Video Vault: Looking back at JFK visits to Cleveland

Senator/president made many visits to NE Ohio

CLEVELAND - In presidential politics, it's often said in order to win the White House, you have to win Ohio. One of our era's most charismatic leaders, John F. Kennedy, made frequent appearances to our state and city but he did not win Ohio.

I’ve picked a few selections from our archives to give a flavor of his visits to Cleveland starting with two from September, 1959.

The Massachusetts senator is testing the political landscape and is taking questions from local reporters.

“Ohio’s is an extremely important primary,” states Kennedy. He goes on to point out our state had the fourth most delegates available in 1960.  As for electoral votes that year, Ohio had 25.

Ten days later Kennedy and wife Jackie are guests at the Cuyahoga County Democratic Steer Roast held at Euclid Beach Park.

Then-mayor Anthony Celebrezze and Kennedy are the two big names to appear at the Euclid Beach function.

Kennedy, after win the 1960 election, would tap Celebrezze for a federal post dealing with equal employment opportunity in 1962.

Back to 1960 for a campaigning Kennedy, this time with then-governor Michael DiSalle. In the August 4 speech, Kennedy strikes a theme familiar to today’s contests, the economy.

Kennedy is concerned deflation is harming the country and feels the Eisenhower administration is not doing enough to help small businesses.

Kennedy won the November election but lost Ohio to Richard Nixon by 300,000 votes, 53 percent to 47 percent.

Now as president, Kennedy is set to visit Cleveland’s Public Square. It’s October 18, 1962 and the president is coming to give a speech. You won’t see the president here, only preparations.

There was no film of his visit and it must be because we here at WEWS carried the speech live. You’ll get a glimpse of our old silver remote trailer being prepped for the speech.

Finally we close sadly with a stunned Cleveland on November 22, 1963 as the area grieved at the loss of President Kennedy to an assassin’s attack. Groups of people gathered around TVs and downtown shops put pictures of JFK in their windows.

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