Kennedy: The Right Man for His Time John Kennedy was the perfect presidential candidate for his time. Young and active, he presented a stark contrast to the older, increasingly frail Eisenhower. A Harvard-educated war hero, he represented intellectual rigor as well as personal courage—the right combination for steering America toward renewed international leadership. An eloquent speaker and an astute analyst of the national mood, he articulated a vision that took direct aim at American fears that aging leadership had left America vulnerable and soft. “Let the word go forth . . . that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans,” he declared in his inaugural address. And to those who feared that material self-indulgence was stifling the American spirit he issued a call for personal sacrifice: “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” 13 In office, Kennedy consciously cultivated the people’s expectations for his presidency. He placed
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