John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks at the White House Correspondents and News Photographers Associations Dinner

April 27, 1962

Mr. President, Prime Minister, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Chief Justice, ladies and gentlemen:
I have a few opening announcements. First, the sudden and arbitrary action of the officers of this organization in increasing the price of dinner tickets by $2.50 over last year constitutes a wholly unjustifiable defiance of the public interest. If this increase is not rescinded but is imitated by the grid-iron, radio, TV, and other dinners, it will have a serious impact on the entire economy of this city !

In this serious hour in our Nation's history, when newsmen are awakened in the middle of the night to be given a front page story, when expense accounts are being scrutinized by the Congress, when correspondents are required to leave their families for long and lonely weekends at Palm Beach, the American people will find it hard to accept this ruthless decision made by a tiny handful of executives whose only interest is the pursuit of pleasure! I am hopeful that the Women's Press Club will not join this price rise and will thereby force a recession.

I want to congratulate the new officers of the White House Press Correspondents, the old one, Bill Knighton, and Bob Roth. But I must say that I am intrigued by the selection of the photographers. Last year when I came here, the president was frank Cancellare. And this year it was Arthur Lodovichetti. Next year is Del Vecchio. I do not want to suggest anything, but I do understand that there was a meeting in upstate New York last night and that next year's president is going to be one of the Muto boys!

I'm sure I speak in behalf of all of us in expressing our thanks and very best wishes to Benny Goodman and his group, Miss Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse, Miss Sally Ann Howes, Mr. Reid--who has some talent--and Mr. Peter Sellers. I have arranged for them to appear next week on the United States Steel Hour! Actually I didn't do it; Bobby did it!

Like members of Congress, I have been, during the last few days over the Easter holidays, back in touch with my constituents and seeing how they felt. And, frankly, I've come back to Washington from Palm Beach and I'm against my entire program! I really feel that the only hope in '64 is to-on the Republican ticket--is to nominate Barry! But to be honest, I thought that before I went to Palm Beach.

We are glad to have the Prime Minister tonight. Last night he was the guest of the publishers, and again he is tonight. We want him to know how welcome he is. Lord Dunsany, a distinguished Irishman, said many years ago, "To fight England is to fight faith." And I choose to believe in 1962 to be associated with England in a great cause is to be associated with faith.

Prime Minister, we are proud to have you here again. [Applause] And I think I speak on his behalf in saying that after having been in the hands of 1400 members of the press for over 4 hours, we haven't got a single complaint!
Thank you.

Note: The President spoke in the main ballroom at the Sheraton-Park Hotel in Washington. In his opening words he referred to William H. Y. Knighton, Jr., outgoing president of the White House Correspondents Association, who presided at the dinner; Prime Minister Harold Macmillan; Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson; and Chief Justice Earl Warren.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks at the White House Correspondents and News Photographers Associations Dinner Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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