Study Guide

John F. Kennedy Congressman

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Upon his return to the United States, Jack was hailed as something of a war hero (in fact, Jack's bravery in the South Pacific was later immortalized in the 1963 film PT 109). After a brief stint in journalism, Kennedy shifted his attention toward politics, though he felt ambivalent about running for public office. With some heavy persuasion from his father, Jack ultimately decided to run for Congress in Massachusetts' 11th district. His slogan: "The New Generation Offers a Leader." In order to win over working-class voters, Jack campaigned vigorously, meeting with local organizations, emphasizing his military service, and appearing with his grandfather, Honey Fitz, who had represented the same congressional district forty years earlier. Joe Sr. spent upwards of $250,000 on the campaign (which today would be worth something like $2 million), hiring a public relations firm to manage Jack's image and bombard voters with pro-Kennedy billboards and mailings.blank" rel="nofollow">President Eisenhower in the 1956 election; it was probably a good thing for Kennedy not to be associated with his defeat. Moreover, Jack's bid for VP granted him greater visibility within both the Democratic Party and the nation at large. After the convention, "John F. Kennedy" was a name on many people's lips.

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