Executives.nBut cracks in the Kennedy image (beyond Lasky) began tonappear as early as 1964. Richard J. Whalen’s carefullynresearched biography of Joseph P. Kennedy revealed annunscrupulous manipulator, shamelessly willing to plot andnspend in order to propel a son into the White House. All ofnthe Kennedys, including JFK, were seen to be wholly undernthe influence of the Founding Father.nLiberal journalist Benjamin C. Bradlee, another Kennedyninsider and admirer, further undermined the credibilitynof the Schlesinger and Sorensen portraits of JFK with hisnConversations With Kennedy, published in 1975. Bradleendepicted a man who was exceedingly vain (he hired anwoman just to brush his hair), incredibly foul-mouthed,npetty, penurious, insensitive, spiteful, eager for salaciousngossip, and extremely manipulative. He slipped secretngovernment documents to journalists in return for favors,ngot drunk, spoke in favor of abortion, denigrated liberals,nand (along with Jackie) showed a penchant for rock ‘n’ roll.nEven the alleged brilliance was missing; the President tookn”the better part of an hour” with a foreign service officernand his son learning how to master “Ich bin ein Berliner.”nBradlee also included several somewhat veiled references tona Kennedy interest in women other than his wife.nThat same year, a leak from a Senate IntelligencenCommittee staff member led to the revelation that anbeautiful California woman, Judith Campbell Exner, hadnbeen secretly admitted to the White House on manynoccasions over an almost two-year period to carry on anromance with the President. Exner was also having affairsnwith Sam Giancana and John Roselli, Mafia figures involvednin a newly disclosed CIA plot to poison Fidel Castro.nIt was learned that when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover,nwho was aware of the plot, learned of the Kennedy-Exnerntrysts, he confronted the President directly, and the clandestinenvisits stopped. (Giancana was murdered just before henwas to testify before the Senate committee. Roselli wasnmurdered afterward.)nExner reluctantiy admitted the facts of her affair withnKennedy, noting that Evelyn Lincoln had arranged hernvisits to the White House with the assistance of DavenPowers. Her later book. My Story, written after the FBInattempted to drive her to suicide, was filled with compellingnevidence. Her frank, detailed, and generally sympatheticndescriptions of Frank Sinatra (who had introduced her tonKennedy and Giancana), the “Rat Pack,” her Mafia lovers.nWhite House staff members, and the President himselfn—attentive, aggressive, strongly contemplating divorcen—caused a storm in the press. Evidence uncovered by thenNew York Times that JFK was almost certainly aware ofnthe plot to kill Castro raised even more questions aboutnCamelot.nBefore 1975 was over New York Times columnist WilliamnSatire obtained FBI documents through the Freedom ofnInformation Act showing that Joseph P. Kennedy hadnquietiy paid a former JFK girlfriend $500,000 to drop anlawsuit against the President-elect. In San Francisco, socialitenJoan Lundberg Hitchcock gave reporters details of hernthree-year affair with JFK during the late 1950’s. Time andnNewsweek magazines ran lengthy and obviously wellresearchednarticles linking Kennedy romantically with sev­neral well-known actresses, scores of unknown youngnwomen, and two staff members code-named “Fiddle” andn”Faddle” by the Secret Service. One former New Frontiersmannwas quoted as saying of the Kennedy White House, “Itnwas a revolving door over there. A woman had to fight to getnin that line.”nIt was becoming apparent that the stories of the President’snextramarital exploits were not only true but had longnbeen widely known. Lewis H. Lapham reported:nIn New York during the thousand days, it wasnimpossible to go to dinner among the forwardnelements of society (i.e., with journalists passingnthrough town on their way from Washington tonHyannisport, with White House advisers andnBroadway directors, et cetera) without listening tonsomeone tell yet another amusing story about yetnanother actress who had discovered (much to hernwonder and surprise) that politics wasn’t always asnboring as deficit spending or Berlin.nFor all of the rhetoric about the high-mindedness of thenKennedy Administration, there had been a taboo, especiallynin liberal circles, about publicly discussing the President’snpersonal character. Only occasionally was the silence brokennby insiders. In 1977 former French Ambassador HervenAlphand published a revealing recollection of JFK innAugust 1962: “He likes pleasure and women. His desires arendifficult to satisfy without fear of a scandal which would benutilized by his political adversaries. That will happen onenday, for he does not take sufficient precautions in thisnPuritan country.”nObjective scholarship entered the picture in 1976 withnThe Search for ].F.K. by Joan and Clay Blair Jr. This superbnstudy was based upon thousands of recentiy opened documentsnfrom the Kennedy Library and more than 150 oralninterviews. The authors focused their attention upon thenyears 1935 to 1947, but the impact of their research shednlight upon the entire history of the Kennedys. For the firstntime the public could grasp the dimensions of the gapnbetween what was passing for Kennedy history and thentruth.nJFK was revealed as an extraordinarily sickly and frailnyoung man, born with an unstable back. (The Blairsndisclosed a Kennedy family cover-up about JFK’s health,nfrom his early childhood through the onset of Addison’sndisease in 1947, a cover-up perpetuated by Burns, Schlesinger,nSorensen, and the press.) His alleged education at thenLondon School of Economics and Stanford Universitynamounted to nothing. His first book. Why England Slept,nwas strongly influenced by his father and was in large part anproduct of journalist Arthur Krock. “He was certainly verynbright, but he was a ‘quick study,’ not an intellectual ornscholar.” JFK’s almost mechanical pursuit of women, fromnage 17 on, was documented fully. “He relished the chase,nthe conquest, the testing of himself, the challenge ofnnumbers and quality.”nThe Blairs completely revised JFK’s naval history, showingnwith meticulous clarity that the stories of the PT-109naccident and rescue had been grossly misrepresented. “Henwas, in effect, a ‘manufactured’ war hero.” Kennedy’snpolitical ambitions and thoughts after the war were largelynnnMAY 1986117n