The Rushmore Report – The Four Words JFK Spoke Seconds Before He Died

The last words John F. Kennedy said to his wife on that fateful day of November 22, 1963 were not his final words. He told Jackie she looked “smashing” in her new pink suit. But his final words were spoken from the back seat of the 1961 Lincoln Continental in which he was riding, just seconds before the shots rang out that would forever change the course of history. JFK’s last words came in answer to a question. The last four words of the 35th president were . . .

“No, you certainly can’t.”

Here’s the story. The Kennedys were seated behind Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie in the Lincoln. It was well-known that Kennedy had picked Lyndon Johnson as his running mate in order to carry Texas in the 1960 election. Without Texas, he would have lost the election, and without Johnson, he would have lost Texas. But the president was never particularly popular in the conservative Lone Star State.

And that is why he was in Dallas in the first place – to lay the groundwork for his reelection bid that was less than one year in the future. But to his great surprise, Dallas really turned out to support him as his car made its way along the parade route. By the thousands, cheering supporters demonstrated their love for the president and first lady.

Moments after their Lincoln made its final turn onto Elm Street in Dealey Plaza, Nellie Connally turned back toward Mr. Kennedy and said, “You can’t say Texas doesn’t love you!” Kennedy replied, “No, you certainly can’t.”

And then Lee Harvey Oswald changed everything by assassinating the president from his sixth floor loft in the Texas School Book Depository building.

As the Lincoln sped off toward Parkland Hospital, Jackie Kennedy cradled the president’s head in her lap, repeating these words: “Jack, Jack, can you hear me? I love you.”

Of course, the president was already gone, and would be pronounced dead after receiving the last rites at the hospital a few minutes later. And while some have tried to dramatize JFK’s final moments by alleging his final words were, “My God, I’ve been hit,” physicians agree that his wounds would have made it impossible for him to speak.

A historic presidency was ended in a few seconds by the bullets of a deranged shooter. But not until Kennedy had acknowledged the hospitality of the people of Dallas.

While a man born in another state (Louisiana) was already pulling the trigger of his 6.5 mm Carcano rifle, John Kennedy was acknowledging the love of Texas.

“You can’t say Texas doesn’t love you.”

“No, you certainly can’t.”

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