Tip O’Neill: Who Killed JFK?

 

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Excerpt from Tip O’Neill’s 1987, Man of the House:

“It was such a sad day that it seemed like the whole world had come apart.

I was never one of those people who had doubts or suspicions about the Warren Commission’s report on the president’s death. But five years after Jack died, I was having dinner with Kenny O’Donnell and a few other people at Jimmy’s Harborside Restaurant in Boston, and we got to talking about the assassination.

I was surprised to hear O’Donnell say that he was sure he had heard two shots that came from behind the fence.

‘That’s no what you told the Warren Commission,’ I said.

‘You’re right,’ he replied. ‘I told the FBI what I had heard, but they said it couldn’t have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to. I just didn’t want to stir up any more pain and trouble for the family.’

‘I can’t believe it,’ I said. ‘I wouldn’t have done that in a million years. I would have told the truth.’

‘Tip, you have to understand. The family — everybody wanted this thing behind them.’

Dave Powers was with us at dinner that night, and his recollection of the shots was the same as O’Donnell’s. Kenny O’Donnell is no longer alive, but during the writing of this book I checked with Dave Powers. As they say in the news business, he stands by his story.

And so there will always be some skepticism in my mind about the cause of Jack’s death. I used to think that the only people who doubted the conclusions of the Warren Commission were crackpots. Now, however, I’m not so sure.

But I’d rather focus on Jack’s life. He really did have the charisma, the glamour, and the talent that has become part of his legend. He had a radiance that made people glow when they were in his company. He brought to all sectors of the American public a new feeling that they were wanted, that there was a place in America for them — regardless of religion or race. And perhaps most important, when Jack Kennedy was president, people had trust in their government. I look forward to the day when that will once again be true.”

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