Sunday, May 01, 2016
At 8:31pm on Friday, November 4th, 1960, four days before America went
to the polls, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley pushed (and crowd engineer
Andy Frain pulled) presidential candidate John F. Kennedy through a crowd
of 30,000 that filled the old Chicago Stadium to the rafters. The Mayor,
occasionally glancing at his watch, wanted JFK on the podium and speaking
as quickly as possible. Why the hurry? Because the Cook County Democratic
Committee, of which the Mayor was the Chairman, had bought a half-hour
of network television time on NBC to broadcast Kennedy's Chicago speech
to the nation. And the meter was already running.
Never before had a local political organization purchased network television time on behalf of a presidential candidate. But the pollsters and pundits said the race between JFK and Richard Nixon was too close to call. And Mayor Daley was determined to push Kennedy over the top---even if it meant digging deeply into the party coffers.
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