Robert F. Kennedy
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Quotes for
Robert F. Kennedy (Character)
from "The Kennedys" (2011)

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Thirteen Days (2000)
Robert Kennedy: We gave up so much to get here... I don't know; sometimes I think, "What the hell did we do it for?"
Kenny O'Donnell: Well, I don't know about you, but... I'm in it for the money.

President Kennedy: Well, who the hell authorized this missile test?
Robert Kennedy: Who do you think? God knows what this is gonna communicate to the Soviets!
Kenny O'Donnell: Communicate with the Soviets? We can't communicate with the Pentagon - and it's just across the goddamn river!

Robert Kennedy: By the way, China invaded India today.
Kenny O'Donnell: You're kidding, aren't you?
Robert Kennedy: Yeah, I wish I were. Galbraith is handling it in New Delhi. Makes you wonder what's coming next.
Kenny O'Donnell: Geez. What is it about the free world that pisses the rest of the world off?
Robert Kennedy: I don't know. We have Tupperware parties.

Kenny O'Donnell: The point is, you trade our missiles in Turkey for theirs in Cuba, they're gonna force us into trade after trade, until finally, a couple of months from now they demand something we won't trade, like Berlin, and we do end up in a war. Not to mention that long before that happens this administration will be politically dead.
Robert Kennedy: I don't care if this administration ends up in the freaking toilet! We don't do a deal tonight there won't be any administration.

Robert F. Kennedy: Jack, I'm as conniving as they come, but a sneak attack is just wrong.
Kenny O'Donnell: Listen, things are happening too fast - I mean, this is starting to smell like the Bay of Pigs all over again.
President Kennedy: Well, tonight, listening to Taylor and Acheson, I kept seeing Lemnitzer and Dulles, telling me all I had to do was sign on the dotted line, and the invasion would succeed, and Castro -
[pauses in a wave of pain and sits down]
President Kennedy: - and Castro would be gone, just, easy, just like that.

Robert F. Kennedy: We've got a bunch of smart guys. We lock 'em in a room and kick 'em in the ass until they come up with some solutions... I'll do it.

Robert F. Kennedy: You know, I - I hate being called the brilliant one, the ruthless one, the guy everybody's afraid of. I hate it. I'm not so smart, you know? I'm not so ruthless.
Kenny O'Donnell: Well you're right... about the smart part.

Journalist: So... tell me about this military exercise that's going on down in Puerto Rico.
Kenny O'Donnell: [sharply] What?
Journalist: It's called "ORTSAC", I believe. "Castro" spelled backwards.
Kenny O'Donnell: "ORTSAC"? I... I don't know what you're talking about.
Robert F. Kennedy: Me either. Why?
Journalist: Because maybe the President and Gromyko are gonna talk about it.
Kenny O'Donnell: If you're trying to drum something up, Johnny, forget it. This meeting's been on the books for months. Far as I know, it's just a friendly talk on U.S.-Soviet relations.
[Johnny the Journalist nods and walks away. On a pad, Bobby writes the word "ORTSAC"]
Kenny O'Donnell: ... Does it?
Robert F. Kennedy: [writes "CASTRO" underneath it] Mm-hm.
Kenny O'Donnell: I'll be damned.
[scoffs]
Kenny O'Donnell: Kind of simple for the Pentagon.

Robert Kennedy: No, no, no! Now, there is more than one option here - and if one isn't occurring to us, it's because we haven't thought hard enough!
John McCone, CIA Director: Bobby, sometimes there is only one right choice, and you thank God when it's so clear.
Robert Kennedy: You're talking about a sneak attack. How will that make us look? A big country blasting a little one into the stone age. Yeah, we'll be everyone's favorites.
Dean Acheson: Come on Bobby, that's naive. This is the real world. You know that better than anybody.
John McCone, CIA Director: And you weren't so ethically particular when we were talking about options for removing Castro over at CIA.

Robert Kennedy: I don't care how crazy, inadequate or stupid it sounds. Give it to me.

