February 6, 2012


'I'd rather my children red than dead,' JFK told mistress about Cold War: book (CYNTHIA R. FAGEN, February 5, 2012, NY Post)

The president invited her for a personal tour. She got up, expecting the rest of the group to follow. They didn't. He took her to "Mrs. Kennedy's room."

"I noticed he was moving closer and closer. I could feel his breath on my neck. He put his hand on my shoulder," she recounts.

The next thing she knew, he was standing above her, looking directly into her eyes and guiding her to the edge of the bed.

"Slowly, he unbuttoned the top of my shirtdress and touched my breasts.

"Then he reached up between my legs and started to pull off my underwear.

"I finished unbuttoning my shirtdress and let it fall off my shoulders."

Kennedy pulled down his pants but, with his shirt still on, hovered above her on the bed.

He smelled of his cologne, 4711. He paused when he noticed her resisting.

"Haven't you done this before?" he asked.

"No," she said.

"Are you OK?" he asked.

"Yes," she said.

So he kept going, this time a little more gently.

"After he finished, he hitched up his pants and smiled at me" and pointed her to the bathroom.

When she was finished, he was outside in the West Sitting Hall, where their evening had begun.

"I was in shock," she writes. "He, on the other hand, was matter-of-fact, and acted as if what had just occurred was the most natural thing in the world." [...]

On one visit, Kennedy was embroiled in one of the most defining moments of his presidency, the Cuban Missile Crisis. For 13 days in October 1962, the United States and the Soviets were at a nuclear standoff.

Although historians have dissected Kennedy's actions, none was privy to what he confided to Mimi.

"I'd rather my children red than dead," he told her.

It was a chilling insight.

When the president wasn't keeping the world from descending into war, there was plenty of wild partying. One instance was a raucous Hollywood bash at Bing Crosby's desert ranch.

"I was sitting next to him in the living room when a handful of yellow capsules -- most likely amyl nitrate, commonly known as poppers -- was offered up by one of the guests. The president asked me if I wanted to try the drug, which stimulated the heart but also purportedly enhanced sex. I said no, but he just went ahead and popped the capsule and held it under my nose."

He didn't try it himself.

"This was a new sensation, and it frightened me," Mimi recalls. "I panicked and ran crying from the room."

It wasn't her first glimpse of Kennedy's dark side.

"He had been guilty of an even more callous and unforgivable episode at the White House" during a noon swim. Powers had rolled up his pants to cool his feet in the water. "The president swam over and whispered in my ear. 'Mr. Powers looks a little tense,' he said. 'Would you take care of it?'

"It was a dare, but I knew exactly what he meant. This was a challenge to give Dave Powers oral sex. I don't think the president thought I'd do it, but I'm ashamed to say that I did . . . The president silently watched."

Alford, then Mimi Beardsley, says that later the president apologized to them both.

Another time, she writes, while back at Wheaton, she thought she was pregnant and told Powers. Obviously, this could explode into scandal. Abortion was illegal in 1962. Powers put her in touch with a woman who had a contact for a doctor. In the end, it was a false alarm.

There were tender moments, too.

Kennedy, alone and grieving the death of his infant child, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, reached out for his young confidante.

"I had never seen real grief in my relatively short life," she writes.

While Jackie was still recovering in Cape Cod, Kennedy was back at the White House.

"He invited me upstairs, and we sat outside on the balcony in the soft summer evening air. There was a stack of condolence letters on the floor next to his chair, and he picked each one up and read it aloud to me. Some were from friends and others from strangers, but they were all heartfelt and deeply moving. Occasionally, tears rolling down his cheeks, he would write something on one of the letters, probably notes for a reply. But mostly he just read them and cried. I did, too."

One of their last times together was at a Boston Democratic fund-raiser. Ted Kennedy, the president's baby brother, was in the room with them.

"I could see that mischievous look come into his eye. 'Mimi, why don't you take care of my baby brother? He could stand a little relaxation.'

Posted by at February 6, 2012 6:50 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus