NIXON, Richard M. (1913-1994). President. Original pen, ink and crayon cartoon by Bill Pause, inscribed and signed ("Richard Nixon") as Vice President TO SENATOR JOHN F. KENNEDY, also inscribed and signed to Kennedy by the cartoonist Pause, [Washington, D.C., 1960]. 14 5/8 x 10 5/8 in., some very light fingersoiling, otherwise fine.
ON THE TRAIL TO THE PRESIDENCY: NIXON TEASES HIS "FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR" KENNEDY
Bill Pause's witty cartoon depicts a perspective view down the hall in the Senate Office Building with Vice-President Nixon and Senator Kennedy peering at each other from behind their office doors. Nixon has boldly inscribed: "To my friend and neighbor Jack Kennedy With best wishes for almost everything! from Dick Nixon." Pause has inscribed: "To Sen. John Kennedy with Kindest regards Bill Pause."
In the late fifties, Vice-President Nixon and Senator Kennedy occupied offices 361 and 362, facing each other across the corridor. By this time, their opposition to each other was well established--especially given that at this time they were facing off against each other in the race for the Presidency. It was that office that then Vice President Nixon reserved for himself when he wrote "best wishes for almost everything!" In their early encounters, however, Nixon and Kennedy saw themselves "as political opponents but not political rivals" according to Nixon's recollection (quoted in Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon, New York, 2000, p.201). Nixon further defined their early relationship as being "like a pair of unmatched bookends," distinguished more by their backgrounds than by their politics. Ted Sorenson recollects: "Nixon and Kennedy had entered Congress together and were friendly... [Nixon] would occasionally look in on our office and in 1955 sent a basket of fruit to welcome the Senator's return to convalescence. Earlier, when the Democrats in the 1954 elections appeared to have regained control of the Senate by a one-vote margin, the Vice President called me in to say that he had no intention of permitting the Republicans to organize the Senate by taking advantage of Kennedy's hospitalization" (Ted Sorenson, Kennedy, New York, 1965, p.55). Kennedy, at the bidding of his conservative father, had even gone so far as to donate $1,000 to Nixon in 1950 to unseat Senator Helen Hahagan Douglas. Nixon admitted to the donation in his memoirs; it was an occasion which Kennedy later called "the biggest damnfool mistake."
Cordiality, though, eventually gave way to animosity despite Nixon's admiration for Kennedy's political gifts, to the point in the 1960 presidential election when "love would be replaced by disillusion and resentment--and something as close to hatred as is possible in one who has once loved" (Summers, p.202). Nixon grossly underestimated Kennedy's potential, as his advisor Pat Hillings recalled: "We just didn't think Kennedy was a heavyweight. We didn't think he would work that hard" (quoted in Summers, p.203). Bill Pause's cartoon appeared in The Washington Post in 1960. According to Christopher Matthews, Kennedy asked Nixon to inscribe it after he'd received it from Pause (Christopher Matthews, Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America, New York, 1996, illustration 12). Kennedy later gave it to his secretary Evelyn Lincoln.
Provenance: Evelyn Lincoln--Profiles in History, 1992.