Passing the Torch

by Peter Robinson

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Time Mmgazine editors Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs reveal how Eisenhower counseled the young but inexperienced John Kennedy through the most serious crisis of his presidency. 

“When you get into the job, particularly at the start, you have three reactions. The first is, oh boy – I’ve been set up. The second is, maybe the guy before me wasn’t so wrong after all? And the third reaction is, who am I going to talk to about this? Who else can understand it? And so when Kennedy reaches out to Ike at that key moment in the Cuban Missile Crisis, we see something that takes place again and again and again over the next forty and fifty years where a sitting president will say, my advisors, good as they are, haven’t sat in this chair. I need somebody who has to talk to.”

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