The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960

By Shaun A. Casey | Go to book overview

8
THE ENDGAME

Coming off the Houston speech, the Kennedy campaign was in good spirits. The speech had created a sense of hope and momentum on the heels of the offensive launched by the Peale meeting.

Yet the staffers faced a massive force of grassroots anti-Catholicism that was just beginning to flex its muscles. Aided and abetted by the Nixon campaign, a spasm of anti-Catholic literature was soaking the country to an extent not seen before or since. The decentralized engines of Protestant bigotry were ramping up for the fall election, and an astonishing array of co-belligerents was plotting Kennedy’s defeat. It would be one of the last pan-Protestant moments of cooperation in American history. One thing that could still unite liberal, moderate, evangelical, and fundamentalist Protestants in 1960 was their common foe, the Roman Catholic church.

The sheer size of the effort was extraordinary. Sorensen claimed that over 300 different anti-Catholic tracts were distributed to over 20 million homes along with countless mailings and radio and television broadcasts. He put a price tag of several hundred thousand dollars on the effort.1 While he had evidence from the Peale meeting that the Nixon campaign was behind some of this, he never directly accused it. It is impossible to determine precisely how much of this effort bubbled up from the Protestant world itself and how much was generated, bought, and paid for by the campaign.

The Fair Campaign Practices Committee, in collaboration with the Democratic National Committee, collected and monitored

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The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1- The Ghost of Al Smith 3
  • 2- The Lay of the Land 30
  • 3- First Skirmishes 52
  • 4- Preparing for Battle 81
  • 5- Mobilizing the Troops 101
  • 6- Guerrilla Warfare 123
  • 7- A Lion in a Den of Daniels 151
  • 8- The Endgame 177
  • Epilogue 200
  • Notes 207
  • Index 235
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