Warren Rogers was a close personal friend of Robert F. Kennedy who was a frequent guest at Hickory Hill—–the home of Robert and Ethel Kennedy.
He traveled with the Senator in his bid for the Presidency in 1968, was in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles when Robert Kennedy was shot, and took him to the hospital in an ambulance with Ethel.
“When I Think of Bobby” (Harper/Collins Books) is Warren Rogers’s personal memoir of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
Q – How did you get the assignment to travel with Robert Kennedy?
A – I was working on a piece for Look Magazine with my photographer. We were doing sort of a Teddy White Inside out story—–what it was like to run for the Presidency from the inside out. Bob had agreed to that. Sort of the Kennedy Dynasty thing. But, what I didn’t tell him was that if he had lost the election we were still gonna run it in Look. So, he gave us carte-blanche and we were treated like staff. I’d been covering politics for 25-30 years up to that point, but, I had never been inside the candidate’s digs where we were after the lid went on. You know, the Press Secretary says, ‘That’s the lid. No more news out of here’. And you go downstairs and have you dinner or have a drink, or write your story, and then get ready for the 6:30 bus trip in the morning. Bags have to be in the lobby at 6:30, the bus leaves at 7, that kind if thing. That’s all you see of the candidate when he goes through the door. But Stan (the photographer) and I would go through the door with him. Then, he would make his phone calls to raise money, make phone calls to give him an endorsement—–it was fascinating! I had never seen that. He trusted us. He didn’t hold anything back. He didn’t pull any punches.
Q – Since you’ve titled this book, “When I Think Of Bobby”, you must think of him quite often. Do you have flashbacks of conversations with him?
A – Oh, sure. And, I dream about him a lot. And, he’s always talking to me. He’s giving me advice and arguing. We argued a lot. He would pick on you to see what your view was. If it was contrary to his, he would argue his. What he was doing of course was to find out if his beliefs were valid. Testing his own information and knowledge. He did that all the time. On Vietnam. He changed on Vietnam a long time before I did. We used to have these terrible arguments ‘cause I thought it was cowardly to get out. I was a big hawk. I was able to tell him at the end—–you’re right. I was wrong.
© Gary James All Rights Reserved