Dictabelt 06A.2

John Kennedy, Pat Brown, Jerry Brown
White House Telephone

In this telephone call, the only two men to have ever beaten Richard Nixon in elections compared notes. The call took place the day after the November 6, 1962, mid-term elections. 

Pat Brown, a Democrat, had won re-election as Governor of California, beating Republican challenger and former Vice President, Richard M. Nixon. In publicly conceding on the morning of November 7, Nixon had blamed the press for his defeat, famously declaring to gathered reporters that "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." Political commentators regarded Nixon's political career over.

Note: The audio quality of this recording is poor. Frequent skipping of the Dictabelt needle has resulted in frequent repetition and difficulty in rendering a coherent transcript.

Operator: Mr. President?

President Kennedy: Yeah.

Operator: He’s in a conference room down on the fifth floor. They’ll send for him.

President Kennedy: OK. No hurry.

Operator: [Unclear.]

President Kennedy: [Needle skips] to it in ’60. Hell, I’d gotten them all in shape, so that--[needle skips] Huh?

Pat Brown: Well, let me just tell you this—

President Kennedy: I’ll tell you this, you reduced him to the nut house.

Pat Brown: Listen, but you gave me instructions and I follow your orders [unclear].

President Kennedy: [Chuckling] I understand. But God, that last farewell speech of his . . .

Pat Brown: Wasn’t that terrible?

President Kennedy: Well, no but it shows. . . [needle skips] . . . what’s going to happen [needle skips] out there?

Pat Brown: I don’t see how he can ever recover. [Needle skips] the leaders.

President Kennedy: Yeah.

Pat Brown: [Goodwin] Knight walked out on him, [unclear: Shell] told me [needle skips]. This is a peculiar fellow. [Needle skips] I really think he’s psychotic. He’s an able man, but he’s nuts.

President Kennedy: Yeah.

Pat Brown: Like a lot of these paranoics, they’re. . . But [needle skips] good job.

President Kennedy: What did [Thomas] Kuchel win by?

Pat Brown: Kuchel won by about [needle skips] thousand. The Cuban thing really helped him. [Needle skips] flew back, why it really helped him. But we have a legislature [needle skips] out here now, 53, two-thirds majority and two-thirds in the senate. So, California [unclear] [needle skips] I’ll tell you that. We have our responsibilities that I [needle skips] too.

President Kennedy: Yeah, Yeah.

Pat Brown: But I’d like to make it kind of a model of your [needle skips] legislative program I’d like to move ahead. Why don’t you come out here and spend a couple of days during the—

President Kennedy: Well, I was thinking of coming out in December. I’ve got to go out to Los Alamos [needle skips] in December, but I’ll give you a call. [needle skips]

Pat Brown: [Unclear] fine [unclear]. Would you just do one thing for me? Would you say hello to my son Jerry [Edmund Gerald Brown, Jr.] who came back from Yale Law School and really put me over at San Francisco.

President Kennedy: Oh, good. Fine.

Pat Brown: [Needle skips] hello to him. This is my son Jerry.

Jerry Brown: Hello, Mr. President.

President Kennedy: Jerry, how are you?

Jerry Brown: Fine.

President Kennedy: I was up there campaigning in November [needle skips] those fellow [unclear]. [laughs]

Jerry Brown: [Unclear] the undergraduates [needle skips].

President Kennedy: [laughing] I see. Good.

Jerry Brown: [needle skips] you sure did.

President Kennedy: I told them that, God, [needle skips] I could only [needle skips] by less than the [needle skips].

Jerry Brown: Well, you’ll take California by ten times as much as you did [needle skips] before.

President Kennedy: Well, we’ll try. Well, listen, good luck [needle skips]. Take care. Bye, Jerry.

Jerry Brown: [needle skips] very much. Here’s my [needle skips].

Pat Brown: Well, I’ll look forward to seeing you—

President Kennedy: Are you going down to Palm Springs? [needle skips] Fine. How long are you going to stay down?

Pat Brown: I’m going to bring my staff down [needle skips] stay down for a week. Do a little plotting and we’ll see [needle skips]. But I feel wonderful, and . . .

President Kennedy: I should think you would.

Pat Brown: Well, they haven’t anything out here now.

President Kennedy: Yeah, right.

Pat Brown: But, of course now we’ll start fighting amongst ourselves and [unclear] bigger troubles.

President Kennedy: Yeah. Yeah.

Pat Brown: But—

President Kennedy: But, you got to get that [unclear] once and for all.

Pat Brown: I think so. We’ll do that at lest. We’ll do that and then we’ll move on to [needle skips] this Cuban thing. [needle skips] After that [needle skips] following week.

President Kennedy: Yeah.

Pat Brown: And much more fallout here. It didn’t make any [needle skips] at all.

President Kennedy: Yeah. I thought it might’ve—

Pat Brown: I was afraid of it, too. He got on television, you know, and said . . . He really cracked them on that. [Needle skips] paid political broadcast [needle skips] he accused them of making politics out of Cuba.

President Kennedy: Yeah.

Pat Brown: We did very badly in San Diego. We lost both of those counties by a hundred thousand votes. [Needle skips] county by a hundred thousand [needle skips] [San] Francisco, my home town, by 73. So I did all [needle skips] do in Massachusetts.

President Kennedy: Very good Pat, I’ll see you soon.

Pat Brown: Well, I certainly appreciate it.

President Kennedy: Thanks a lot, Pat.

Pat Brown: Goodbye.