President Kennedy: [addressing the NPIC photograph analyst] Okay - let's have it.
NPIC Photo Interpreter: Gentlemen, as most of you now know, a U-2 over Cuba Sunday morning took a series of disturbing photographs. Our analysis at NPIC indicates that the Soviet Union has followed up its conventional weapons build-up in Cuba with the introduction of surface-to-surface, medium-range ballistic missiles, or MRBMs. Our official estimate at this time is that the missile system is the SS-4 'Sandal'. We do not believe that the missiles are as yet operational. Iron Bark reports that the SS-4 can deliver a 3-megaton nuclear weapon 1,000 miles. So far we've identified 32 missiles serviced by about 3400 men, undoubtedly all Soviet personnel. Our cities and military installations in the southeast as far north as Washington, D.C., are in range of these weapons, and in the evnt of a launch would have only five minutes of warning.
General Marshall Carter: Five minutes, gentlemen.
Gen. Max Taylor: In those five minutes, they could kill 80 million Americans - and destroy a significant percentage of our bomber bases, degrading our retaliatory options. The Joint Chiefs' consensus, Mr. President, is that this signals a major doctrinal shift in Soviet thinking - to a first-strike policy. It is a massively destabilizing move.
Robert Kennedy: How long until they're operational?
NPIC Photo Interpreter: General Taylor can answer that question better than I can.
Gen. Max Taylor: GMAC - Guided Missiles Intelligence Committee - estimates 10-14 days. A crash program could limit that time. However, I must stress that there may be more missiles - that we don't know about. We need more U-2 coverage.
President Kennedy: Gentlemen, I want first reactions here. Assuming for the moment that Khruschev has not gone off the deep end - and intends to start World War III - what are we looking at?
Dean Rusk: Mr. President, I believe my team is in agreement. If we permit the introduction of nuclear missiles to a Soviet satellite nation in our hemisphere, the diplomatic consequnces will be too terrible to contemplate. The Russians are trying to show the world they can do whatever they want, wherever they want, and we're powerless to stop them. If they succeed...
Robert Kennedy: It'll be Munich all over again.
Dean Rusk: Yes. Appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive. And the Soviets will be emboldened to push us even harder. Now we must remove the missiles one way or another. Now it seems to me the options are either some combination of international pressure & action on our part, til they give in - or - we hit them. An air strike.

Robert Kennedy: At this moment the president is accepting the terms of Secretary Kruschev's letter of Friday night: If the Soviet Union halts construction immediately, removes the missiles, and submits to UN inspection, the United States will pledge to never invade Cuba, or aid others in that enterprise.
Dobrynin: If your Jupiter missiles in Turkey were removed also, such an accommodation could be reached.
Robert Kennedy: That's not possible. The United States cannot agree to such terms under threat. Any belief to the contrary was in error.
Dobrynin: You want war?

Robert Kennedy: [about evacuation plans for their family in the event of a missile attack] They're being issued identity cards. When the call comes, the evacuation officers meet them at pre-arranged departure areas. They go by helicopter to Mount Weather; we meet them there... Of course, that's for morale. Missiles only take five minutes to get here.

President Kennedy: You know they think I froze in there.
Robert Kennedy: You didn't freeze.
Kenny O'Donnell: You did exactly what you should've done - you stayed out of the corner. You didn't decide.

Robert McNamara: A quarantine prevents any more missiles from reaching Cuba, but it doesn't remove the missiles already there; it gives the Soviets a chance to pull back without a war. If they refuse to remove the missiles, we retain the option to strike and invade.
Robert Kennedy: A sneak attack would be counter to what the United States stands for. It leaves us no room to maneuver, and the inevitable Soviet response would force us into a war.

Robert Kennedy: [the military has gone to DEFCON 2 without the president's approval] Rescind the order! Can all the chiefs! Put Nitze, Gilpatric, and the undersecretaries in charge.
Kenny O'Donnell: We can't do that, Bobby.
Robert Kennedy: Yes, we can!
Kenny O'Donnell: We can't fire the chiefs, Bobby! Our invasion talk would look like a bluff - or even worse, that there's been an attempted coup.

Kenny O'Donnell: Adlai can handle Zorin. He knows the inning; he knows the score.
Robert Kennedy: He better, because nobody believes he's up to this - nobody.

