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Could the ‘bubble top’ have saved Kennedy in 1963?

On Nov. 22, 1963, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer were two reporters covering a presidential visit. MacNeil was a White House correspondent for NBC News. Lehrer was working the federal beat as a reporter for the Dallas Times-Herald. Both men were assigned to cover President John Kennedy’s visit to Dallas. They ended up reporting on his death.

Days before shots were fired at President John Kennedy in Dealey Plaza, Secret Service officers were busy making their standard preparations for the presidential motorcade that would ride through downtown Dallas.

The 1961 Lincoln Continental in which the president and Governor Connally rode was a convertible with an optional plexiglass cover, to be used in case of bad weather. Jim Lehrer, who was assigned to cover the president’s arrival at Love Field for the Dallas Times-Herald, recounts one Secret Service agent’s decision to remove the so-called bubble top, and how the choices made that day stayed with many of the federal agents for decades. This video is an extended excerpt from MacNeil and Lehrer’s conversation with Judy Woodruff for our special report on the Kennedy assassination, 50 years later. Watch the special report on Thursday night’s broadcast of PBS NewsHour.

Watch more of MacNeil and Lehrer’s full interview with Judy Woodruff on the Kennedy assassination, 50 years later:

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