It was during this critical 1958 campaign that Jack discovered perhaps his best-kept secret political weapon in Jackie Kennedy. Kenny O’Donnell had seen little of Jackie since Helen’s party for her at the Parker House in Boston and the wedding in Newport. When Helen would ask him about some article or puff piece on Jack and Jackie or the birth of their daughter, Kenny would glaze over or run for the door.
Kenny liked Jackie well enough. She seemed fine as far he knew. She just didn’t talk politics, and so Kenny had no need to spend a lot time chatting with her on the rare occasions when their paths crossed. He would not have known what to talk to her about anyway. Kenny was comfortable with someone like his wife Helen: charming and attractive but also able to talk Harvard football and poll results in Ward 6 in Boston, and able to throw a hell of a good pass just in time to beat Bobby and Ethel during a game of pick-up at Hyannis Port.
Jackie, as Kenny was about to find out, was an entirely different creature. Like Kenny, she did not give a damn what other people thought of her or her actions. She did what she wanted, a trait that both Jack and Kenny would alternately admire and, especially during the White House years, find maddening.