destroying things. >> aggressive conduct leads to war. >> she said i would rather die with you than live without you. the american people have entrusted the power of the white house to john f. kennedy. since then there's been one political disaster after another. and jfk's troubles are far from over. scandal threatens his marriage. the struggle for civil rights engulfs the south and the world faces nuclear ie nighlation.