President John F. Kennedy works in the Oval Office at the White House in this 1963 file photo.
Credits: REUTERS/JFK Presidential Library/The White House/Robert Knudsen/Handout
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in celebrated company when it comes to unloading candid pre-election comments behind closed doors.
A newly unearthed audiotape of Democrat icon John F. Kennedy -- captured in January 1960, and just days after he announced he would run for president -- could have scuttled his chances if released back then.
The unguarded remarks offered up during a dinner with wife Jacqueline and close friends when he was a Massachusetts senator include his admission he lied to the press about being sick.
In the tapes, openly recorded by friend and journalist James M. Cannon, Kennedy admitted he was trying to keep his Addison's disease, a disorder impacting the adrenal glands, out of the press.
"There's a picture that the Boston Globe ran Sunday, which had the veterans rally (in 1948) - Franklin Roosevelt (Jr.) and I, and I looked like a cadaver," Kennedy complains.
A reporter had asked him if he had Addison's disease, and Kennedy recalled: "I said no, God, a guy with Addison's disease looks sort of brown and everything."
In the tapes, he dwelled on the possibility of losing the upcoming election and having to start another career.
Cannon reportedly told the future president he was going to use the tape for a book, but he didn't disclose the inside revelations, and either did another journalist who was also at the private dinner.
During the talk, the politician who would lead Camelot said he "never, never, never" thought he could one day become president.
"I thought maybe I'd be governor of Massachusetts one day," he figured, adding that he saw himself as the "antithesis of a politician as I saw my grandfather, who was the politician."
Cannon's family handed the tapes over to the JFK Library and Museum in Boston, and the Smithsonian has now released a transcript.
As for Romney, latest polls show despite controversy over the release of his own taped comments that show him writing off Barack Obama supporters, he remains in a tight race against the president.
For luck, both might want to buy a cigar.
Online auctioneers, PFC Auctions, are putting one of Kennedy's old humidors and two of his cigars up for bids.
PFC spokesman Kylie Whitehead says there were originally 26 stogies in the personally engraved box -- which is expected to fetch over $15,000 -- but "Kennedy smoked 24 of them."