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Kentucky Politics: John Sherman Cooper: Friendship with JFK

Activity Questions

Listen to the featured interview and write down some of the keywords or topics discussed.

What does the friendship between JFK and Cooper tell you about American politics in the 1960s?

List some of the political similarities and differences between JFK and Cooper.

Featured Interview

In this interview, Sen. Stuart Symington discusses how Cooper, JFK, and their wives formed a friendship through politics. Symington also talks of Cooper's close collaboration with JFK on the Senate Labor Committee.

Cooper formed a close friendship with JFK while they were serving in the Senate together. The two remained friends in spite of being from different political parties and were often spotted together in the Washington D.C. social scene. Cooper and his wife were the first guests of President and First Lady Kennedy when they had dinner together at the Cooper residence in January of 1961.

Please click on the segment at 47:21 (Cooper and John F. Kennedy).

Friends Despite Partisan Differences

Cooper sitting at his dinner table with John F. Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy and his wife Lorraine at the Cooper residence in Georgetown, District of ColumbiaCooper in a tuxedo standing next to his wife Lorraine and John F. Kennedy 

The Kennedys having dinner at Cooper's Georgetown, D.C. townhouse                                      Cooper with his wife Lorraine and JFK   

Lucke, J. (2016 November 4). ‚ÄčCould McConnell have saved GOP with less polarization? Lexington Herald-Leader. https://www.kentucky.com/opinion/op-ed/article112646168.html

University of Kentucky Department of History. (2013, November 21). UK home to oral history on John Sherman Cooper, JFK friendship. https://history.as.uky.edu/uk-home-oral-history-john-sherman-cooper-jfk-friendship