By Bill Press
Tribune Media Services
Here’s a good idea. Let’s say you’re a former senator. You’re running for president of the United States. You want to appeal to blue-collar, middle-class voters.
So what do you do? You attack President John F. Kennedy! Not only that. You assert, and repeat, that JFK’s 1960 speech to Baptist ministers made you want to “throw up.” If that’s not the dumbest move made by any presidential candidate ever, I don’t know what is. Welcome to the latest outrage from Rick Santorum.
Smearing Kennedy was bad enough. Despite his flaws, he’s still one of our most revered presidents. In the latest CNN poll (January 2011), 85 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the presidency — making him the most admired former president of the last half-century. Bill Clinton’s in second place. Ronald Reagan ranks third.