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A historical note: If you read McCain's letter you'll see that he invokes the thwarted example of John F. Kennedy and Barry Goldwater, who planned to make joint appearances during the 1964 presidential election. As McCain notes, the plan was wrecked by JFK's assassination, but it's a mistake, albeit an honest one, to assume that it would have worked out the way McCain suggests. For all that Kennedy was interested in the idea, Goldwater wasn't yet in any position to hold up his end of the bargain. While he may have been the Republican front-runner by November 1963, he had a long primary season to get through before he claimed the nomination. Any promise Kennedy may have made to him should be seen in that light. The President might have made the commitment without necessarily believing that he'd have to live up to it, since Goldwater might have failed in the primaries, --and, as it happened, he couldn't live up to it.