President Kennedy: [Responding to a possible back-channel Soviet proffer] So they'll remove the missiles, and we'll pledge not to invade Cuba or destabilize Castro, or assist anyone who plans on doing so.
Robert Kennedy: I think this may be our first real message from Khruschev.

Robert Kennedy: [Scali has relayed a possible Soviet proffer] Oh, by the way, Scali, your activities now fall under the secrecy codicils of the National Security Act.
Kenny O'Donnell: Sorry, John - no Pulitzer.

Robert Kennedy: [Kenny and Bobby arrive at the USSR embassy] You smell that?
Kenny O'Donnell: They're burning their documents.
Robert Kennedy: They think we're going to war... God help us, Ken.


Hoffa (1992)
Robert Kennedy: If James R. Hoffa is acquitted, I will, uh, jump from the top of the Capital Dome.

Jimmy Hoffa: [Cut to conversation with Robert Kennedy] ... and fuck you, too! Guy need his brother elected fuckin' President of the United States to get a job. You're a joke. You woulda been a bond salesman somewheres. You're the brother-in-law they make jokes about.
Robert Kennedy: I don't know what you're trying to prove, but you're proving it... you're proving it, Hoffa.
Jimmy Hoffa: I'm provin' what? You got nothin' on me. You got a TV show.
Robert Kennedy: The Justice Department has plenty on you, Mr. Hoffa.
Jimmy Hoffa: You don't impress me, and your office don't impress me, and your family don't impress me. Bunch of rumrunners. And I don't need 300 million dollars and my brother elected President to whop your fuckin' ass, you slimy little prick! I beat your ass, that trumped-up charge down south, I'm gonna beat you again! There is no organized crime, the Teamsters...
Robert Kennedy: [Interupting Hoffa] I am gonna see you in jail, Mr. Hoffa! In jail!
Jimmy Hoffa: For what? What did I fuckin' do?
Government Attorney: Your loans, Mr. Hoffa. Your loans, for one thing.
Jo Hoffa: The pension fund... the pension fund has the best record in the country on loans.
Robert Kennedy: Aw, bullshit!
Jimmy Hoffa: Best record in the country!
Robert Kennedy: Bullshit!
Jimmy Hoffa: For the working man! You ever heard of work? You know what work is?
Robert Kennedy: [Speaks to government attorney, then back to Hoffa] Look, I want this man in jail, and I'm not going to stop until I see you behind bars!
Jimmy Hoffa: Who in the fuck are you? Who the fuck are you? Fuck you, and fuck your threats, and fuck your brother!
Robert Kennedy: [Leaps out of his chair] What did you say?
Jimmy Hoffa: [as he leaves room and slams door] You heard me!
Robert Kennedy: [Walks towards door] What the fuck did you say?
Robert Kennedy: [Yelling towards closed door] I don't succumb to pressure, and I don't succumb to threats!


Blood Feud (1983) (TV)
Robert F. Kennedy: You - go to jail!
James Riddle 'Jimmy' Hoffa: Yeah?
Robert F. Kennedy: [pointing to himself] And this is the face that's going to put you there.


Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot (2001) (TV)
Robert F. Kennedy: He'll never have me as Vice President. If he had to choose between me or Ho Chi Mihn as his running mate, he'd choose Ho Chi Mihn.


Cesar Chavez (2014)
Sen. Kennedy: Who told you they were gonna riot?
Sherriff Smith: [thrown offguard, shifty pause] The foremen. Right out there in the fields. The ones we were talking to said that if we didn't stop them, they were gonna cut their hearts out. So rather than let things get out of hand, we just removed the cause.
Sen. Kennedy: This is a most interesting concept, I think. That you suddenly hear talk of somebody who's gonna get out of order, perhaps violate the law, and so you go in and arrest the intended *victim* of the crime, and they haven't done anything wrong.


Bobby (2006)
Robert F. Kennedy: [voiceover] This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives. It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours. Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason. Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded. "Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs." Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire. Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them. Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul. For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter. This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all. I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered. We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers. Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence. We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge. Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can. Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.