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Monday, February 13, 2012

JFK mistress gets no love from her tale

JFK mistress gets no love from her tale
By Margery Eagan
Sunday, February 12, 2012 -
Boston Herald Columnist

Maybe America has lived through so many political sex scandals, one more fails to grab us. Mimi Alford, the latest JFK mistress to tell all, drew only 5 million viewers to her debut interview Wednesday with NBC’s Meredith Vieira. Meanwhile, 19 million tuned into “American Idol” that night and 70 million watched Barbara Walters depose Monica Lewinsky in 1999.

Or maybe we’re not as titillated by a grandmother’s confession, no matter how gorgeous Mimi Alford remains at 69.

But clearly the double standard remains. There’s one for the powerful, one for the powerless; one for the middle-aged politician, another for the teenage intern or, in Lewinsky’s case, the 22-year-old. No new revelation about the sordid womanizing of both Clinton and Kennedy seems to hurt these men’s legacies. Clinton is the most popular Democrat alive today. Lewinsky, 38, lives with struggle and ridicule. NBC on Wednesday brought out historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to assure viewers that Alford’s “Once Upon A Secret” has not sullied Camelot, though she is even more sympathetic than Lewinsky.

Alford arrived at the White House a 19-year-old virgin kissed just once — in eighth grade. In pictures taken then, she looks like a baby-faced middle-schooler in modest cardigan sweaters and pearls. She writes that JFK got her tipsy, escorted her into a White House bedroom and quickly had sex with her. Worse, he allegedly later asked her to perform sex acts on his aide Dave Powers and his brother Ted. This is uncorroborated, but Vieira, a veteran journalist, described Alford as “credible” and her name has been known by Kennedy biographers, none of whom she talked to.

Still, the trashing of Alford is well under way. It was so uncomfortable watching Barbara Walters go after her on “The View,” particularly since Walters has written an autobiography revealing her affair with a married U.S. senator of Massachusetts, Ed Brooke. And Walters was no teenager at the time but the co-host of “Today” and well into her 30s.

All but pummeled by Walters, Alford said she wrote her story now both because she did not want some other biographer to tell it for her, perhaps erroneously; and because her secret had haunted her, taking a terrible toll on her marriage, which failed, and her psyche.

Alford, while not blaming Kennedy, tries to explain how easily she fell for the most powerful man on earth. She tells of limousines fetching her at Wheaton College, of parties at Bing Crosby’s, of the thrill of being allowed so close to this glamorous world. “Being part of it — that was huge, for me,” she said. “I was special; I was taken in. When I think about it, I go back to feeling sort of — chosen ...” Then, “I’m in the bedroom, he’s so handsome, I’m 19, and I’ve had two daiquiris. ... Do I know one person who would have done differently?”

My bet: Many would do just what she did, then pay an awful price. But Clinton and Kennedy did not, and won’t, pay a price anywhere near so dear for their many, many, many transgressions
Posted at 12:14 PM ET, 02/09/2012
JFK Mistress Mimi Alford: Do you care?
By Michael Katz

(Mimi Alford in January 1963 (Courtesy of Mimi Alford)) The details of Mimi Alford’s affair with President John F. Kennedy continue to trickle out from her new book and into the news cycle.

The latest salacious tidbit from the former White House intern’s memoir is that JFK once asked her to “take care of my baby brother” Ted.

There was also the revelation that she was with the president on the final night of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

With more sordid tales sure to come, how interested are you in this story?

[More: Why it’s relevant | Why she did it | Affairs still political killer?]

Vote in our reader poll after the jump and explain yourself in the comments.

Your results
Do you care about White House intern Mimi Alford's affair with JFK?
No 62%
Yes 38%
Washington Post

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