In 1958, after winning reelection to his second term in the Senate, and while considering running for President in 1960, Kennedy looked at the precinct maps to see the voting patterns of ethnic and religious groups. One of his colleagues said he had never see anyone study the voting patterns that way.
He didnt like going to the bars, pool halls, etc. talking to people to convince them to vote for him. “As far as backslapping with the politicians,” he said, “I think I’d rather go somewhere with the familiars or sit alone somewhere and read a book.”
In the summer of ’37, Kennedy and a friend toured Europe. They went to France, Germany, Italy and Spain. He disliked all of the people except the Italians. Even though his father was an isolationist, he took the opportunity to form his own opinions after being in these countries and speaking to the locals himself.
John F. Kennedy doesn’t come from a long line of wealthy ancestors. His grandfathers on both sides were the first to make it big after their fathers came to American from Ireland. As only the second generation to grow up with wealth and entitlement, he and his brothers and sisters were raised with nursemaid. One passage in the book mentions how, after a boat ride, the kids all took their clothes off on the way back to the house knowing someone else would pick them up. Jack never grew out of this habit. Even in boarding school and college, his room was a mess, he would lose things and he was always running late.
The Army wanted to move a high volume of vehicles from DC to San Francisco. Ike volunteered to serve on this project. He thought it would be a great way to see the country. “The highways of 1919 ranged in quality from average to non-existent.” Many were basically dirt or gravel, so the convoy averaged 50 miles a day. They had to deal with breakdowns, getting stuck in the mud, etc. This trip is what Ike was thinking about when he created the interstate highway system when he was President.
He paid for the roads with a gas tax. He spoke about how the highways would be important for national defense, as well as personal trips and truck traffic. Ike had seen the German autobahn in action, so he made sure the highways were designed with multiple lanes and on/off ramps so traffic would move smoothly when cars exited or entered the roads.
At West Point, he suffered a football career ending knee injury. He became a cheerleader and coached the JV football team. His first position as a military officer was in San Antonio. He coached a local football team for extra money.
After leaving office and building his library, Truman convinced Congress that all “existing presidential papers should be indexed and put on microfilm.”
He wanted to tax dollars for his library, so he did all the fund raising to cover the costs of building it.
Truman completely gutted the inside of the White House. It was mostly original since 1800. Margaret’s piano almost fell through the ceiling. They got to looking at it and the whole second floor could go at any moment. They lived at Blair House during the construction. They moved back in six months before his term was up. The original thought was to remove the ouside walls, too, but he made a good call and said no. Mainly because he wanted it done faster, but it wouldn’t have been good for the world to see the white house demolished and rebuilt. This way, nobody could see what was happening.
There were so many things going on in the world in the early 1940s. The Japanese planned the Pearl Harbor attack for a year. I can see how FDR would pay more attention to Hitler and not think Japan was as big of an issues. Most of his people felt the same way. It had to be devastating.