JFK Recordings Offer White House Secrets

Caroline Kennedy discusses her father's library's release of tapes 50-years after JFK's inauguration.
3:00 | 09/25/12

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Transcript for JFK Recordings Offer White House Secrets
Test Text1 plain We're marking the 50th anniversary of the kennedy presidency. As part of that, the jfk library is releasing secret white house recordings to eavesdrop on the biggest issues. From civil rights to vietnam. And we hear president kennedy's first meeting on the cuban missile crisis. How far advanced is this? Sir, we've never seen this kind of installation before. Not even in the soviet union? No, sir. It accompanies a new book, "listening in: The secret white house recordings of john f. Kennedy." Your father was taping after the bay of pigs crisis. What was he trying to do? He would have used it to draw on for his own memoir. I think people in the short-term, he really felt the advice he got from the military during the bay of pigs was poor. That he had been burned. He had been burned. And everybody said, they hadn't said it. He wanted it, you know, an accurate record. And to keep people honest. What's so fascinating about the tapes when you listen, these are real conversations, the shorthand, that presidents and their advisers use. And you get a chance to see a presidency at work. I think it's an incredible window. We want to be a fly in the oval office. Re, you really get this. We know what happened. When you're reading or listening to this, they don't know how it's going to turn out. You get the raw emotion of these decisions. And it's incredibly dramatic. It truly is. As you were, as a very young girl, a fly on the wall. I hope you have the picture. It shows you playing under the president's desk. And you write about in the forward about doing that. Here's a snippet when you walk in on the president. You know what? I won't let you do much. Oh, okay. But one of the things that's amazing, you can't remember that moment. But here's the president on the one moment, talking about the cuban missile crisis, boom, complete switching of gears. People with kids, keep you grounded. He felt that the cuban missile crisis, he talked about it, his obligation was to keep all of us safe. I think that probably, you know, you see him as a father. That's a wonderful balance. And you write a little bit about playing under the desk. Making little toys. Necklaces. From construction paper. That's right. Did hearing the recordings bring back anything else? Or was it just too long ago? The recordings themselves, not so much. But it's just -- it does bring it to life, that sort of being in the moment. And I didn't realize that I was being ushered out. I thou was the big moment of his day, the big moment of mine. It was. We have one other tape we want to play a snippet of. This was a dinner the president had with journalists right after he announced he was running for president. And it's a fascinating transfer. He's open about his ambitions. And the meaning of the presidency. Is being president the ultimate of everybody who goes into politics? Well, in the sense that being, I guess head of whatever organization you're in. I suppose. But the most important is the fact that this president, today, is the seat of all power. That dinner, he was very open about his vulnerability. Called himself a physical wreck at the time. I think it's so interesting because, he talks about how relatively simple the problems were. And how frustrating it was to be in the senate, where you can work so hard and something could happen and all that went for not. And the presidency was really the place you could get things done. And bring change. And it's this era that is one of tremendous change. Similar to what we have now. What he realizes, you're talking about the kind of person and the kind of judgment. That's what I want to get to. Wever going to have tapes like this again. Right. After watergate, there's no more tapes at all. This is one of the few ways that people can get a sense of how president handles things, coming to them all day long. And how many different kinds of things are coming at them allday long. Big, small, you know, how they manage to maintain their sense of balanc it's a fascinated look in. Caroline kennedy, thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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