It’s the secret file that could have kept Richard Nixon from ever becoming president.
Today, more than 50 years later, the contents of that file — and the true viciousness of the 1960 Kennedy and Nixon campaigns for president — have been revealed in the new book, “The Gumshoe and the Shrink.”
The shrink’s patient was then-candidate Nixon, who began seeing Dr. Arnold Hutschnecker in 1952. Nixon was suffering from a battery of symptoms that he suspected were psychosomatic, including back and neck pain and insomnia.
Hutschnecker not only treated Nixon for his stress and anxiety but became an informal adviser during the 1960 presidential campaign, teaching Nixon how to appear more calm and composed next to the effortlessly cool John F. Kennedy.
The sessions worked, to a point.
In a foreshadowing of the Watergate break-in, Nixon’s team infiltrated the offices of two of Kennedy’s doctors in June 1960 and rummaged through them, looking to support rumors that the young candidate was, in fact, gravely ill.
Once Kennedy and his campaign were alerted, they went into full-on attack mode, with Kennedy’s father, Joe, tasking none other than Frank Sinatra to hire the best private eye he could find.