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JFK: Civil Rights Could Hurt Reelection Chances

Sept. 2, 1963 - President Kennedy admitted today that the civil rights situation will be an important subject in the 1964 Presidential campaign and that that could hurt his election chances. But he added that the Government, both political parties, and the mass of public opinion in the U.S. are in favor of making progress on civil rights. Mr. Kennedy, speaking in an interview with Walter Cronkite on CBS-TV, said he lost some Southern states in 1960 and probably would lose more in 1964 because of his strong civil rights stand. “I am not sure that I am the most popular political figure in the country today in the South, but that is all right,” the President said. “We will have to wait to see a year and a half from now — a year from now. It is not that long.” When asked if he had anyone he would like to run against, the President said, “No. That is a great mistake. I know some Republicans chose me in ’60 as their favorite candidate. So, I will let them choose.”


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