If Kennedy Lived: Imagining a Different Fate for JFK (and Johnson) 50 Years Later

Historian Jeff Greenfield speculates on how history may have changed had Kennedy not died.
3:00 | 11/19/13

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Transcript for If Kennedy Lived: Imagining a Different Fate for JFK (and Johnson) 50 Years Later
-- the fine print I'm Jeff Sony today and joined by Jeff Greenfield author of the fascinating new book if Kennedy lived. Taking a look at what would have become of president Kennedy's two terms had -- not been assassinated that day in Dallas. Jeff thanks for joining us that you -- to an alternative history if it had been raining in Dallas on that morning. Whose -- in Dallas on November 22 Justice Kennedy was -- into Dallas the skies cleared. And Secret Service knowing that Kennedy wanted to be seen by the crafts and Jackie as well. Wanted to make the point he was politically popular in this critical state for the next election. The psychiatrist had OK the -- up let's take the bubble -- off. If the weather forecasters have been right on the rain -- stated in the bubble puppet state. Even what people approve my argument is it wouldn't have much more difficult for -- to fiery fatal shot so in my altered history to shop -- Kennedy. Doesn't kill -- -- he survives he goes back to Washington he recuperates. Now -- Now what changes and the answers or. Many things shouldn't. And one of those things that to you -- that -- would change was LBJ that he would not have remained on the ticket the moment John Kennedy was shot quite literally. Life magazine and a very important medium -- -- was launching a huge investigation into how this public servant. Had accumulated a fourteen million dollar net worth -- the answer wasn't pretty have to do would. Radio and TV licenses and an -- something close to extortion. The senate committee was it was finding credible evidence that he had personally taking kickbacks in the form of luxury home furnishings from -- an insurance policy. None of that happened. Once president Kennedy was dead because it was have been too much of a shock to the system -- and -- points have been. -- -- taken away by what you described as a reckless private life one of the real. What -- uses would that have become public it almost became public in the weeks before Dallas -- reporters looking around. Because the -- who spoke of Kennedy's private life including having a mistress who was also the mistress of a mafia boss. -- with a woman who was suspected east German intelligence Haitian -- and exercised literary license and suggest. That -- it had been threatened with exposure of the Kennedys would have used every. How -- they held fair and fell. Look at what the Kennedys did when the steel companies in 1960 to raise their prices was considered a betrayal Kennedy forty had a promise that they would keep the prices low. Robert Kennedy used to power the Justice Department in ways that were clearly abuse. Looking -- tax returns threatening the exposure of executives private lives they did that the stuff the steel -- like what what they have done to try to preserve the presidency. People say we'll look at Clinton -- 1990s. And mid 1960s. Or not the same country are having knowledge. Wrongdoing -- -- causing pain in my marriage could you mentioned John and Jacqueline Kennedy going to Walter Cronkite and the president Kennedy's and of course paying them emerge. Third you know in the sixties. Our government know. That she may have confronted John Kennedy Wii is so hard realities of what she's been living through -- years. But 68 the women's movement was beginning to take shape in May be -- Jackie Kennedy. Might have looked for a different kind of life. At the end of the term you say that the president Kennedy would have ended or not escalated the Vietnam War -- suggest that an infamous hot when he was. If you look at the speeches in 1960 and even some of the -- You could make this case the problem that -- kind of ignores what happened in the -- his life. This was a changed man and the Cuban missile crisis -- the -- nuclear catastrophe I think changed. This was a very cautious man. As -- present despite the bold rhetoric. I'm -- he would have carefully politically cautiously backed out of Vietnam as the country marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination. You think the fascination lives on for generations to come over president Kennedy I would. Assumed that we're entering the -- because at some point -- all of us leave the stage. On the other hand when you look back in -- you'll all these images from -- struck. By how powerful. An image this was of him of the oldest -- the president Eisenhower. And a fairly housewife free First Lady replaced by this -- -- vigor and he 31 year old firstly. That's sheer. Presence of two people like that. As the -- as the president at that moment when that generation was assuming power. -- may have a continuing fascination. Jeff thank you very much thank you. That's all for this edition of the fine print for ABC news and Yahoo! News I'm Jeff felony you can follow me on weeklong on Twitter -- just selling.

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

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