Jan. 20, 1963 - The optimistic tone of the President’s State of the Union message was in part a political necessity, but there is little doubt that the John F. Kennedy of today is a more confident man, a surer-handed executive, and a more forceful leader than the young Senator who bounced into office in 1961. He is, in fact, at last the President of the United States. In 1962, he faced the challenge of big steel, the bigots of Ole Miss, the missiles of Khrushchev, and the voters in an election in which he went out of his way to make himself and his program the overriding issues. Coming off as well as he did could not help but deepen his sense of his own capability. Of one thing, no one in Washington has any doubt. Mr. Kennedy will run again. History, in one way, will be on his side since only Herbert Hoover and William Howard Taft have failed to be re-elected in this century, when it was sought. Mr. Kennedy’s own historical reading tells him, however, that only Franklin D. Roosevelt, among Democratic Presidents since the Civil War, was re-elected easily or with a great majority. White House aides and the President himself are planning now for a campaign against Gov. Nelson Rockefeller of New York. In the coming months, that could change, like Mr. Kennedy’s rosy prospects. As of January 1963, however, a virtually unanimous opinion of Washington’s political expert class is that it will be Kennedy vs. Rockefeller in 1964 — and then Kennedy for 4 more years.
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