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JFK thought Jackie's skirt was 'too short'

We're hearing more of the recordings of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, including one about JFK's view on her wardrobe.

September 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
In just-released recordings, Jacqueline Kennedy reveals President John F. Kennedy's view on the Lincoln assassination and what her husband really thought of her taste in fashion.

First lady and fashion icon Kennedy's hairstyle and couture made headlines. But what did her husband think of them?

"All these letters about my skirt's too short, and I said, 'But they're not too short,' and he said 'Oh, I guess you're right,'" she said. "But you know, he never said, 'Lengthen them.' He was never going to ask me to change, which I just think was so nice about him."

Kennedy's respect and admiration for her husband is obvious throughout the tapes. At the time she made them, she felt women were too emotional to run for politics.

"I remember I said it in an interview once, and we got all these irate letters, 'Where do get all your opinions from?' I get them from my husband. His were going to be the best," she said.

Kennedy revealed in the tapes that she was intimidated because she'd never been a natural in politics and disliked campaigning. She spent a lot of time worrying if life in the White House would ruin her marriage.

"I was always a liability to him, everyone thought I was a snob from Newport who had a bouffant and French clothes and hated politics," she said. "He'd get so upset for me when something like that came out. I'm sorry for you that I'm such a dud. He knew I loved him and did everything I could."

But to the astonishment of the Kennedy family, the woman who thought she was a liability became the biggest political asset of all.

Jacqueline, as she called herself, shared these memories and more in a series of conversations recorded in 1964. They were recently compiled into a book by her daughter, Caroline, as featured in an exclusive by ABC's Diane Sawyer.

"All these years we said Jackie this and Jackie that, and Jacqueline, that is the way she pronounced her name. That's what she would say," Sawyer told Eyewitness News anchor Phillip Palmer.

In one of her more painful memories, Kennedy recalls a conversation with her husband about Abraham Lincoln's legacy.

"Would Lincoln have been as great a president if he'd lived? He said that was his question," she said. "Was it better for Lincoln that he died when he did? And then I remember Jack saying after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when it all turned so fantastically, he said, 'Well, if anyone's ever going to shoot me, this would be the day.'"

The full audio tapes and book "Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy," will be released in stores Wednesday.

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