The JFK Tapes: Secret Oval Office Recordings

Exclusive: Caroline Kennedy tells Diane Sawyer what she learned from her father, the president.
3:00 | 09/25/12

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for The JFK Tapes: Secret Oval Office Recordings
News now from the time capsule. WE STEP BACK TO 1960s. John f. Kennedy is president and tonight, we learn that he had secretly installed microphones in the oval office controlled only by him recording over 200 hours behind closed doors. From national crises to tender family moments including ones with his daughter caroline who talked with abc's diane sawyer about the father she holds dear. Reporter: You were there inside a presidential life. 265 hours of secret audiotapes. And listening to them all these years later a little girl all grown up who remembers the serious voices around her as she made paper clip necklaces in her favorite play house. I remember clearly being under the desk and trying to get candy from the grown ups around. Obviously our dream was to be allowed into the office to see him. I used to go before school or walk over before school. Reporter: Caroline kennedy said it's wonderful to hear him laughing when she walks in demanding attention. I'll see you later. I won't let you do much. That sound is little john, pounding under the desk no idea he's hitting a microphone. His father, relaxed. Seeing him at work and seeing him in the present, in a way was like being in his company while you're listening. I think that was really wonderful feeling for "m." What you hear on the tape is a man impoply calm in crisis. He discovered the soviets placed nuclear missiles inside cuba aimed at the u.S. In other words you're in a pretty bad fix. You're in there with me. Reporter: However calm and steady in the cuban missile crisis he could unleash irritation on small things. Here the defense department official spent a lot of money on furniture for a president mrs. Kennedy if she went into labor and he's fur use. I want to find out who paid for it and I want that fellow competent. I won't have him running a cathouse. Reporter: In another point he noticeds u.S. Hockey team got shellacked by the sweeds? Who are we sending over there, girls? Nowhere are the tapes more revealing than the secret witness to the struggle for civil rights. The great moral issue tearing the country apart. The worst city in the south have done nothing for the negr Reporter: After a young man, named james meredith creates a crisis by enrolling in the all-white university of mississippi. James meredith was inspired by my father's address. And ziepd r decided he wanted to enroll in mississippi. Reporter: This was as the governor of mississippi wanted to eject meredith into an angry mop? Why don't you remove him? How can I remove him if there's a riot in the street. Barnett is pushing for him to cave. It's really an incredibly tense standoff between the two of them. Kennedy spent the national guard and jamesedith became the first black graduate of ole miss. Outside the riots, flames, and darkness settling in. It is his last november, the president sounds exhausted. Politically the noise sounds disturbing. A little boy climbs into his lap. Why do the leaves fall? Where do we go to the cape? To hyannis port? Because it's summer. Reporter: Days before he's assassinated -- TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12th. Reporter: The last words on the last tape are about the hard battle ahead. Our lot becomes more difficult. Our lot becomes more difficult. And that's it. I love that. I think that's really -- i thought it was really moving and obviously knowing what happened, he understood how difficult all of this really was. John kennedy once told his friends life is a struggle. And to be struggle is to struggle in a tremendous sort of arena. That's what the presidency is. That's great. You're hopefully making things better. I think that's the most rewarding life you could have. I think he did that. Listening in the secret white house recordings of john f. Kennedy is in book stores tomorrow. Caroline kennedy will talk to them in the morning. Our thanks to diane.

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

{"duration":"3:00","description":"Exclusive: Caroline Kennedy tells Diane Sawyer what she learned from her father, the president.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Nightline","id":"17316029","title":"The JFK Tapes: Secret Oval Office Recordings","url":"/Nightline/video/jfk-tapes-secret-oval-office-recordings-17316029"}