Controversial American talk show host Chris Matthews has just published a shocking fact about President JFK’s heartfelt, famous inaugural address --- he stole it.
According to Matthews’ book, “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero,” the speech, which was the 4th shortest in history at just 14 minutes, was taken from his headmaster George St John at the Choate School in Connecticut, which he attended as a boy in the 1930s.
The speech has long been credited to Kennedy’s official speechwriter, Theodore C Sorensen. This was the most famous of all of Sorensen’s speeches, yet Sorsensen would never take sole credit for the work; he always claimed that the speeches were a joint effort between him and the president, according to the Daily Mail. While writing his speeches, Sorensen has said (he died last year) that he “drew inspiration for the speech from the Bible, from Abraham Lincoln - and from the rousing wartime speeches of British prime minister Winston Churchill.”
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Matthews himself has a great deal of experience in the speech-writing field, as he was a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill.
Yet in his text, Matthews presents an impressive argument as to why he believes Kennedy’s speech was stolen from his headmaster. He presents two pieces of evidence to support his hypothesis: the headmaster’s typed speech notes, and questionnaires completed by JFK’s schoolmates at the time.
In St. John’s notes, Matthews discovered that he had quoted an old Harvard Dean as saying, 'As has often been said, the youth who loves his Alma Mater will always ask, not "What can she do for me?" but "What can I do for her?", drawing an obvious connection to the most famous part of Kennedy’s speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Likewise, in a questionnaire completed by one of Kennedy’s schoolmates, the ex-student wrote, “I boil every time I read or hear the "Ask not.... etc" exhortation as being original with Jack. Time and time again we all heard the headmaster say that to the whole Choate family.”
The controversial book also reveals how Kennedy’s team demanded that neither Kennedy nor Nixon wear makeup during a debate; Kennedy, however, did wear makeup, and many viewers at home were disgusted with Nixon’s profuse sweating, a reason that is said to have contributed to less people voting for him.
President John F Kennedy's famous inauguration speech: