tv American Presidents CSPAN November 17, 2013 9:00pm-12:43am EST
project for television. and now from our 1999 american president's life portrait series, we feature president lyndon johnson. this program is about 3 1/2 hours. >> we have suffered a loss that cannot be waived. for me, it is a deep, personal tragedy. i know that the royal shares, the sorrow that mrs. kennedy and her family bear. i will do my best that, is all i can do. i ask for your help.
>> lyndon johnson developed a reputation as a dmen straightive public speaker with a pension for telling tall tales. his six consecutive terms in the house of representatives and two term as a senator from texas could not erase his down home image. many democrats in 1960 frowned upon kennedy's choice for a man they believed belched allowed, cussed, violated personal space, and never apologized. once president, he claimed that he did not, "want to be the president who built empires or sought grandeur." but johnson liked to be in charge. in private his wife said he was a warm and mellow man. in general, however, his voicterous and complex personality can fused many. including johnson himself.
sometimes i don't even know what's going on up there, he once said. tapping his head. johnson was raised some smam town, america. at birth, he weighed 10 pounds and for the first three months of his life was simply called baby. a childhood friend once remarked if johnson conned lead, then he didn't care much about playing. later in life, he bought a ranch near his hometown in texas where he spent his vacations, his retirement, and where he died of a heart attack in 1973. his biggest supporter throughout his wife was his wife. they got married on november 17, 1934 with$1934 with a 2.auto ri sears roebuck. from birth, she was called lady bird, when a nurse observed she was pretty as a lady bird.
johnson proposed on their first date and even though she had a flame feeling about him, his forward behavior stunned her and she initially refused. he was center stage of friend once said of the relationship. but she was in charge of the crops and always a part of the performance. mrs. johnson was known for her campaign to improve the american landscape. the world took notice when their two daughters were married. johnson's plan for a great society helped his re-election bid in 1964. but the vietnam war troubled him. despite statements to the contrary, he kaes lated the united states' role in the conflict and as a result lost in his words all of his hopes and dreams. with america's sons in the fields far away, with america's
future under challenge right here at home with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day i do not believe i should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan costs or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office. accordingly, i shall not seek and i will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president.
welcome to the lbj rank. we're here this morning to learn about the life and times of our 36th president lyndon b. john n johnson. joy served as the president's right-hand man on domestic policy issues throughout most of his presidency. let's start at the beginning of the white house term for lyndon johnson. what approach did he take when he learned he was going to be president of the united states. >> he immediately felt and i talked to everybody that he intended to use these years to do all the things he had always wanted to do. and that he was going to change the world in effect for education, for health care, for the environment. he was totally focused on the
dmes domestic changes in the country. you have to remember at that point in time the kun stri going through massive changes. >> how did he establish his legitimacy? >> when he was elected the greatest landslide of any president what he ran against barry goldwater. he brought in every leader, every business leader, every labor leader, every -- he knew the power structure of america as no president before him had ever known it. he also made it clear to the disenfranchised, particular lit blacks, that he intended to do something for them.
? we're going to open the phone lines for your calls and questions about lyndon b. johnson, our 36th president. here are the phone numbers. we'll spend the first two hours here' ranch of lyndon b. johnson and then up at capitol hill. a very complex and turbulent period in american history. describe the man for us. >> well, the man was, you know, he could be -- he was brave. he could be brutal and tough. he was cunning. he was caring. he was altruistic. all in the same few minutes. he also -- but he was a true
believer. he believed in what he was doing. and he was willing to fall on his sword. i always thought the one attribute that people -- that struck me about him more than any over time and on reflection was courage. when he moved with all the civil rights legislation, the voting rights act, civil rights act of '64, the fair housing act of '68, he knew he was turning the south over to the republican party. he knew he was going to clobber the american party. when he took office, the theaters were segregated and washington, d.c. hotels, restaurants were segregated. blacks were truly second class citizens and he was going to change that. his aggressive attitude towards making it fair, we got more adverse mail, more criticism on the racial programs of the great society than we did on the
vietnam war. >> then encapsulate the philosophy of the federal government and the role of a person. >> he said -- he had been a teacher of mexican-american kids in texas in 1928. he said when i was a teacher in texas, i never thought i'd be standing here to be president but i am president now. i have the power and i intend to use it. what did he intend to use it? he viewed the federal government as the instrument to help the most vulnerable among us. that will take care of 75% of the people. there are a quarter of the people out there that need help. they need housing, they need a fair shake when they get into the workplace. they won't be discriminated against. he was determined to change that. the other thing he felt, the world -- the u.s. was changing.
we were moving from the corner grosser and corner pharmacist and small bank to these enormous corporations. with enormous potential to disadvantage consumers. the government is one way you reset the balance. he wanted to have truth in lending and packaging. a housewife walks into a grocery store and she's faced by the most clever packaging, wording and everything and the best accountants and designers can do. we have to level that playing field. >> let's take our first call of the morning and then learn how texas shaped his view of america. albuquerque, new mexico. >> as a teacher, i would like to know what do you think prepared johnson.
also, viewers did not know which part of texas he was from. hill station or big city. and suggestion, i know it would help teachers and students of this country if c-span would identify congressmen as a democrat and not just from texas but from a district in texas or a city or whatever. just like they do in britain. this may help geography students like their students learn more about the country rather than just having a congressman listed from a big state of texas. >> well, they really had -- teaching had an enormous impact on him. he was a great teacher. and, two, i think it prompted a lot of his interest in education. he saw education as a very
important thing. that's yes pushed the federal government. he drove through congress that law. he had to deal, we forget today, the catholics who wanted some help and there were per oakaroc schools. he saw education as very important. he used to say anybody ought to go to college if they have the brains and the talent. it should be brains, not bucks that determine that. that led to all grant and loan programs we have today. teaching is a very important thing to him. and the teachers philosophy where he said teachers should go
out there and teach. that had an enormous i pact. >> let's bring in leslie starheart the superintendent of the lbj ranch here. she is standing down by the river. i'm going to ask you to address the whole question of geography and its influence on lyndon johnson. >> welcome to the heart of lbj country. the geography of this place did influence him. this is very beautiful country and tough. but i would want to add a word about johnson's teaching skills. you know, of course, his mother was one of the few women in this part of texas who had a college education. she was an educator and teach eastern greatly influenced him. the hill country of texas also informed him it was tough men in the land and he was very much proud of that country.
>> can you tell us a bit about what this was like in 1908 when he was born? how tough was it living here? >> the thing about the hill country is that when the southerners first came here, it was, as i said, deceptively lush country. a lot of grasses. but it is a land that gets very little rainfall. and so it had been grazed down and people were forced to go to other types of crops, very much dependent upon a boom and bust economy. it's the basis of the pop lift movement in the country, the small farmer. when the president was born here, not very far from this place right down the road, it was his parents were living in a very small, fairly primitive home, a farmhouse that had been built by his grandfather,
actually by his great uncle. and they lived a very tough life. his father was a tenant farther farmer but he was also a member of the state legislature. he had the competing embassies occurring on him. >> will you tell us exactly where we are. give us some relation where we are in the stast texas. >> you're in the hill country of texas. we're approximately 75 miles from austin, texas. this is an area called the edwards plateau and some refer to it as the devil's backbone. it is in central texas. we are north of san antonio, west of austin. we're northwest of houston. >> we have a question from our next caller from new york city. >> yes, hello.
i've watched your program with great interest. when i was ayears old and johnson and kennedy were running for president, i remember there was this program on channel 2 that talked about who would take over the oval office. my entire family watched it. we are african-americans. and we were so democratic, you know, and it was like this is the party of rez volt aoosevelt new deal. at 10 years old, i was active in the johnson campaign with johnson and humphrey. i want to know when african-americans become so unilater unilaterally involved with the democratic party since we know that before in early periods and even on the c-span program, democratic party is very, very segregationalist. and i was wondering dshgs this happen with joon son's landslide in '64 or is some something that happened as far back as franklin roosevelt? i have a crystal ball question. do you think that the democratic party has moved away from johnson's ideals and the ideals of the new deal and is moving away from that? do you think that
african-americans will seek another party or will they remain within the democratic party or what do you think is the future political landscape? >> i think that the african-americans began moving into the democratic party are franklin roosevelt. i think the enormous rush came with johnson. he passed the licivil rights ac. johnson won by enormous landslide over goldwater did because of the civil rights act of 1964 and the southern states. i think the democratic party today is not as aggressive in terms of saying the federal government is here to help poor people, small people. i mean just to give you one example, poverty was reduced from about 22% down to 13% in the johnson years. it's been level since then.
we backed away a more aggressive effort to bring in the least of us whether african-american or hispanic or just basically poor people. lastly, i think it's important to note that johnson saw the voting rights act which really brought black americans into the mainstream of american political life as the most important piece of legislation. he used to say this will change america. and it has changed america. >> it was signed into law what dates? >> august 1965. and johnson was so happy we were driving up to sign. he wanted a big ceremony. i said i want rosa parks there. he wanted all the people around him. as we were driving up, he said this law will change america if, if, if, if -- many ifs, he said, the negroes which is what blacks were called then, will get out and vote, if they'll get registered and they'll vote.
and they're getting out and voting indeed is beginning to change the south. you'll notice that even the republican party now has to attend to the needs of this constituency in the south. >> how long after the signing of the civil rights act did the rioting break out? >> there were disturbances in selma before we had it. there were -- the first disturbances were in watts in august of 1965. and it was -- johnson signed the voting rights act. he just signed medicare before that. he had gone to missouri to be with harry truman. and he put it into law. he went from there to the lbj ranch where we're sitting right now. there had been the incident if watts two days before.
the riots broke out the night before he signed that medicare law. the first riots were in watts. he was very concerned. he was, in fact -- i think he was very depressed at that point in time. i was in the white house in washington -- it's the only time in all the years i worked for him that he didn't want to take calls from me. he was trying to pass the civil rights laws and poverty laws. >> springfield, missouri. >> hi. i'm calling from springfield, new jersey. i was wondering what you thought a southern born politician like lyndon johnson who is from a segregated state of texas to become such an effective proponent and civil rights legislation. >> well, i think -- i think it is very personal in many respects. he had a cook and he had a driver.
and they were both african-americans. and they would drive from washington down to texas. and they couldn't stay at any decent hotel or motel. often when they couldn't even stop to go to the bathroom because there is no place that would allow blacks to go to the bathroom. he used to talk about that. and that had an enormous impact on him. and secondly, i think his teaching to go back to that and his experience with mexican-americans in texas had an enormous impact on him. he used to say if you don't -- if we don't give them a fair shake, we will have riots. we will have people on the street forever in this country. and secondly, it just wasn't right. to him it was a moral issue. it was a meeting in the white house in the spring of 1963 when kennedy was president and kennedy and some of his aides were talking about the politics,
the difficult politics of civil rights and lyndon johnson said, whoa, this is a moral issue, not a political issue. he saw it as that. he paid an enormous price. he viewed the tremendous landslide and the popularity that he had going into 1965 as something to spend to get this done for this country even though he knew it would clobber the democratic party. >> olympia, washington, good morning. are you there? >> yes. >> go ahead, sir. >> okay. the undersecretary of the united nations may well have been the most prestigious black man in america. did lyndon johnson rely or use him as a resource in any way in approaching domestic or foreign policy issues? thank you. >> i think london johnson
reached out and helped everybody. i think on the domestic side, people he talked to more were whitney young and roy wilkins. he was then the head of the naacp and whitney young is head of the national urban league. and i think those were the ones who relied on terms and domestic policy, he really reached out to everybody. every year we get the best people we could on every subject whether it is child health and bring them in. don't worry about the politics. get me the best ideas. i'll deal with the politics. i'll decide how much we can get done and where we can get it done. >> let's return to leslie heart for more of the understanding of the role of this facility in the johnson administration. how did he -- first of all, how did he come to acquire this space? >> well, the texas white house,
what we know is the texas white house was actually the home of his great aunt and uncle. and he grew up -- he was born about a quarter of a mile down the road from this house, from the texas white house. and he visited his grandfather who lived a little ways up the road. and then i would come up the road all the way to this place to visit his great aunt and uncle and great ufrpg who will is also the first political mentor. one of the things i wanted to tell people that is so fascinating about the ranch and about johnson's city is that what we have is an entire circle of life we call it of place that's are associated with johnson, with his family, with his ancestors. and there are place that's greatly influenced him. if you look at his legislative record on domestic policy, little speeches that he would give as he was introducing a
bill. he always would w leave in something about home and the home place. this was really a very important part of him, of who the man was. and it helps us to understand him and to get our park visitors to understand more about the man who became president. and that's what i think is so unique about this place. we are, i guess, going to be showing some footage. are you showing it now? i'm trying to watch of the ranch and resources out here. but we have within a very short distance the one room school where he first went to school when he was 4 years old. we have the reconstructive birthplace house where it is built on the site of his birthplace. and that was built in 1965 as a guest house. and was actually run of the first units of the national
historical site when established in 1969. >> quick numbers. you medicationed some of them. the number of acres that compromised the whole lbj ranch? >> the national park is 1500 acres in its entirety including johnson city. but i think people would be interested to know that the lbj ranch is 700 acres of which the federal government or the national park service manages only 500 acres which, of course, includes the headquarters tracked and the texas white house and all of this -- the ranching operations associated with it. >> an important to note that it is still the johnson family home. >> yes, it is. this is a very unique situation in that when the president and mrs. johnson signed this property over to the american public to be managed by the national park service, there was a life estate reserved for the surviving spouse. much like was done with the eisenhowers. and mrs. johnson, of course, is
still alive, thank god. and with us. and so the home is still family home. and we bring our visitors in and they see all the areas around here and tour outside of the house. but it is still very much an active family home. >> springfield, new jersey. go ahead, please. >> hi this is tammy from springfield, new jersey. and i was wondering what the most influential thing he did during his presidency. >> thank you. >> well, i think there are two things. i think one was it certainly in the domestic arena. one is the push for civil rights and the other one was to put the federal government squarely on the side of poor people and try and deal with profrt. profrt wasn't just the office of economic opportunity. it was the education legislation to let kids go to school. it was medicare and medicaid which gave people health care. it was job training. the federal government wasn't
training a single person when johnson became president and then suddenly he put them into the business of training people. it was that whole array of things. i think also when you talk about the land out here, two things. one, it had an enormous impact on the way he felt about the environment. he thought land and water were very important. and the clean air, the clean water, the anti-pollution legislation and what he called the new conservation that we not only had to save the land, we had to reclaim land we destroyed. and i think finally when you talk about the ranch, i mean, i remember one of the first times i was here just a few feet away from us in that pool he got me in that pool over the weekend and with him pushing, punching at my shoulders saying there are things i want to do. i want the department of transportation. i want you to create a program to rebuild our cities. and i want legislation so that people can all go in the same
house fair housing and black, green, yellow or purple. i think that i don't stand in the water. he kept pushing me down. he said can do you all that? can you do all that? and, of course, i said, mr. president, i will, i will. never knowing how. but actually he did all that. >> just awe couple of hundred yards away from us right here in the garden area of the johnson family home right on the banks of the river here in the hill country outside austin and san antonio, texas. next telephone call, cooksville, tennessee. good morning. >> good morning. my name is rick sales. i'm an american history teacher. i'm in tennessee. my question for you concerns 1968. i wonder if the deciding factor in president johnson not seeking another term is bobby kennedy
coming into the race. >> no. >> is that a factor? >> no, i don't think so. i think that you have to remember gene mccarthy was running against him and don well in new hampshire. hadn't won but got a high percentage of the votes. more than anyone expected. it was after that when bobby kennedy thought there was an opportunity to come into the race. i think the president dropped out of the race for a couple of reasons. i think most importantly he felt and he talked to me a day or two before and harry mcphearson and the rose garden at the white house that he become a divisive force in the united states. that on two major issues on race and on the vietnam war, he had become a point of division. and that there was no way he could get over that and someone koels do it. i remember he said to me once, what do you think will happen if i don't run? i said i think bobby kennedy will get the nomination. which i thought he would react oh, my god.
but instead, he said well, what's wrong with that? he said he cares about our great society programs and he'll have a little bit of a honeymoon. i won't have any honeymoon if i run again. >> most biographers paint a lot of tension. >> there was tremendous tension between the two of them. they were both street fighters. they were both tough ruthless politicians in many ways and on different sides of the street. and, you know, from when you listen to the johnson tapes, and you hear the conversations between the president and bobby kennedy, when bobby kennedy wanted to be vice president and johnson said nobody in my cabinet is going to be vice president. you can hear the change as michael beschloss does in his tapes. the tremendous change in the tone of bobby kennedy from being sort of, you know, you're wonderful, mr. president, to after that decision was made being much tougher, much greater tension. and, you know, in 1960, in terms of hillary clinton running today in new york when bobby kennedy
went to run in new york in 1964, johnson carried the state by about 1.6 million votes. bobby kennedy carried by 400,000 votes. and when bobby kennedy got up to thank people for winning, he thanked every local politician in new york and then lastly mentioned the president and i remember lyndon johnson just pointing his finger and saying, you know, why did that guy -- why didn't he mention me first? he never would have won without me. >> leslie heart, we're sitting in the garden here. and yesterday you were making the point that that's important to note for the record that president johnson made his strategic decision to retain the kennedy cabinet when sworn into office. but you talked about how he used the ranch to establish his own sense of comfort and the place that was really his. will you talk about that? >> well, yes. that's correct. he brought the cabinet out here to work at the ranch. you'll see a lot of photographs right underneath that tree where
you're sitting. all the members of his cabinet. and the joint chiefs of staff during the height of the vietnam war. they would come out here and do a lot of the work at the ranch because the president always felt much more comfortable. this was his turf. this was his ground. and he felt more in control here. and i think that he probably would recollect that quite a bit of legislation and the early days of the great society was crafted right here at the ranch. i've read stories of the people working in the guest houses and the cows sticking heads in the window or something to that magnitude. that it was very much his home ground. very much a place he felt much more comfortable, especially dealing with the kennedy cabinet which were primarily ivy league and east coast and that wasn't
his background. and this was. >> we'll see you next in a couple of minutes near another part of the display here. that is lyndon johnson's beloved automobiles. >> wise river, montana. >> yes, i'm a veteran of world war ii and the objective was to win. it seemed to me the policy of the johnson administration was to seek the stalemate and subsequently we lost. i would like to rational explanation why i have that impression. if i'm wrong, correct me. >> thank you. >> i think the tensionst joon son presidency was his determination to move forward with the domestic programs and the great society and not to let the vietnam war stunt that growth. he thought that the new deal had been stopped in its tracks by world war ii for roosevelt, understandably, and that the korean war had stopped the fair
deal in its tracks for harry truman. he was determined to not let that happen. >> in the end, how did it play out? >> in the end, we sit here today and all great society programs in place, the war is over. i think there are lots of ways to view that war. it was certainly -- it was certainly a blunder in many respects. but if you look over a auto-year period from the time truman began with the berlin -- with dealing with the berlin and with greece and turkey with the marshal plan, then going and fighting in korea, then followed by eisenhower and eisenhower going into lebanon, the buildup there. eisenhower was the first one to go into vietnam as we both recall. and then kennedy going further in vietnam. johnson really building vietnam up. nixon continuing, ultimately ending the war in 197 # and 1973.
jimmy carter beginning the defense bill that ronald reagan really building the defense. i think over 50 years the soviets and the communists had to say my god, they're willing to spend all their blood and money for this concept called democracy. and the wall came down. i think it didn't come down in one year. it came down over 50 years. i think in that sense, many people will over the long haul say vietnam was a losing battle in a winning war. >> speaking of vietnam, let's listen to president johnson speaking to students at johns hopkins university to talk about his policies and views of them. >> last week 17 nations sent their views to some two dozen countries having an interest in southeast asia. we are joining those 17 countries and stating our american policy tonight which we
believe will contribute toward peace in this area of the world. i have come here to review once again with my own people the views of the american government. tonight, americans and asians are dying for a world where each people may choose its own path to change. this is the principle of which our an sesters fought in the valleys of pennsylvania. it is a principal for which our sons fight tonight and the in the jungles of vietnam. vietnam is far away from this campus. we have no territory there. nor do we seek any. the war is dirty and brutal and
difficult. and some 400 young men born into an america that is bursting with opportunity and promise have ended their lives on vietnam's steaming soil. why must we take this painful road? why must this nation hazard its ease and its interest and its power for the sake of a people so far away? we fight because we must fight. if we're to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny and only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure. this kind of world will never be built by bombs or bullets. yet the infirm tis of man are
such that force must often precede reason and to waste a war in the works of peace. >> you were at the pentagon before coming to the white house. so would you talk about the role of the advisors of the pentagon in helping to convince president johnson of his direction? >> one of the most interesting things and one of the things i always still struggle with trying to think through in the pentagon secretary mcnamara and the whole pentagon and the state department with the exception, i think, of george ball were pushing very hard on the president to escalate faster and much more than he did and in 1964, the word came back from the white house the president is not going to make any decisions this profound in the heat of an election. when he won by this landslide, i
remember bob mcnamara going down to the ranch and basically -- and others pushing saying now we're going to go. we're going to get troops in there. we're going to have an air program and go. johnson said, no. let's think some more. and for six months, seven months until the end of july really, almost eight months, he sent him out to vietnam. he had people going out there to look at it. what can we do? he was very reluctant to go. and then he finally went with the buildup in july of '65. what is puzzling is after that basically early 1968 went with whatever recommendations the military made. he was so skeptical about everything else anyone would suggest to him that i always wondered dwr he wasn't a little more skeptical about that. >> the gulf resolution, only two votes in the senate. dissenting. the entire house as i read it,
unanimous vote? >> that's right. wayne morris and bartlett, the congressman -- >> what should we take away from that? >> well, you know, people are always with you on the takeoff when it's easy. and when the skies get rough, people fall off. i think that -- i think that johnson wanted that resolution very much because he didn't want to move without it. he thought harry truman was devastated by moving into korea with nothing from the congress. and shot at by the congress forever after. i think, you know, people changed over time. the other thing you have to remember in those years, we were always looking over our right shoulder. barry goldwater was a very right-wing candidate. the anti-communist movement was still very powerful. it was a very powerful force in american politics. i mean bob mack in a mayor yea ya in the first couple years in the pentagon was clobbered by the anti-communists.
goldwater ran on a campaign that we're going to be soft on communism. and johnson was constantly afraid that if one of the political push that if we lost vietnam, we would be soft on communist ands we would lose everything in terms of the great society. >> joe call fall yoe was the chief domestic policy adviser with johnson. he wrote a book about the experience called the triumph and tragedy of lyndon johnson. it is coming out again. >> it's coming out again. i think with texas a&m and president and the presidential series are going to put it out again. next year it will be available. >> shreveport, louisiana. >> i understand president johnson was raised in an average middle class family. and that he was a civil servant his whole life. i was just curious how he accumulated all his wealth of
that beautiful ranch? because it's a wonderful thing he did. >> well, i think -- i think, you know, he and lady bird, they invested widely and they certainly invested wisely in the communications area. probably until -- it's a wonderful story my father-in-law, my wife's father was the founder of cbs and he used to tell a story that when johnson was just a senator, just a senator, he would call bill paly and frank stanton, the president of cbs and the station here, the lbj station. it wasn't a mandatory buy. you didn't have to buy the station. and he wanted to be a mandatory buy. that would do a lot for the financial well-being of the station. and bill paille said he kept turning johnson down. he said then in 1954 when the democrats took control of the
senate and johnson was the majority leader, his private phone rang at 6:00 in the morning which had to be 5:00 a.m. here texas time from the ranch. and this voice came on the phone and said, bill, this is lyndon johnson, the next majority leader of the united states senate. i want that station to be a mandatory buy. i said what did do you? he said we made it a mandatory buy. >> next call is from helena, arkansas. >> welcome. you're on the air. >> yes, ma'am. >> yes, sir. am i on the air? >> yes. go ahead with your question. >> my question is during johnson's presidency, all the newspapers for a while were filled with the fact that they wanted to purchase the ranches surrounding his ranch for security purposes. and there was some big objections and i understand it was going to the courts. and i want to know did these ranchers have to give up their
land, the surrounding ranches? >> do you know the answer to that? >> i don't think i do. they were -- lyndon johnson purchased a lot of land. he believed in land. and the johnson family has donated thousands and thousands of acres to the national park service in the u.s. government. >> all right. let's -- we'll ask leslie hart that question when she's ready. let's take the next call from ohio. good morning. >> good morning. my name is eric. i'm wondering, i read your book. i'm glad to hear it's coming out again. i love the story that you tell about lyndon johnson taking that stroll in the car with the prime ministers and whatever heads of state were joining him and the car would go down and he would fall into that lake and it would become a hover craft. you would give us a sense of president johnson's sense of
humor and tell us about that. >> he can answer the sense of humor and then we'll show you the car in just a minute. >> well, you know, johnson did have a wonderful sense of humor. i mean he used to on a whole variety of things. i remember he one time with a couple of the -- with whitney young and roy wilkins when they were arguing about -- they were saying the liberals this and the liberals that and johnson would turn and say do you know the difference between a liberal and a cannibal? and he would say cannibals eat only their enemies where johnson on the car, we were -- i was in the car once. the first weekend actually had me down here. and we were driving along and we came down the hill and we splashed into the water and johnson was saying, my god, we're going to sink. we're going to sink. i started to get out of the car. and then it turned out to be an aircraft car. and for the rest of that weekend johnson kept saying to vicki mccannian, the secretary who was
with us. he said he didn't care about his president. he just wanted to get out of the car and save himself. >> it was a sense of humor but he also tried to intimidate people. >> he was always testing. when he had me in the pool, for example, i think he was talking about programs. he possessioned me in such a way that he was standing 6'3." he had me in a deeper end. i couldn't stand. i was treading water. he was saying i want you to get a fair housing bill. i want you to get this and i want you to get that. but he had a marvelous ability to tell stories, to laugh at himself even and to -- he was one of the greatest story tellers i think that ever sat in the white house. >> leslie hart is by the amphibious car. let's take a look at it and can you tell us more about the role here at the ranch today. >> i was going to say i'm pleased that mr. califan ox told that story. he actually stole my line.
i was about to let him know that we tell the story of the president and mr. califano and the car is one of our favorite stories. they got a lot of mileage and a lot of press. it's a wonderful car. it's right behind me. the car was used -- the president would go charging down the hill, pretend like he lost the brakes and usually whoever was in the car would bail out. and actually i heard that mr. califano actually jumped into the river. i know that there is another story of newly wed couple and the young man jumped out of the car and left his young wife sitting in the car. and the president had a lot to say about that. >> it was a real test of wills. >> yes, it was. >> we have a number of cars appear at the hanger. and i would like you to -- i was
going to ask the camera man to show you a couple of them. we have a red car right over here to the right of the car. that is completely outfitted for hunting exertions and was a favorite car of the president's. >> how would he use hunting? >> well, they would go out -- this car is in a number of photographs. but it's an open car. they would go out and shoot the deer on the ranch. he never let roads get in the way of hunting. he would just take off across country and usually somebody would be standing in the back of the car with their guns or at least that's one of the stories we heard. >> another test for the eastern establishment type. >> it was. henry ford used to give the president a car every year. this great big white lincoln
convertible. and when we passed the auto safety legislation, that for the first time required the padded dash boards, all the things, everything had to be recessed. and the we get in the car and johnson would proudly sign the auto safety legislation. we're driving and he waent find anything. and he said what the hell is all this about? what's happened to cars? and i said, mr. president -- >> it's your legislation. >> that's your legislation. also was in a car that i had one of the most moving experiences with him. we were driving around the weekend he asked me to go to work with him. we were driving around johnson city and i think this captures a little bit about him. the top was down. it was dusty and there was a guy on the side of the road. and he was red, straggly beard. obviously looked very much like a drunk and an alcoholic and a deadbeat. and johnson with his hand on the wheel was like this.
he said you see that guy? as long as you work for me, don't ever forget that the difference between him and you and him and me is that much. >> junction city, kansas. you're on the air for our discussion on lbj. >> caller: yes, good morning. my name is lee thomas. i'm real thrilled about this series. i have just been waiting patiently for johnson to come on because he's my absolute most favorite president. but people find that quite baffling with me being a black woman saying he's my favorite. what about abe lincoln? and my comment is, well, he freed the slaves but johnson freed the enslaved. and now with this series it does focus on his efforts, as far as the civil rights. but -- and one other thing i want to say is that i'm always baffled when i see shows and i see posters about civil rights movers and shakers and he's not there. you can't talk about the movement and how great it was and how much we've progressed without talking about the efforts of johnson. but what my question was, i had heard that right after kennedy was assassinated and just when
johnson was being sworn in that he insisted mrs. kennedy be at his side. and i was just wondering if that was true and if it was, why at her most vulnerable time did she think it was important to witness his swearing in. thank you. >> he did want her at his side and he didn't want to take off until -- from texas and go back to the white house until she was there on the plane. and i think he thought it was very important because he thought of continuity. the importance of showing continuity in terms of the presidency. and i think that you have to look at the wonderful letters that she wrote him about how wonderful he was to her during those days. i think your earlier point is a very important one. and i've thought about that. why don't we see more of johnson. why don't democrats talk more about him? why isn't he -- i think one is the vietnam war. it's so stained his presidency
and people have focused on that. they are beginning now to understand what he did in terms of changing the country and domestic programs and i'll see more. and the other thing is that he was liberal. he was a very liberal president. he believed that you used government and used it to help the most vulnerable. and democrats today are afraid of that liberal label. i think it's a time to recognize what he's done. and i agree with the caller. >> our phone lines are open if you'd like to participate in our conversation about lyndon banes johnson. edison, new jersey. you're next. >> hi, this is rina steinbeck, and i was just wondering when johnson was first elected president, what was the main thing he wanted to accomplish during his presidency? >> the main thing, when he was first elected? so not after the kennedy assa assassination but when he won the election in his own right?
>> i think his focus was on two things. one on civil rights. he was determined that he -- that it was time to make it a reality for black americans to be full participants in our society. and secondly, was on poverty. he really just could not accept the fact that in the richest country in the world, we had over 20% of our people living in poverty. and he was determined to change that. and he had enormous impact on that. and poverty, as i've said, wasn't just the oeo programs. and you have to remember what it was like in those days incidentally. head start, which is now one of the most popular programs in the government to provide preschool education to poor children, when we proposed it it was attacked and assaulted as a kind of soviet program to wrench kids from their mothers at an early age. and head start was also something ladybird was very important part of. >> after the 1964 elections,
what were his majorities like in the house and senate? >> after the 1964 elections, lyndon johnson had a liberal majority in the house. not just a democratic majority. and that was what made the 89th congress so incredible. we passed 100 major laws in each session of the 89th congress. >> what are some of the big names from the house and senate in those days that people should know. >> john mccormick, the speaker of the hour, was very important. he was from massachusetts. as tip o'neil who later became speaker was as well. i think he was critical. i think in the senate leader was senator mike mansfield. he was a wonderful, wonderful man. and johnson and a very, very, you know, almost holy, almost saintly man. and johnson used to say, why do i have a saint for a majority leader. russell long, the chairman of
the senate finance committee and wilbur mills, the chairman of the house ways and means committee. and it was -- russell -- richard russell, who was johnson's mentor and actually, i have a wonderful -- russell came to see johnson to tell him that he was going to have to filibuster on the voting rights act. on the civil rights act of 1964. and johnson and johnson said, classic johnson story. he said, you know, dick, and russell said, mr. president, i have to make a stand. there's a point at which i have to stand somewhere. and johnson said you know, dick, you remind me and he knew this would really grate on russell, he said of that negro boy in bed with that white woman and her husband comes home and she says, my god, it's my husband. it's my husband and he runs to the closest door and it's the linen closet and he has to go into the linen closet slammed
against the shelves like that and the husband goes from door to door saying who is here? there's somebody here. he rips open the linen closet door and johnson jumped up straight from his chair and said what your doing there? and he said, everybody has to stand somewhere. and johnson turned to dick russell and he said, dick, you have to stand somewhere but you got have enough flexibility. you have to leave enough room so that these people can get a fair shake in this country. >> one-third of today's united states senate works in the russell office building in washington, d.c. next telephone call is from olney, illinois. >> caller: good morning. >> hello. >> caller: i have toured the lbj ranch three different times. i love it. i love president and mrs. johnson. do you remember the congressman from illinois, shipley? >> sure. >> caller: and the discharge petition that you write about in your book?
>> yes, sure. >> caller: he's a good friend of mine. >> well, good. >> caller: i want to inquire as to the health of mrs. johnson. i heard last night she was hospitalized. and just ask how she's getting along. i dearly love your program and the johnson family. and i agree, the democratic party should get liberal and recognize president johnson. >> thanks. let's turn to leslie hart. she's been in touch with the johnson family and can tell us about the update on mrs. johnson's health. >> mrs. johnson is doing fine. she was hospitalized yesterday afternoon. she had a fainting spell. she has had those in the past. and as a precaution, they took her to the hospital yesterday afternoon, but she was just being held for observation. i believe that she's probably on her way home, if not now, probably later on today. >> that caller was a three-time visitor to the ranch. >> yes, i was so happy to hear that. >> how many visitors do you get
every year? >> right now we average around 150,000 visitors a year to the ranch. and to the johnson city unit. we are working very hard on our visitations. it's gone up and down. but we think that we have a great deal to offer. we have a lot of school groups that come and use this place, which is indicative of the president's influence, i believe, on education, as well as mrs. johnson's. if i might, could i get back to an earlier question that was asked about the land. because i think it's really important to clear up some of the mythology surrounding this place. the johnsons, in fact, one time owned nine ranches. this ranch in itself is 2700 acres, as i said. but the land that the lady was referring to is across the river. when the lbj national historic site was being established, the president also wanted to create an area that would be for the local communities that would
provide more traditional resources that you don't have inside of a national park or national historic site. and his friends got together and raised private funds to purchase the land that is now the lbj state historical park. it's directly across the river from us. and we work in partnership with them very closely. our bus tours generate from the lbj state historical park. the only way that visitors can come to the ranch itself is on a national park tour bus. md those go every day, you know, from 10:00 until 4:45 in the afternoon. and they leave from the state park and come across the river. and people at that time learn a lot about that partnership that was created 27 years ago. >> how much does it cost to tour? >> it's $3 for 6 and above. correct me if i'm wrong. i've got a couple of staff
members near. >> and how many days are you open? >> we are open every day except thanksgiving, christmas and new year's day. >> and sometimes people have the good fortune as they are driving by to see mrs. johnson waving at them? >> when mrs. johnson is out at the ranch, she'll come out on the front porch. she loves to. she'll come out and wave and, if she can, occasionally, she has exchanges with the visitors. the other thing that i wanted to say about the ranch is that all of the land that is part of the lbj national historical park is land that was donated by the johnson family. there was very little federal funding used to purchase any of the resources or the land that comprised this park. the only really significant amount of investment that was made was in the visitors center in johnson city which we had converted from an abandoned hospital that -- and that just
opened about five years ago. >> we're going to take a telephone call next. let me tell you more about our program as it progressed. later on you're going to meet one of lyndon and lady bird johnson's grandchildren, lynn nugent, named after his grandfather. he'll show us inside the house. a place that's special for you. not yet open to visitors. and really get a sense of how the former president and former first lady live and the first lady still continues to live here. and then later on, our conversation moves to washington, d.c., where you'll meet biographer robert karro from the senate majority leader's office on capitol hill. the site of many years of power for lyndon johnson as he built up his power base and also gained a great understanding of how the whole legislative process worked. next telephone call, riverside, california. >> caller: good morning, c-span. thank you for continuing excellence. i have a question for mr. califano. after a brief statement. when i was a kid, i grew up with the sons of general william j. crumb who tragically was killed
in a flying accident in 1967. however, in world war ii, he was a pilot on a b-17. and one of his waist gunners was rufus w. youngblood who, after dallas, became security chief for the presidential party. i'm curious if you may remember mr. rufus. in light of the fact that president johnson's predecessor had been assassinated in his home state, i was curious if there was any sense of greater or lesser sense of security when traveling around the country and, particularly in traveling in his own state as, i said, that he -- his predecessor, i'm sure must have been greatly embarrassed, was killed in his home state. and do you remember mr. youngblood? >> sure, i remember mr. youngblood. and i do think that the security was increased for president johnson. and unfortunately, over the
years in this country, we've had to further increase the security again and again. johnson was very, very hurt that this would happen under any circumstances, and he was particularly hurt that the tragedy of the kennedy assassination occurred in texas. >> leslie hart, in fact, this facility was on the itinerary of president kennedy and there were lots of preparations going on for festivities here the day of the assassination. >> that's correct. that's one of the more compelling stories that is told here at the ranch. the president and mrs. kennedy were on their way to the ranch. they were to stay overnight here. their preparations were being made and the barbecue grove which is down on the river for a big event. several members of the then vice president's staff were down there. mrs. johnson's staff actually bess able who was her social secretary later in the white house and a gentleman named
cactus prior who is a radio personality and someone who had worked for the johnsons for years in austin were down at the river getting all the sound checks and everything set up for the entertainment that evening. when they were informed the president had been shot and everybody came up and sat in the kitchen of the ranch house. and they tell a very powerful story of secret service agent walking into the kitchen as they are watching the news coverage and saying to them, you are now in the home of the president. and in that instant, everything just changed forever for this family, for their home. this went from being the home of the johnsons to the home of the president. and the instant change. the security systems that were brought in. and we still have a lot of those structures are right up here in this area where i'm standing. and the airplane hangar that was converted into the place where he gave his press conferences. the communications trailers that
the army brought in overnight are still here. and so you have all of this evidence still in place. it's a very dramatic story. >> mr. califano, what we learned about our modern presidents, is wherever they are and whoever they are, the white house follows them. >> that's right. the white house follows them. little black box which seems to be a little less important in this day and age, which would authorize if ever necessary, god forbid, any nuclear attack or retaliation. but the communications have just gotten better and better. when president johnson was president, he made sure that he could communicate with any of us at any point in time. i mean, my most dramatic experience with him was, i had an office in the white house that was one of the -- it was just about the only office, i think, that had its own private bathroom. and he called me one morning at 8:00. and i was in the bathroom. he said to my secretary, is
there a phone in there? no, there's no phone in there. and he said, put a phone in there. and i came out and she said the president wants a phone in there. i said, no way. >> when he wanted to speak to you, he wanted to speak to you now. >> and the next morning he called me at 8:00, and i was in the bathroom again. and he said, i want a phone in there immediately. by the time i got out of the bathroom, there were two army snag corps men in my office. >> 8:00 apparently was a late call for him. >> was late. he'd raucoften call at 5:00 or in the morning? >> we all had white house phones in the morning. you get a call at 5:00 in the morning. the story in "the new york times" or "the washington post," what are you going to do about it? we, of course, didn't have a newspaper at that point in time. and the other thing was in our offices we had a line called the potus line, president of the united states. it was a red button and it just rang. it didn't ring intermittently.
it just rang steadily until it was answered. if you didn't pick it up within a few seconds, you could hear his impatience in his voice. whatever he was asking you about. in effect why didn't you pick it up sooner. >> this all in the days before beepers and wireless phones. now one of the things we've been doing throughout this entire series which for our viewers just with us started in march and is telling the life stories of all 41 men who served as president of the united states. we've had a special emphasis on students so that young people in the united states can learn more about the history of our country and the men who were elected and served as president of the united states. this morning we've already had a number of young people calling in. but right now we're going to talk to a student named jennifer hawkins who attends the lbj high school in austin, texas. what can you tell us about the decision to name your school after president johnson? >> caller: the main thing i can tell you is that lbj high school
is in the heart of east austin, which is a predominantly black neighborhood. and one of the things that lyndon b. johnson is known for is the civil rights act of 1964. and also he is from texas. he's a texan from stonewall texas. those are some of the things that contributed to naming the school after him. >> notion the name on the building, how is the former president recognized on the campus? >> we have a statue in the front that says lbj. it's in the shape of texas, made out of granite. there's a placard in the front hallway that students pass every day. in the office, two busts of lyndon johnson and his picture of him in the white house that was donated to the school. >> and all those students born long after his presidency, dwhoot your fellow students know about him, if anything? >> most of the students are most familiar with the fact nat he spoke of a great society in the civil rights act of 1964 and the
voting rights act. those are the main things that are taught to us when we learn about president of the united states. >> we have a gentleman as our guest who was deeply involved with the domestic policies of lyndon johnson. do you have any questions for him because i know you've studied about this period? >> just one of the things, i was wondering what contributed most to his decision? i know the tust decision on sending retaliatory air strikes to north vietnam during that time or if you know anything about that. it's one of the more controversial times. and so what contributed to his decision to do that, sending our troops over there? >> i think there was -- well, the whole view of what was going on in southeast asia was if vietnam fell, then the rest of southeast asia would fall to the communists and that, plus china, would become a great communist area. that was the belief in the
eisenhower administration, the kennedy administration and in the johnson administration and in the nixon administration. it's turned out not to be true. not to have survived historically as accurate. in terms of the bombing, there was a feeling and an attitude that if you could gradually increase the military pressure on the north vietnamese, you would be able to get them to the bargaining table. indeed, one of the reasons why president johnson withdrew in 1968 was his hope. he wanted to end that war before he ended his presidency. and he was unable to do it. i've since been to vietnam. and when you look at the way the north vietnamese were willing to go into tunnels and live in order to win that war, you can understand why it was such a difficult and impossible task. >> our student participant this
morning, jennifer hawkins is the class president of the senior class at lbj high school in austin. and is also drum major and a speech and debate competitor. i mentioned the debate competition because lyndon johnson taught debate. >> he taught debate and he loved -- i can almost see him teaching and loving debate. he used to teach debate and would also tell the students, any one of you can grow up to be president. any one of you can just remember that. this is a country in which anybody can be president. >> jennifer hawkins, is lyndon johnson taught in your school? is it part of the curriculum? >> most of the time you hear most about lyndon johnson your senior year actually when you get into government and you go into detail on the presidents. we spend our early years in high school doing world geography and world history. and so we don't -- you don't really get into american history until your junior year and then you are going through all of american history but you're able to really focus on the
president. and their impact on the country your senior year when you take government and economics, learning about their economic plans and their administration. >> what are the key lessons that you are taught about the johnson administration? >> mainly, basically, about his beliefs, as far as like i mentioned earlier, the great society and the civil rights act. just his impact on what he wanted, his war on poverty was a big thing. things to think about as we grow and we become adults to apply what he has done to our lives. >> among the presidents you have studied, where does he stand for you? >> he's very near the top. for me, my parents were in that era, and just the civil rights act and the voting act and the civil rights act, had more to do than just with the right to vote, but it also, you know, guaranteed access to public accommodations and those kind of things. and i listen to my parents talk about that.
and they were at ut when he lay in state here in austin, and so he just has a lot of significance to me and my family. >> thank you very much. what's next for you after your senior year in high school? >> i would like to go to college. ivy league. hopefully harvard and hopefully attend the kennedy school of law. >> what do you hope to do? >> major in political science. then come back to austin and hopefully start my political career, whether on the school board or the city council. >> well, thank you for your participation this morning. appreciate what you've added to our program. >> thank you. >> here's a speculative question. here we are on the lbj ranch. what would he think about listening to an 18-year-old african-american student whose dream is to go to the kennedy school and study government and run for office? >> he would be so happy. that's exactly what she should do. public service was the highest calling you can have. i think of another african-american woman here, barbara jordan. i sent the president a memo once. we were looking at the
possibility of an income maintenance program for all americans. and it was complicated. we had all these great financial people. the head of the world bank and this man and that moon. and johnson sent it back to me and he said, add barbara jordan to this task force. and i didn't know who barbara jordan was. and i found out barbara jordan was a senator in the state legislature in texas. and i said, god, and i said to the president one night at dinner. i said, mr. president, i know you want to do something for this politician but this is really a complicated, difficult area. and i'll get -- i'll give her -- get her on another task force. and he just exploded and he said, let me tell you something. barbara jordan is either going to be the first black governor of the state of texas, or the first black senator from the state of texas. he's got more brains and common sense in her little pinky than all those great financial
experts have in their whole brain. and that's how i met barbara jordan. he loved barbara jordan. >> moore pierce is our producer for this installment of our 41-week series. and special thanks to former first lady lady bird johnson for opening up her family home to us and for the national park service for their help in allowing us to show this to you this morning. let's take our next telephone call on lyndon johnson. brad bradenton, florida. good morning. >> caller: yes, hello. good morning. >> good morning. >> caller: it's an honor to speak to you, sir, and i have been dying to get some answers to these questions for some time. i just can't -- i'm thrilled to get through. i have two questions for you about the war on poverty. but before i ask those questions, and please don't cut me off, i just -- after hearing the first 30 minutes of this, i just like to say, if mrs. johnson is watching this, because i heard that she's not well, there are -- we all out here hope that she is feeling
better and there are many, many, many americans that want to thank for her contribution as well. i felt sort of compelled to say that. then i -- now i'd like to get to my two questions. sir, about the war on poverty, two questions. could you please comment on the successes of the war on poverty, number one, and number two if you were advising president johnson today, in 1999, about three things that you would do to fight the war on poverty in 1999, and this is hypothetical, so what would be the three things you'd advise him to do. and also comment on the successes of the war on poverty, sir. thank you all. >> well, with respect to the war on poverty, you have to recognize the overwhelming success is that it cut in half the number of the percentage of americans that were on poverty. some of the successes, the minimum social security payment which people don't think about, which brought 2.5 million people
out of poverty at the time we passed it. we raised the minimum monthly payment. today we would have about 24 million more people in poverty than we did -- than otherwise if we didn't have that increased minimum benefit. the education, the head start programs. johnson used to say, the rich have preschool and nursing school for their kids. why can't the poor have that. the tremendous job training programs. i think all of those programs, all of that was part of the war on poverty. and, of course, medicaid. remember, medicaid provided and medicare provided for people, health care, they did not have. there were no programs to provide health care for poor people. what would lyndon johnson want to do today? i think, in his last state of the union message, he proposed kiddy care. covering -- providing health care for all children in this
country. we've been trying to do that for the last 30 years. hopefully some day we'll do it. i'd like to say one thing. the caller said something about lady bird. and she was an extraordinary help to lyndon johnson as you showed on some of those tapes. and very sensitive. after martin luther king was assassinated, i moved into the white house because i was working on that. and i would bring president johnson one report after another to move troops here. we had a problem in baltimore. we had a problem in dallas or chicago, what have you. and after about a week there, i was going home. and lady bird called and said, joe, i'd like you to come. i'm just going to have a couple of people for dinner tonight with lyndon. i said, mrs. johnson, i haven't been home in a week. i really would like to get back to my wife and kids. and she said, joe, i wouldn't press you normally, but she said you brought lyndon a lot of bad
messages in the last week with all these problems in the wake of the assassination. and sometimes he can mistake the message and the messenger, and i never want that to happen to you. i want you to come have dinner with all of his friends in a very pleasant evening. that's the kind of wife -- woman she was. >> in klein village, nevada, you're next on lbj. >> caller: yes, in august 1965, george bundy and president johnson had some sort of a meeting on the front page of "parade" magazine, the sunday supplement, there was a picture of the two of them standing on the white house lawn. george bundy had a manila envelope in his hand and a piece of paper was taken out of the top of it and it had top secret and the code word. i was an enlisted guy in the air force security service. and because of that code word, in september the 1st, they had to change all the stamps for the top secret and secret, you know, all the code words and all that
stuff. i just wondered if he was even aware that he did it and/or if you ever heard of that. thank you. >> i don't remember that at all. and i don't know whether he was aware that he did it at all. >> what role did george bundy play in the white house? >> he was the president's national security adviser. he was there for the first couple of years of the johnson white house tour. he then went to become president of the ford foundation. he was succeeded by walt rastow. >> were there two bundys in the white house? >> bill bundy was in the state department. the bundy brothers. bill bundy was the assistant secretary. they were both deeply involved in vietnam. bill bundy was the assistant secretary in the asian affairs area. >> leslie hart, since we've been talking about lady bird johnson, how did he beat claudia taylor who, we know today as lady bird johnson? >> working as a secretary to
congressman king from texas, from south texas. the king ranch. i'm sorry, not king. clyburn who owned the king ranch. there were mutual friends who thought they should meet. they met in the evening at -- it's my understanding -- at a small gathering, and the then congressional secretary asked her if she would join him for breakfast the next morning. and she had said she would, and then evidently had had serious second thoughts about that and wasn't quite sure she was going to go in to the driscoll hotel coffee shop and meet with this man who was such a very self-possessed and very ambitious and very much interested in her very quickly. so they did, though have that breakfast meeting, and he began his very intense pursuit of lady bird johnson. and it's a wonderful story.
it's a great love story, too. >> if i might, i wanted to comment on the legacy of johnson. i was so taken with the young woman who spoke to us from the high school in austin. we talk a lot about the legacy of lbj and the legacy of lbj is also the legacy of his family. who are still very much a part of texas. very much a part of what's happening in the nation and the world has witnessed the interest in mrs. johnson to this day. she was such a powerful force and such a partner to him. prior to his becoming president. all during his political career. always had -- would identify and find opportunities to advance programs that were very dear to her heart as well as his. she would bring him these things and expand his views as well. expand his world view and his view of the country.
they were both very deeply rooted to the land. so there is that legacy that continues to this day and, of course, mrs. johnson having survived him now, these 26 to 27 years has created her own -- her own legacy here in the hill country. as her children and her grandchildren now are doing. >> springfield, new jersey, good morning. >> hi. i'm from springfield, new jersey. i just love your show. it's just dandy. despite all those criticisms of lyndon b. johnson, why did john f.k. choose him as his vice presidential partner? >> i think it's widely agreed now that kennedy needed lyndon johnson in order to win that election. he chose him, i think, first of all, because he could carry texas and help kennedy in the south. we have to remember that kennedy just barely won that election. and we didn't know until noon or 1:00 the next day whether he'd
won. that was very important. i think kennedy also realized that lyndon johnson was a man capable of running the country if he had to. >> lyndon johnson was at the seat of power . how happy was he as vice president? >> his years as vice president were not happy. was interesting. he occasionally talked about them. he loved john f. kennedy and felt john kebnnedy treated him well. in terms of the staff and robert kennedy, treated him badly. at meetings when he'd speak, robert kennedy would get up and say, this meeting has gone on long enough and leave. the staff would give him a few minutes notice of a meeting. those years were very tough years for him. you know, johnson spent -- i would like to just mention his sense of humor. something hit me. at one of the worst times of his
presidency, the worst times he'd have a sense. he spent 35 years in washington. he was very much a washingtonian. and the depth of the riots after the assassination of martin luther king, we had fires you could see from the white house in washington. we had troops there. i would bring him these messages. and a couple of nights, later i brought him a message and, you know, in georgetown, that's where all the press lived, all the media, the television people, the "washington post" people who were, by this time, driving johnson crazy. and i brought him a message that said, stokeley carmichael, the great fire brand who was organized -- the fbi was organizing a group of people at 14th and u streets to march on georgetown and burn it down. and johnson read this note and he smiled and he said, i've waited 35 years for this day. >> next call, walnut creek, california. >> yes. my question is, if nixon had been elected governor of
california in '62, do you think the republicans would have nominated him? if so, do you think he would have had a chance against lbj? >> well, i don't know. lyndon johnson, when he was still thinking about running in 1968 wanted to run against nixon. he thought nixon would be the candidate he could beat. he did not like nixon. there was -- talk about bad blood. on the last night of his presidency, when johnson had the staff over to the white house, he said to me, he said, you know, i want to tell you a few things. give you some advice. one, for the first time in your life when you leave here, you're going to make a little money. he said invest it in land because nixon doesn't understand the economy. the economy is going to go to hell. two, when you pay your taxes, add an extra $500 because this guy won't be happy just winning. he's going to want to put you in jail when he finds out about all
those programs. this guy won't be happy unless he can put you in jail. he did not like richard nixon. he was furious at nixon's campaign against helen douglas in california. he didn't like or trust him. >> and we have about 30 minutes left in our portion of our discussion on lyndon johnson here from the lbj ranch in stonewall, texas. in a couple minutes you'll meet one of lbj's granchildren. and our final half hour we'll have all three guests here to answer your questions. next call from pring springfield, new jersey. >> caller: my name is lindsey from springfield. could you explain how lbj avoided a dock workers strike in 1964 by evoking the taft-hartley law. >> well, we often -- there were two ways in which we averted a strike in which the president averted strikes. one was by invoking the taft/hartley act which required a cooling off period. allowed 30 or 60 days during
which the parties had to get together. and he was able to mediate. johnson would often bring the unions and business into the white house to settle a strike. he did that with an almost automobile strike, with an almost steel strike. and he would lock people up and say, nobody gets out until you agree. you have to be able to agree. >> phoenix, arizona. >> caller: yes. i'm calling from phoenix, arizona. and my mother -- my parents are originally from texas. and lbj was my mother's teacher in 1928. and my parents are doing very well. they live pretty good and she always talks about lbj and she was crying one evening because
she liked school so much, she didn't want to go home. she sat on his lap and they sang a couple of songs together. we visited a couple of years ago and she was telling me a story about her going to school, about her teacher and she's always talking about lbj and how -- what a man he was and a sincere man also. and that's what i keep the memory alive. and i have a feeling that even though we're originally from wisconsin, born and raised there, my parents are true texans, and they really love it there and have a lot of memories of our late president. >> let's just get some facts in again. cotula, texas is the place where lyndon johnson as a young man taught school, primarily to
mexican-americans. and he was attending san marcos state teachers college. leslie starr hart, let's do some personal facts about lyndon johnson. he went to school in san marcos. did he receive a degree? >> why he got his degree as a teacher. his schooling was interrupted during that time that he went down to teach. johnson graduated from high school when he was 15 years old, and he was very, very young and he wasn't ready to go to college. and he was at loose ends. i mean, can you imagine, he turned 16 august after he graduated. took off for california. came back to texas. worked on a road crew and finally at his mother's very strong insistence, he began college. he went to san marcos state teachers college. starting when he was 18. he took a year off because he was in financial need and he went down and taught. it wasn't just primarily
mexican-american school. it was a mexican school. the schools were segregated at that time. the school still exists. and i wanted the viewers to know that one of the programs that we are most proud of that reflect on lyndon johnson, our education program. and we have engaged for the last two years now in a very special program with the cotulla independent school district which we call return to cotulla. we're emphasizing the president's legacy. he signed that secondary education act in front of the junction school here at the ranch with his first teacher sitting by his side. and with some of his students from cotulla gathered there as well. that experience as mr. califano has stated, affected him greatly his entire life. he went from teaching there. he went back. he got his degree and then went down to high school -- to a high school in, i think, sam houston high school in houston, texas,
where he taught speech and debate. for a brief period of time before he was hired on by mr. clayburg to work for him in congress. so he really didn't -- he got kind of a late start but once he got started, there was no stopping him. >> went to congress as a congressional aide. >> as a secretary to the congressman. >> and then made a bid for the house himself? >> yes, began his house career and served six terms in the house and then two terms in the senate. he was 13 years, i believe in the senate, at the time of the -- or he had been 13 years in the senate at the time he was -- became vice president. >> let's bring our third and final guest from texas into the conversation. we're going to introduce you to lyndon nugent who joins us inside the family room of the texas white house here which we have said many times is still the private family home of the johnson family. thank you so much for joining us. you flew your plane in to this
landing strip we've heard so much about this morning. what is -- how old were you when your grandfather died? >> i was 5 1/2 when he passed away. he passed away in january of 1973. >> and explain your relationship to him. >> well, my relationship with my grandfather was really more of a post-white house relationship. it was a grandfather/grandson relationship, and we have a lot of great memories out in this house. >> we're showing some pictures of you at the time. i'm not sure if you saw these beforehand but they are the kind of pictures we all think when we're older, uh-oh. they took those of us. how about the family relationship? who was your mother? >> my mother is lucy johnson. and she was my grandparents' second child. >> and can you tell us your impressions of both your grandfather, the president, and your grandmother, the first lady, as people. describe them to us? >> my grandparents were wonderful grandparents. they were in the short time that i knew my grandfather, he was a very loving, very generous man.
i he think really enjoyed this part of the world, and i think he really enjoyed spending time with his children and his grandchildren. i think he had a great love of this land which is still evident for those of us that spend time out here, it's still evident to this day. >> did you also go to san marcos? >> yes, ma'am. >> where y dy did you choose hi mater? >> there's a lot of reasons. one, it's a great place to get a great education. i had a great time there and i think that it's a university that really provides a great education from a great location. >> we are going to continue to take some phone calls. we'll mix up the responses from each of our guests who each have a unique expertise. let's take a call from buffalo, new york. >> caller: yes, good morning. is mr. califano still there? >> yes, i'm right here. >> caller: it's an honor, sir. if anybody deserves a front row
seat in heaven, it's joe califano for what he's done to get people away from smoking cigarettes. >> thank you. >> you have a question for us on lby? >> caller: i have a two-part question for mr. califano, if i could. and the first part is, do you believe that lyndon johnson was aware that our entrance into vietnam was really to stifle democracy? and i base that statement on the fact that right after the french were defeated, an agreement was reached whereby there would be a free election throughout north and south vietnam. we found out that ho chi minh would have been elected by a landslide and, therefore, we stop the election. and in effect, stifled democracy. first part of the question. >> and ask your second, please. >> caller: the second, mr.
califano, what is there about that atmosphere and the people surrounding the president that would take a man like lyndon johnson based on your talk this morning and the knowledge that i have, he had a heart as big as that white house. he was for the little man. he probably would abhor any kind of war, yet he turned out to get us involved in that slaughter in vietnam. what would change a man once he sits in that chair in the oval office? is it the people around him? the atmosphere? what, mr. califano? >> well, with respect to the first part of your question, i don't think he thought he was stifling democracy. i think it is interesting, and i should note that in the eisenhower administration, when john foster dulles, the secretary of state, wanted to go into help the french at the time and eisenhower had some of the
senate leaders over there, lyndon johnson strenuously opposed the united states going in at that point in time. and eisenhower did not. we went in modestly with advisers. we put more advisers in with kennedy. why did johnson do it? i think the reasons are complicated. but i think, one there was a genuine belief. he waited a long time. he clearly was skeptical going all the way into mid-1965. all thfs advisers urged him to do it. there was a senate that southeast asia would fuel the communists, and i also think mixed in was the fear if he lost it, all those domestic programs he would not be able to get passed. remember, the republicans at that point in time and many southern democrats were very
anti-communist, very suspicious of the liberal wing of the democratic party as being soft on communism. and he feared that that would erode his power. and the senate, you had asked what kind of a senate and house he had when he got elected in '64. in the senate, he needed republicans. he needed dirksen, the senate minority leader of the republicans and liberal republicans to get those programs passed. >> lyn nugent, the room you are standing in in the texas white house is now a family room. but at the time of the johnson administration it was the president's office. what actual artifacts remain today that are part of his time there? >> well, this is the room we call the west room. and after my grandfather's death it was converted into a family living room. it still, however, has a few tell-tale signs of what it was when it was his office. for example, up on the western wall of the room is a television set. and facing the television set was the president's desk.
so it enabled him to keep an eye on what was going on in the world as well as being able to conduct business in the room. >> anything else? >> yes, ma'am, there's a number of -- the room is furnished with a number of items some of which are personal items and some of which are gifts of heads of state. on the back wall here we have several gifts from various european leaders. and over here on the north side, we have a lovely saddle that was a gift from the president of mexico. >> and leslie hart, would you talk a little bit about what the park services role is in relation with this house right now? >> well, it is a family home, of course. and what we do at this time is maintain the exterior grounds around the house and we work with mrs. johnson, of course, because she's very interested in the plantings and in maintaining the appropriate historic scene around the house and the yards. we run the ranch.
we don't have anything to do with the inside of the house. once mrs. johnson passes and we take over the management of the home, we will be probably restoring the west room back to the president's office and then eventually the home will be open to the public, which is her desire as well as the president's. and as mrs. johnson has told us, she hopes that it will be shown in a way that it would look as though she'd just gotten up and walked out of the room. >> we have about 15 minutes left with our three guests from texas and then the conversation continues from washington. let's take a call from st. paul. morning. >> caller: this is daryl hanson calling from st. paul. i guess i'd like to ask the author about president johnson's relationship with hubert humphrey. my understanding is that hubert humphrey was involved as the architect of many of the policies that the johnson administration had passed, as well as with the peace corps and
medicaid and so forth. thank you. >> i think -- i mean, the president selected hubert humphrey to be his vice president. hubert humphrey was the floor leader for the 1964 civil rights act. and johnson had an enormous amount of respect for humphrey. it was -- but there were moments when it was a very difficult relationship. i think the one i remember most was when hubert humphrey was first vice president. he was in charge of all the various civil rights committees of the government and johnson was worried about how tough hubert humphrey would be. and i'll never forget a wonderful story he told me one day at lunch. walter ruther who had come to the white house to tell johnson on one occasion if we didn't do something about the cities, they would be burned down. and johnson said, you know, walter ruther sits and comes in here and he has his hand in his pocket. ruther had had his arm shot in a
labor dispute years ago. he had a limp right hand. he said he has his hand in his pocket and he comes in here and tell hubert humphrey that if he doesn't rebuild the cities, they're going to burn them down and hubert rocks in the rocker and keeps smiling and thinking all the time, how can i get that hand out of his pocket so that i can shake hands with him. and lyndon johnson said, when hub either when walter comes in here and tells me that, i keep sitting and rocking back and forth in the rocker. i think, how can i get that hand out of his pocket so i can, excuse me, cut his balls off. he said that was the difference. i think he was worried about that. and, indeed, when we got down to the election in 1968, i think lyndon johnson's preference would have been to get nelson rockefeller to be the republican nominee. he was very -- he and nelson rockefeller were mutual admiration society. i he think thought rockefeller might have been more effective
in continuing pushing the great society programs than hubert humphrey would have been. >> the former first lady sat down with us for quite a long interview here at the ranch. and as part of our 12 hours of programming about the life of lyndon johnson. you'll see that interview in its entirety. let's take another caller. >> caller: when president johnson left office, he left a sealed envelope behind that was not supposed to be opened until, i think, 30 years or something like that. do you know anything about that? >> leslie hart? >> i don't know anything about that. >> no, i think you probably -- many people have done oral hift freers the lbj library and often when they do an oral history on tape they say, i don't want it released until 30 years after i die or 25 years after i give it. so that they won't hurt people that are living or invade their privacy. >> the lbj library is located in austin, texas. the other home for the johnsons.
and a special thanks to the director there harry middleton and pat borders and philip scott for their assistance in putting together this morning's program. you saw a lot of audio and video clips during this. and this came with their help. so we can give you a real sense of what lyndon johnson looked and sounded like. let's return to the inside of the house. lyndon nugent is inside. what's it like having a very famous name and being the grandson of a president that many people remember? >> well, it's indeed an interesting viewpoint or an interesting vantage point, perhaps, but my life and that of my sisters and my cousins, we've all been very fortunate and able to lead and pursue quite ordinary lives without -- we've been able to share in some great adventures and see and experience a lot of things. we've also been able to live a very ordinary life and pursue our own dreams and goals. >> how many johnson
grandchildren are there? >> there are seven of us. me and i have three sisters and three cousins. >> and how often do you come to the ranch? >> i try to come out here about once a month. sometimes more, sometimes less. >> you are a texan yourself so it's not such a long distance. >> no, it's not. >> where your right now? >> i'm in the living room. and the living room is the central point of this house. it is the place not only where we gather for thanksgiving and christmas and things like that. it's the central point of this house around which this house was built. as you know, the presidency is a very stressful environment. it's a place that it's a job that follows you no matter where you go. and this ranch in particular and this room in particular, i think, are one of the few places that my parents could come. they could return here. get away from washington for a short period of time. and get back to their roots and recharge their batteries so to speak. there's been a lot of exciting times that have happened in this room and a lot of interesting things stlat gone on.
>> cite one of them. >> not only is this a place where we gather for our own traditions, family gatherings, baptisms and whatnot, but it's also a place that every visiting head of state that ever came to the ranch passed through these doors and sat down in this room. so there's an awful lot of history in this small room. and it's quite a privilege to be able to stand here and reflect back on who has been here and what has happened here. >> joe califano, you have memories of that? >> the leather chair to lyndon nugent's right. i can remember lyndon johnson often sitting in that chair. there and where we're sitting right here, susan, the budget that was put together and the legislative program was really done in december. and early january. and it was done on this lawn and it was done in that room with the president bringing down the cabinet offices, and i would be there with the budget director charlie schultz and later charlie zwick. we'd go through their programs,
go through their budget. this is where he made the fundamental legislative decisions that characterized his presidency. >> since you bring up the budget, how do you look back on the economic picture during those days? >> remember it was, at that point in time, the longest period of prosperity in the history of the country. we had unemployment that was even lower than it is today. number one. number two, when people today say it's 30 years since we had a surplus, the last surplus was in 1969. lyndon johnson's last budget. it was after he passed the tax surcharge and i think as we got towards the end we had more inflation. but by and large, those were incredibly prosperous years, which was very important, historically in terms of the great society. remember, we were able to enact all those programs in health and education, urban mass transit systems that were built. all of that because the economy was growing so fast with the tax
cut that johnson pressed it for in 1964. we have more and more money going into the federal government. nobody had to pay extra taxes to pay for those programs. >> jefferson, texas. and as we listen to this, lyn nuj cent going to walk down the hallway of the house and join us next in his grandfather's bedroom. >> caller: good morning. i just thought i'd comment that the fact that mr. johnson's dead now makes everybody think he might have been some kind of a saint. i wonder if we remembered when he had those votes coming off of cemetery lots down in south texas and farr, texas was in on the skullduggery and, you know, there are a lot of things. i guess we have when somebody dies, all of a sudden, they've achieved sainthood. but maybe that's the best way to remember some folks. well, thank you. >> i might encourage you to watch also when we talk with
robert karro who has done a lot of research on the early part of lyndon johnson's political career and probably has some comments about those early races in texas. >> it's a wonderful funny story. she mentioned votes in a there is a wonderful story, i think it is really good. they occasionally tell it. it's of going through a cemetery, taking down the names of people so they can vote in one of the congressional elections. there were a couple grave stones where the names were worn off and covered with moss. and lenny walks by them and says lyndon johnson said, jack, scrape that off and get those names. they have as much right to vote as anybody else in the cemetery. >> in fact, that caller suggest that lyndon johnson is viewed as saint because he is no longer with us. but you suggested earlier you don't think that he's well remembered and in fact during much of this decade we look to the great society as the cause of some of the -- >> that's right. i really think that's
incredible. i think that johnson is not remembered. i think he is getting to be more and more remembered. i think it's largely because of the war and largely i often said the greatest scam of the 20th century is this assault on the great society programs. remember, nobody would rereal medicare. nobody would repeal medicaid or take away the education laws or the environmental laws. the laws that johnson passed are still what the democratic party is living on and trying to build on. they have changed america and i believe changed it for the better. >> some other thank yous in addition to mrs. johnson herself, her long time assistant shirley james for her help in bringing our program to the lbj ranch today. the staff at the texas white house including sue bellos and felix munos. particularly leslie star hart
and sarah justice and brian kerry. next, san jose, california. >> thank you very much for taking my call. you served two great presidents. if you'd be running to day, you would probably raise the national debate on politics which is gone pretty low. but that aside, i have a great story about president johnson to tell. when he came to pakistan, i forget the year in karachi, he spotted amongst the crowd all the camel drivers who was waving at him with flags and things. president johnson came down and shook his hand and, you know, took him into his entourage. later he invited him to washington, d.c. and he came as a national guest. he was just a common pakistani. president johnson was maybe not just a saint but also an idol for the muslims. i mean that in a good sense. i have one more thing to say, pakistan recently been in the news for governor bush not being
able to name the general. the general is a democrat in pakistan. and governor bush's statement about him being a. pakistani politics and pakistani democracy was right on the mark. but journalists and, you know, candidates these days are so occupied with pant suits and green shirts that any real debate on issues is not yet in politics. perhaps you should run, joe. >> thank you very much. would you consider running for the presidency? >> no, i never considered that. >> let me ask leslie parks in 1968 the president makes the decision not to seek re-election because of the great dissent in the country over the vietnam war. how many years did he live after he left the white house? what were those years like? >> he lived exactly four years and two days after he left the white house. he led a very active retirement. he was not in good health.
that was also part of the reason for his not running for office. he just did not have the physical strength and he knew it. he knew his time was limited. during his retirement years, he and mrs. johnson built the lbj library. he lived long enough for the opening and the dedication and a number of conferences that were held there. he taught at the lbj school. he loved to go in and lecture in classes. he worked the ranch. this was a big part of his life. he was a very hands on rancher. and he wrote his book vantage point. he did things here which i would like to tell you one story quickly. here at the ranch when the national park or the site was first established in december of 1969, it included the reconstructed brick house and boyhood home in johnson city. he was so interested and so
wanting people to come here and know about it that he would go down to that birthplace house almost daily when he was at the ranch to visit with people just to drop in up expectedly. which is sort of a tradition and mrs. johnson carries on today when she's here and she'll come on the porch and wave and say hello to people. >> you are already to show us a bit of your grandfather's bedroom. in fact, the room in which he died. >> yes. welcome to my grandfather's bedroom. this is the room in which he did pass away in january of 1973. the room as it looks now is virtually unchanged since january of 1973. and furnishings, the books, the clothes in the closet, and generally the whole room is as it once was. >> we always hear your grandfather describe a lover of gadgets. >> he was a lover of gadgets. he really was a true owe fish nad yoe offing in electronic or
anything that made a noise some of kind. >> are some of those things in the room? >> billiwell, we updated some o things in the room. but on the back of the wall here, behind the bed on the headboard you can see several buttons and several lights. the light switches, of course, control the various lighting in the room. the buttons on the left hand side were the high technology of the day and there are a variety of radio stations, woi, musac and including our own from austin which were able to pipe out for his enjoyment. >> would you walk us into the closet? people always see photographs of lyndon johnson and his cowboy hat and a lot of those familiar articles of clothing are still right there. >> this is the closet. as i said, it's generally unchanged since my grandfather passed away. his shoes, his hats, shirts, and pretty much everything else is right where we left it. >> do you feel sentimental
looking at all that? >> sentimental, sometimes even haunting. >> let's take a call. not much time left. kingwood, texas. >> yes, how are you? >> we're fine. what's your question? >> very quickly, regarding the opinion of lbj's political style which i think it is successful and regarding vietnam, i think the legacy will be that perhaps he did lose vietnam. did not win vietnam but perhaps the great society program did save america. and i think you're tremendous provider -- provide prehia histl aspect of lyndon johnson. thank you. >> the race riots, the concern over and the protests over vietnam and the assassination of martin luther king. looking back on it, did lyndon
johnson contribute to the turmoil or lessen it? >> i think in the sense that he was accelerating and part of dramatic change and promoter of dramatic change. and there was also dramatic change occurring in the country. it was changed in the racial area of problem and dramatic change there. affirmative action, he was the architect of that and the articulator of that. you couldn't put -- that was locked in chains against a race that was training at the same starting line and say it was fair. i think in that sense the tremendous political changes occurring, remember, part of poverty program, community action, he saw the city old machines, political machines unresponsive to the migration of blacks and the early migration of hispanics coming into the united states. he changed the immigration law. ending the immigration systems and changed the way we had that. and there were enormous changes
occurring in the economics of the united states. the big national companies. and the auto safety, the truth in packaging, tilting that was a revolutionary. and the united states was going after a revolutionary time. >> last call is from los angeles. >> he certainly deserves great praise for his work in the anti-smoking campaign. god bless him in that. i'm interested in his remark when he said a moment ago that lyndon johnson participated in an effort to cut taxes. as a commonwealth, the tax revenues kept pouring in and except for a small surtax later, the budget was balance the for the first time in a long time. kennedy did it, johnson did it, reagan did it and the same
result ensued that tax revenues increased. president clinton comes along and increases tax is. and then they claim some credit for the prosperity today. thank you. >> well, i think the economy was a critical -- lyndon johnson spent more time on the economy than on any other subject including the war and even including civil rights. he saw the economic health of the country being critical for being able to get the same great society programs through and making this country a fair society. >> your book, "the triumph & tragedy of lyndon johnson," one of the numerous biographies of the president that are available for those of you that want to learn more. this one is not currently available in print but it's coming out next year. keep your eye out for it. it is his personal recollections of his years inside the lyndon johnson white house. as we close here and reminder, much more conversation, as we
close with our three guests, i'd like to ask each of them the one thing you'd like lyndon johnson to be remembered for. let's start with the superintendent of the lbj ranch. >> i think his powerful commitment to education. i think he would want students to know not so much about him but about how important education is in their lives. >> and the grandson of the president? >> i think his love of humanity. i think mazz tthat's the one th that truly stands out for him. i think he had a tremendous love for humanity. >> and joe califano? >> i think two things, really. one, every citizen in this country had a right to share and the wealth and prosperity and dignity of this country. and, two, that it was unacceptable and intolerable for the country this rich to have poor people living in this country. he was determined to do as much
as he could about poverty and courage. he was ready to fall on the sword for what he believed in. whether right or wrong. whether it was the war in meet vietnam or the war on poverty or civil rights bill. he was willing give up his presidency in order to keep those things going forward. >> as we close out in texas, our thanks to the johnson family, especially the former first lady and the national park service staff for their help in opening up the lbj ranch, the texas white house to you this morning so you can get a sense of this place and the role it played in american history during the 1960s and also of the texas hill country and how it shaped the man who was our 36th president, we have much more to come in our discussion in many more opportunities for you to participate. in just a moment, we'll take you live to the united states capitol building.
the office of lyndon johnson in the late 1950s and during our next segment, we'll discuss more in depth his days in congress and his role with senate majority leader. first, we're going to show you his remarks as president in 1965 as he talked about the voting rights act. thanks again from texas. >> i speak tonight for the dignity of man. >> i ask all americans to join me in that cause. at times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single
place. to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. so it was at lexington. so it was a century ago at april lasha. so it was last week in selma, alabama. there long suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as americans. many were brutally assaulted. one good man, a man of god, was killed. there is no cause for pride in what has happened in selma. there is no cause for self-satisfaction and the long denial of equal rights of
millions of americans. but there is cause for hope and for faith in our democracy and what is happening here tonight. for the cries of pain and the protests of oppressed people have summoned all the majesty of this great government, the government of the greatest nation on earth. our mission is that once the oldest and the most basic of this country to right wrongs, to do justice, to serve man. in our time we have come to live with the moments of great crisis. our lives have been marked with debate about great issues.
issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and oppression. but rarely in any time does an issue bear the secret heart of america itself. rarely are we met with the challenge not our abundance or our welfare or our security. but rather to devalue and the surprises and the meaning of our beloved nation. the issue of equal rights for american negroes is such an issue. and should we defeat every enemy and should we double our wealth and conquer the stars and still be unequal to this issue, then
you're looking at the senate side of the u.s. capitol on capitol street. it's time to talk about the congressional years, the senate years of lyndon johnson. that portrait by norman rockwell is in the lyndon b. johnson room s-211 outside the senate chamber and in this loom is a man who thought about, written about lyndon johnson for 23 years. robert caro, what was it look for lyndon johnson when he had this room as his office? >> well this room, you know, was so ornately decorated then. they called it the taj mahal. coming in here this morning, i could only think of the grand chandelier, the wonderful colors, the gilt, everything wonderful 1th century.
but in this room really was exercised some of the rawest use of power. when lyndon johnson was majority leader, he rant senate. nobody has run it in this last century. the last two years of majority leader, he appropriated this office. >> what years were he in the senate? >> he came to the senate in january 1949 following his election to the senate. and he stayed into the senate until he left to become vice president. >> how many years did he have this office here? >> just two years, the last two years. he actually took it away from a committee because he decided has grandeur suited him. >> you have now written two books. one called "the years of lyndon johnson: path to power," what was that about?
>> that was about his early years. it's about his boyhood and youth in the hill country growing up, going to college, creating his first political machine, political machine was catapulted in his early career coming to washington, serving in the house of representative for 12 years. >> and your second book was what? >> it focused on a seven year period. between 1941 and 1948. where he's constantly trying to get into the senate but it seems impossible for him to do so. and he's very frustrated, very unhappy. turns a lot of his energies to making money, building up his fortune and at the end of that book 1948, he runs for the senate. the campaign where it seems he had no chance of winning. he really intended to leave politics forever if he lost that year. >> and your next book will come out when?
>> well, i have schedules. there are seven big parts of this much it's very long. the title is "master of senate." it deals with how power works in the senate, the history of the senate and how lyndon johnson made it into the senate. so there are seven points and i've done six. i'm starting on the seventh now. so if you say i finished it in another five or six months, then it takes publisher another seven or eight months to bring it out. that's when it will be done. >> so we shouldn't look for it next year in 2000? >> i really hate to give timetables. >> let's get back to this time period then. what happened in this room? >> well, in this room, johnson, you know, the secret of the success in the senate was that the senate was a small body. and he could deal with people
one-on-one. and lyndon johnson's great ability was in dealing with people one-on-one. he was a great reader of man. he could look into them and see what they really wanted. he used to tell his aides, watch their eyes. watch their hands. listen to that whar saying and what they're not saying. he used to say. the most important thing a man has to tell you is often what he's not telling you. so listen to what he's not saying. now in this room, he would call senators in for conferences. one i can tell you about dealt with the governor of maine and he lekted to the senate at the end of 1958. and when the senate comes back january '59, lyndon johnson thought they would chat. and one of the things that lyndon johnson said he used to have the saying that his father
used to say, when you're talking, you ain't learning enough. so he told him that he shouldn't speak too much. he should just sit atlanta arou listen. and he said don't make up your mind too early. they're very complicated issues here. wait until they get to the end. but there was about to be a very important vote that he wanted him to vote on. it was snad liberals to change the filibuster rule. and johnson laid out his argue am was the rule should not be changed. then he looked at mus beingy. he didn't say anything. lyndon johnson said you're not saying very much. and mus beingy said, they haven't gotten to the role call yet. he said i thought i was making a
joke. lyndon johnson didn't think it was a joke. and mus beingy voted with the liberals. and that night there was a party and musky said he was standing in the entryway with marcus trials and lyndon johnson comes in. there was some square feet of space. johnson walks over and said if i knew you were going to vote for a liberal, i wouldn't have spent five minutes with you. and there began the deep freeze. for the next six or seven months, lyndon johnson wouldn't even talk. the first thing that happened to musky, he put in a request for a number of committee assignments.
i don't remember what he wanted, but he didn't get them. he got the two worst positions. >> we're in room s-211. in a moment we'll show you -- bill has a camera. he's going to give you a context of where we are. if that window was open, you would see the supreme court of the united states. you walk out that door and can you walk right into the senate. how did he get elect lekted? was a tl a contest for that job? >> the senate majority leader? >> yeah. >> his early career in the senate is quite remarkable. that was a year when seniority felt embarrassing. you weren't even supposed to speak very much in the first term. lyndon johnson came to the senate in 1949. in four years he was democratically elected as the minority. in four more years he passed the first civil rights legislation
which his career he was almost rapid. >> by the way, we have a camera now. we can show where we are in this room. that's the supreme court. you can walk right across each front of the capitol where they used to have the inauguration. and he is pulling back to give you context of where we are. you can see right down where we're over here in the middle of the room. then if he goes back to the left, you'll see the door which you would walk out to go into the hallway and then turn right and go right into the senate chamber. i don't know that like this questionment i ask it anyway. what were the best things about l lyndon johnson and the worst things about him? >> in the senate? >> certainly the best thing is actually in a section of the book i just finished which is
pa passing the first civil rights act. it actually seemed impossible he would get the pass. at that time there were 15 great standing committees of the senate and the southerners and the chairman of eight of them, they were the ranking members of the other, every other committee the they had all the power. and the south was determined that no civil rights bill was going to pass. to watch lyndon johnson set out to get this bill through is really remarkable. i don't say i wrote it very well. but it's fascinating -- you can pray for day by day, hour by minute by the assistants, seeing the memos going back and farther. and he was an act of legislative genius that you really believed
if there hadn't been a lyndon johnson, that act certainly wouldn't have taken effect. and it's actually my feeling that if there hadn't been a lyndon johnson we might not really have the civil rights act of 1964 and '65 even today. that's a measure of greatness. >> we're going to go to the phones in a few minutes. john carol graduated from princeton. what you see is a door to the senate, by the way. the senate is not in session today so we can look at the hallway. there are elevators to either side. if bill goes to the right, you'll see the door where we are. you come through itment but go all the way around to your right, you can see where the door is down the steps where people are coming into this bulling. they can walk up the steps and into the senate.
that is the supreme court right in front. there. >> we're going to go to the telephone in just a moment to get your calls. we're going to talk about the congressional years of lyndon johnson, switching from the presidential years. however, our cameras are still live at the lbj rank which is an 1:15 ride from san antonio. rough lit same time from austin. you have spent time down there, bob carol? >> oh, yes. i spent a lot of years in my life. i wanted to get to learn the hill country. i'm a new york city boy. when i started the books, i realized i didn't understand what people were saying the hill country. it is very lonely isolated area. and lyndon johnson was growing up there. the lonliness, the isolation, the poverty is something that you just -- i had difficulty relating to. so i told my wife we're going to have to live down there. we went down there and for parts
of three years lived in a house in the country and for other years we go down there. >> bob carol will take our first phone call. this one from springfield, new jersey. >> hi, my name is rachael. i have a question about lyndon johnson's childhood. about his family life when he was younger and his education. did he have any siblings? >> sure. he was one of five children. you see him there. he is the tall one. his brother sam houston johnson is to it right and his three sisters are there. his father was a legislate you're in the texas state
legislature. really popular legislator. and who for a while was very successful. then he lost all his money on the hill country. if you made a mistake, hill country was very unforgiving. he bought a ranch, there was a drought. >> we go to austin, texas. go ahead, please. >> how you are? >> fine, sir, welcome. >> first of all, i'm sitting here and i'm wearing my presidential t-shirt that you gave me the other day in austin. >> thank you. good to hear it. >> i have to confess i didn't read every word in your book. i didn't hear you mention billy
lee bramer. do you know anything about that? >> sure. it's a wonderful novel. the main tashgs supposedly mr. brainer worked for lyndon johnson this time. and the main character in it is supposedly modelled by lyndon johnson. i find some of his models and it's a wonderful book. he appears in my next volume. he went to work for me until 1955. >> when he was in the senate, who was he closest to? >> who of his staff? >> other senators. >> he was closest to richard russell. he was the great senator and the senator with the most power. he was the leader of the corn caucus states. and johnson made it his business to be close to mr. russell and they became very close. >> bob carol studies lyndon johnson for 23 years.
the next book sometime in the near future. let's go to houston, texas. go ahead, please. you're on the air. >> good afternoon. you have to be very patient. i read your first book. i red the second one. i went to the local store and i wondered if you had it. i learned you have another boot coming out. is it safe to say that your two boots were not complimentary? >> there was a man intend on getting power. that's when those books are about. they have to have the means of dissent. the means he took to get the power were not at all pretty now in the third volume, in the beginning of this volume, he is still trying to get power in the senate which is really harder
than anything he's had to do. but on the second half of this volume, you're going to see him and he has the power and he started to pass the associate legislation which is the best aspect of flight. so the man's character is such a good thing. i don't think that the johnson loyalists are going to like it. it's absolutely amazinamazing. but if you can see the use of the glasses the drive and diversiontion he's now putting this to one glass of juice. >> next call again, houston, texas. you're on with bob carol. >> yes, sir? >> hello, mr. carol. let me just say i have never read anything as fascinating as
the first two volumes of your treatment of lyndon johnson and, please, sir, get on with it. i'm from houston and the big term of brown and root was mentioned here. could you tell us anything about the campaign contributions and other types of influence that they will have on the johnson years as it relates to his performance as the majority leader? >> well, i -- brown was a crucial factor in london johnson's group. there were two brothers, herm an brown and george brown. they created out of nothing a straight construction empire in the southwest.
we knew very little about the people in the southwest. herm an brown and lyndon johnson became close and made an early rise to power. >> next we go to california. you're on the air. >> mr. carol, i was particularly intrigued by what coach stephens said in the second book. i hope in this book you'll talk about lbj's relations with shall an shiffers. >> you know, senator yarborough was so helpful to him. he was the other senator from texas for the last four years that johnson was in the senate.
and he is a figure in the book. and we'll see an old fashioned texas look. >> go back to this room. >> yes. >> what would he use this room for? were there major decisions reached in this room? >> during the last two years that he was senate majority, you know, i have to say lyndon johnson, he he had so much space in this town that they used to call this johnson ranch. he had the entire western end of the building, six floors for his office. and then down here he had this room and then an office over there where the secretary satment he had three other rooms in the senate office building. but when he took this over and had it redone in what he considered green and gold, he considers the colors that he
wanted. and he loved the atmosphere and elegance here. but once again, when you talk to the people who came here with him. what you realize what was going on in this room was the exercise of power. this is where he would talk to people about their committee assign ams. about the bills that arer is -- are terribly important. you fwet it off the calendar for about in here there were very -- very tense moments. >> i want to show you a picture again from outside this building so you can see where we are and we have a camera that is mounted on the sixth floor of our office. and that is on your screen right now. we're located right there on the left hand side of the second
floor inside an office that if you were in here and you looked out the wind yoi you would see the supreme court of the united states across the street and bob carro is our guest. we have cameras located at the lbj ranch. the first place is about 12 miles from there. if you went the other way on the highway, you would get to fredericksbu fredericksburg. and our next call comes from celine, texas. good morning. what you would like to talk about? >> i'd like to talk to mr. carro, pleased. i was raised in junction, texas. and i was real interested. i read your book the three chapters on clark stephenson. i read this several time. and i'm a great admirer of coach
stephen son. the way i portrayed coach stephen son is the way he was portrayed. >> who washe? >> coach stephen son was the most popular governor that texas ever had. he won every time he ran. he won by the incredible margins. he's the only candidate for statewide office. he doesn't carry every one of texas's 254 pounter. he was considered invincible. he had been a cowboy. he raised himself up a very poor boy. he loved the range. he became governor. he was very conservative. the way i track the relationship for lyndon johnson is that johnson has to run against him in 1948. johnson cannot bear to stay in
the sous of representatives any more. it seems impossible. if johnson decides to try and to leave politics, he was going to leave politics if he didn't win. so what i had to do in the book is show why coach stephenson was so hot. why he was -- and the alleged is a true story. it's like out of a western movie. the other movies that he portrayed is that while lyndon johnson was using all the modern media techniques, pole lant, coach stephens campaigned in the old fashioned start. he and his sister always roll in town to town. lyndon johnson knew the new methods. i wanted to shoate old versus
the new. and when you show the old, there is something heroic about it. and that's the way i feel. >> we're talking about the senate years of lyndon johnson. again, those years are 1949 to 1960. >> who was the minority leader that he worked with when he was in the senate. >> when he started rabb ert tast was a leader. lyndon johnson can forget the making of people be friendly. he sat on the front. he was the majority leader, democrat or minority. so the desks were the first desk on the oppositeside of the aisle. at faft, i removed my glasses.
and gradually they fell into conversation. and they actually developed a respect for each other. johnson had an easy long room. he really didn't know it. william and noah because, well, he was a heavy set, heavy clothed on his fodder. he didn't extent as long as he normally does. >>caller: california senator? >> he ran for governor, i think. >> "the powerbroker" about robert moszzes. i find all the books of hiss. washington, d.c., next call. >> how sflu. >> that's my fault. >> thank you. there was an interview on mtr and talking about your moses
book. i'm interested in your book. i want to thank you, too, for pass the tower. i'm looking very much forward to your stechlt story. a number of my friends read this book as well. it was originally recommended to me. but after the second volume came out that in the first volume lady bird johnson kiped with the ribbons on the garland. is that true? >> no. mrs. johnson was very helpful at the beginning of my research. they stopped doing it long before i published them. and that's the kron allege of it. as far as telling other people not to talk to me, i didn't have
a yellow that i ever asked for. >> we're in the lyndon johnson room. it's s-211 off the senate floor. you can see it on your screen right behind us. here is a norman rockwell painting of lyndon johnson. we go to sarasota, florida. are you there sarasota? >> we'll take the next call. >> what you would say if he was talking to another senator? you would see lyndon johnson in action. one arm would be around the other senator. he persuaded the man to do what he wanted him to do.
>> there is dirksen. you're on with robert careful. dshg carol. >> i would like to ask mr. carol if he got ahold of jfk and these books and if you found it credible. >> i did read it. i'm afraid it's a rather overdra overdrawn. >> what's the nature of it? >> it's a book by extremely right-wing writer which they stand for one another at lyndon johnson's. >> by the way, one of the callers -- we still have cameras in texas at the lbj ranch.
one the callers talked about lyndon johnson being ruthless but successful. when the united states senate, when did you see him being ruthless? >> you saw him being ruthless all the time. >> that is part of his personality. it was genius. before he became majority leader, they decided he had to be voted. if things go by seniority, the leader doesn't have much discretion. that's not a source of power.
lyndon johnson who has anybody really real what he was doing changed the community system. they should give freshmen senators a chance. they're about building up parts. and the rule he put in was played at the johnson rule. the he is likes, no senators would have two appointments to pop committees. ander persuaded them, he persuaded the older schnozz to do this. when they did this, the discretion went to the democratic steering committee. so we see throughout the city either you were on his team, or they're basically saying i don't remember exactly. why aren't i appointed to
foreign velgss when i have the seniority. and johnson is saying, estes, i never had the feeling that you were on my team. and they came to know democrats came to know if you're on lyndon johnson's team, you are. if you are not on his team, you do a lot of things. this was a man who neverer if got. he never forgave frank chich, a freshman senator ones. he did something similar to what y'all say. johnson froze him out. church went to bobby baker and said basically when will this end? baker said, the leader has a long memory. >> atlanta, you're next with robert carol.
>> how are you? >> good. >> a book was published shortly after his death in the early 1970s. the most memorable thing i recall of that book is an inclusion that lyndon johnson wants. how much was he in love? it's prime motivation in life. first of all rg i want , i want you believe in this. you have done so much research over the years. do you like lyndon johnson or do you dislike him? >> will with, dan, to answer the quekd kun. can you hear me? >> yeah, you're on. to answer the second one, i never think that life would dislike is really an
aballisticable term. i'm fascinating by political power and how it works and how it affects everybody's lives. lyndon johnson understood that when you write about it, you're sort of offstruck by liz uses of it. there is a quote from lyndon johnson that says whatever they don't tell you about me, i know power. i know where to find it and i know where to use it. i learned how to find power and how to luce it. i think without this puj hower we would not have had the sifrt civil rights act which laid the basis for the area games. >> how long was the first book the years of lyndon johnson on the best seller list?
>> i don't know, 26 or 28 years. >> how about the second book? >> millions. that was the number one best seller in the country. i don't remember the number of weeks it stayed on. >> this is a bit off the subject. did you environment her sell any movie rights to this team? >> that's a complicated question. the short answer is yes. but it's never been made. >> san diego, you're next. >> i just want to tell you, want to tell you things and then ask you one or two questions if i may. i consider you a literary genius. while i'm at that, want to give
credit to your wife. she thinks i should do tremendous research. beyond that, i want to find out a, when is your next book coming out? b, where are you putting it? >> i'm you have write a regular center which we still live on central park. i do want to say a word about irna who has written 1-1. it's a great way to go around advance. when she's in france, i'm her chauffeur. for most of the time i'm the only -- i never had anyone else help me on my books.
>> were you ever invited? >> i was never invited. do you know why? >> well, i know why. i really don't like my books. >> has anyone ever told you to your face why they don't like your books? >> director at the library once wrote something about me. i don't now why they were bounded. i don't know he how to say to about myself. there are many biographies back in the day. but only if you took one-on-one. they both made the national circle which was 680 at that time and that is the best
nonfiction book i cleared. so when they tried to ignore it and freeze me out you really say, who do think they they're hurting? but the answer to your question is, no, i have never been. >> rain river, wyoming. you're on with robert carol. >> thank you. >> thank you. can you comment, if you ask of the relation between bloomfield and montana and jackson? >> if i can for those, i'm sorry. you put on a defensive lieutenant and if someone asks you, i was going to get all
four. he was a very effective -- very well liked, very well respected wesley and johnson needed wesley's help. his style was totally different from johnson. johnson was a dominating, i am boss. he was an effective majority. >> my producer is telling me that lbj library does sell your book or books down there. >> for many years they didn't sell my books. writers started writing about what they saw there. >> we're going to be here for at least another 35 minutes.
and while we're here, if you just joined us, this is the president of the united states, lyndon b johnson. those are his senate years. we're taking kalgz. we're in the london b. johnson room. kint of give you continuity for those of you that have been to washington or never been to washington. we'll show where you this room is. it's on the second floor. as bill turns to the left, you'll walk over to the window so you can see what you would see if you were lyndon johnson in those days when he would sit in that room. our next call is portland, oregon. >> good morning, gentlemen. i'm curious given the president's at that time conservative background. can you give us some.
[ background or have a breakaway. would it have gone against the grain of manufacture the early supporters? i'm really curious on that bad system. >> all right. terrific question. among the strains in lyndon johnson's cabinet, we see going all the way back to his juj. the passion for the poor, particularly the poor people of color, the most dramatic thing which is -- i foregoat them. i told people we need travel sizes. i wrote about that.
it's really a heroic thing. he said when he was president, i swore then and there that if i ever got the chance to help those underprivileged children, i was going to do it. that was a sincere one. >> i want to thank two people who have been very helpful to us throughout this whole project. dick baker and i'll bet robert knows dick baker and dot richy. >> the united states has a very valuable resource in those two men. before they came, you had the hardest time learning anything about the senate side. this is an institution that is quite fascinating.
i could be sitting there in new york at any moment and i come into something i don't know. you can pick up the phone and call dick baker and richee. their knowledge is remarkable. and thanks to them, we have never had -- we had a series of addresses but one of the things i try to do is give a history of the senate. i think it's important that we understand its place in american government. >> as long as we still have the electronic connection. we want to show you the lbj ranch that is a live picture. about to lose it.
their first child, first grandson of the presidents born back during the time that he was in the white house. you can see where the senate you would be on the floor of the senate. and also from time to time, tourists can come up that door if they have special access and walk inside this room. as they are talking about the senate years of lyn don johnson. go ahead, please. you're on the air. >> i just want to say, first a
>> when did you work for him and where was he from? >> he one one of only two to vote against the tonkin resolution. 24 years in the united states senate. i think that was one of the dynamics and lbj gave him a position. >> when did you work for him? >> from 1971 when we were trying to get back. i worked for him, you know, as a student in 68.
had a close election. morris was instrumental in him being elected. and then i worked up through 74 to july. the period of water gait. we may very well as beaten them. >> thank you. >> you remember correctly. johnson was asked by an independent. i any i am misquoting myself in the book. johnson said whatever committee he wants.
and johnson was majority leader. he was a senator that really remained independent. and basically johnson was always trying to keep them under control with varying degrees of success. >> next call, topeka, kansas. >> good morning. >> i, too, am pleased to hear that you are among the living. i have been awaiting your third book. you were the one i believe many years ago that got me interested in lyn don johnson as a fascinating man and the man that would think nothing of spending 16, 18 hours a day working.
i might ask the person with whom he was the closest might have -- might not have been sam ray burn but the question that i have is i'm in -- i don't want you to give away too much that you covered the relationship of -- the one that i find extremely interesting between president johnson and john edgar hoover. could you comment on that, please? >> i am going to get to that. i'm not up to it yet and i would rather not comment on it yet for that reason. you know, i will say they live -- if you go up to where johnson's house was, however's
house was diagonally across the street. >> do you ever get tired of covering and thinking about and writing johnson? i didn't -- i never was interested in writing the life of lyn don johnson ch. i never had any interest in that. i wanted to use the lives to show how wower worked in the united states. so each book is different. i had to learn to whatever extent i could how power worked in the senate which i don't think has ever really been explored. the last volume i'm going to take because of the civil rights and voting rights act, going to
go and live. i think you have to live at least pretty close to a year in the southern city. what difference did that make in people's lives? what's the effect of power on the people that are affected? at the same time it's johnson. you're going to go and live. to live in vietnam. i want to go to one of these villages. to see what it's like. i wanlt to be able to explore that comfort what it's like when
when an industrialized nation makes war on a -- backward is not the right word. less industrial life. >> let me ask you, do you have any suggestion as to what city might be in the south yet? >> i have to finish -- >> how old are you? >> 64 years old. >> and you have another year or so before this other book would come out. that will make you 65. how long do you think you are going to be able to be interested for the fourth volume? >> you ask good questions, as always. one of the reasons that this volume has taken, i wrote three books. this one is taking the longer. about two years longer.
i have had to do a lot of the research for the fourth volume now. the reason is people die. you know, off the gold burg. people are always calling me. lyndon johnson's cardiologist called me about three weeks ago. i'm writing this rather complicated thing on the civil rights by 1957. the phone suddenly rings and it's dr. jay willis hurs. he treated his heart attack in 1955 and treated him up to the time of his death. he said you know, i would like you to come down to talk to me. so you can't just go. first you have to get johnson's medical records.
you have to study them. and then you go down to atlanta. i stayed for what? only three days? maybe it was just two days. but it takes time to do that. there have been a number of people who are very important for the fourth volume. you know they're getting old. you also know if you want to ask intelligent questions, if you want to know what they're talking about, you have to go through their files. i mentioned that i'm going to turn these four volumes into one volume. if i live long enough. if i live long enough that's what i want to do. >> go ahead, please.
thanks for waiting. >> thank you. a few callers back a.man asked a two-part question. >> thanks a lot. >> that's my fault. >> i forgot. that's a statement which is basically you can say it's true but then you have to say what is love. it is a rather imprecise statement. johnson had great needs of gratitude for affection, for dominance, for power. you can say gratitude, respect and affection, that's love. if you say it that way, he really did have that need. and you learn about his boyhood. i thought myself, certainly to
my mind, the most poignant thing i ever learned, because he had tried so hard to conceal it not because there was anything that he should have been ashamed in it but because he was say hamed of it. and you understand him after you learn that and you see how every nefrg his life went back to that. >> all those people on the screen there are dead and buried, most of them, right there on the property? >> sam is dead. i'm not sure of the current status of the others. i haven't been in touchdown with rebeck ka. >> they are right on the property at the lbj ranch are the grave sites. there is a spot there to the left for mrs. johnson.
>> he has a bad heart attack in 1955. at night he used to walk down to this grave site. often if someone was with him, he would draw a circle with his foot and say that's where i'm going to be buried. >> thank you very much. i think the secret behind president johnson -- >> i'm sorry. i didn't understand what you just said. >> i think the secret behind president johnson's leadership is the fact that he connected with people on a personal level weather it was a democrat or republican. he could be hard with him on the issues. but a personal angle to connect with. he was in a city in the middle
east where he picked up a camel cart driver the driver was not influential by any means. he went directly to the people. even in a city like that, he was considered the most beatful city by any standard. he could walk zpoun meet a person in the crowd. could you imagine bush or president clinton doing that. >> that's right. you're absolutely right. he could connect with people in this marvelous magical instant how did you do it way. and you see when he was running for congress the first time, he didn't seem to have a chance. he would electrify these audiences by saying heck, he would remember we were at the
races. he could identify with everybody. he would say i helped your kid stay in school. how is joseph. he had a genius, truly genius for dealing with people. >> we have been watching candidates in the last year and almost all of the candidates have had their pictures taken with ordinary folks. there was a picture on the front page of the new york times with george w. bush actually kissing a little black girl and i'm wondering whether or not this man is right about johnson having this personal touch more so than all of the pligss today. >> i'm not -- i have to say i can't -- i don't know that much about the pligss today to compare him. you're seeing it there on the screen. when i wrote about his first
campaign to congress, you see him relating to old farmers. he went around texas in it. he would land. he would get out and he would talk to the people and all of these elderly farm wives, he would kiss them and hug their husbands. he would say i know how hard your lives are but i'm for roosevelt and roosevelt is helping you. he found the right words to say to people. >> go ahead, bob caller caller great show. i was curious to know what the relationship between senator john kennedy and lbj was when they were both serving in the senate. i'm curious to know, lbj was a domineering figure.
the senator was obviously his popularity was rising. it almost seems like a roll reversal when he became president. lbj was second. >> while they were in the senate together, to find the answer to that question, johnson was the leader. and zach kennedy was just a freshman senator. he sad in the back row and johnson did not regard him as a force in the senate as all. >> springfield, you're next. caller caller hi. i'm from new jersey. today's society, when people run for office, they do a lot of campaigning and i was just wondering how lbj went about getting the young american votes.
>> the young american vote then was only 21. >> well, i suppose you are talking about campaign against barry goldwater in 64, that was his only national campaign. i think he addressed the needs and i think he spelled out in this brilliant way he had of cutting to the heart of the problems the fact that he was a liberal and that the liberal greed is at the uses of government to improve lives in general of people. that's the liberal standpoint and the conservative standpoint is more status quo. i think that that appealed to young voters. >> robert carol worked for six years for the long island newspaper. has written three books since
1967. one in 1982. and then there is the means of ascent in 1990. we are in s to 11 here in the united states senate building just a few feet away from the united states senate floor. we will show you a little bit more of this room. was this hanging here when johnson had this office? >> i was hoping you would not ask that. i am not sure if it was this chandelier or another one. he did not like the one in this office. he had one moved out and another moved in and something was moved back but i don't know which one. >> people who teach for a living, high school, middle school, young kids, we have our c-span in the classroom program that provides you with a lot of special information and a time
line chart we want to make sure that you have those items for your use in your classroom. it's free of charge. we're not coming back at you for anything. we don't want anything in return. we want you to enjoy this material. the number is on the screen. folks are in that officer right now. if you're watching this not live, there will be an audio tape to take your number. you must be a classroom teacher. as we take a call from robert carol. go ahead, please. caller caller good morning. thank you for taking my call. greetings from the beautiful but very wet city of seattle. in all of your research work on
lbj, have you found anything and i want to say anything that would link lbj to the assassination of john kennedy or the cover up. >> no. >> next call, lexington, kentucky. go ahead, please. >> hi, i'm calling from minnesota. >> you're on the air. caller caller i was wondering if you were speaking about the chandelier in the office. i helped with a couple of books on white house history. i wonder if that chandelier wasn't in the east room of the white house during president grant's administration. at one point jack lyn kennedy and her great restoration had lyndon johnson as vice president
bring a chandelier from the capitca capitca capitol and it was hanging in the treaty room of the white house. i don't know if it was that particular one. i would like to know since the tapes have come out with lyndon johnson that there was quite a closeness between he and mrs. kennedy and his relationship with the president. thank you. >> the chandelier, you are very good on your history. if this is the chandelier that was here in the 1950s, it is the same one from the treaty room. as i say it was changed a couple of times. president johnson and mrs. kennedy did have a real rapport and a real closeness and i think he was very considerate in his
relationship with her. >> she mentioned the audio tapes which we run and they can also be heard via the interyet. why do you think they released the audio tapes? >> when i first -- when i first went down and asked about the tapes in the johnson library, i was told that they were not going to be released for a long time. i think they said and i may be mistaking the length of years that they were not going to be released for 50 years. they have their own reasons for releasing them. i'm going to take a pass. >> do you think they have helped or hurt the johnson presidency? >> i think they have certainly helped the johnson presidency. i think the more than that, i think they helped the american understanding of what i think is so important. how political power when you listen to him dealing with these
senators and other people, i remember the tape that he did with mr. catherine gram where he is telling her how important it is to get a rifl rights bill on the floor through the house and on the floor of the senate early and he says, you know, because if you don't, richard russ el is too smart for them. he will stall at the east by the time you come back it will be the next time and that is just what russ el did. it is one of the best explanations of how the senate defeated civil rights legislation. >> were you surprised to hear in an interview that we did that she did not know those tapes were running?
>> i'm not surprised, no. >> next call. denver, colorado. you're on the air. >> good morning. i have a question about the 1958 texas senate race. my grandfather was on the texas preem court in the 40s and 50s. in 58 he ran the u.s. senate and i have always wondered if the brown brothers and johnson had any role in my grandfather's defeat. and i would also like to say that i think the path to power was the single best biography i have ever read. >> thanks a lot. the brown brothers were -- this is one of the complications was that her man and george brown were reactionaries.
to use the terms that they would use to describe african-americans and they supported this president who was our greatest, in my opinion, our greatest civil rights president. but they did play a role in the fit year election. i have never been convinced that johnson played a big roll in that election. >> yes, i read your biographies and it was absolutely chock full of inaccuracies. and a lot of people have said so, including the press secretary. including bill moiier, baker and roberts. all of these people that were so dloes lyndon johnson have said this is absolutely a travesty.
>> do you have any examples of what was inaccurate? >> well, i will tell you this, they are so numerous that i could go on and on and on. i will tell you this, i'm a relative of lbj and i was there in 1958 in the senate years and i worked for bobby baker. and during this time i will tell you that this next biography that comes out, there is a lot of people who will know whether he was pruj dishl or not. >> if you're going to give an accusation about all of these inaccuracies, don't you think you ought to name one or two? >> his portrayal of stevenson is a remarkable twisting of history. >> like what? >> well, he portrays colt stevenson, talking about george and herman brown being reactionaries. if there was anybody more for civil rights, nobody knows who that is.
that's wrong right there. to make stevenson who rigged brown county during the same election. >> i'm afraid i just don't agree with you, sir. i wasn't aware -- that all of these -- i certainly sort of resent very much you saying that george found the book inaccurate because i happen to know what george ready thought because i spent a lot of time with him. as to the other things you said it's such a broad brush that i wouldn't even try to answer the question. >> what's your relationship with johnson? are you there? boise, idaho, you're next. caller caller i just had a question about lbj's relationship with the governor of texas.
i understand initially he started as secretary. over the years i was curious if you could shed any light on their relationship. >> connolly was in many ways the assistant closest to johnson. it went all the way back to i think he went to work for johnson when he was only 29 years old. johnson was at the time a young congressman. johnson really relied on connolly. connolly was very close to him they thought a lot alike in many ways. at delicate times in johnson's life he wanted connolly to do thi things for him that he wouldn't really trust anybody else. >> back to the list of people
who were critical of you. bobby baker, is he still alive? >> various jobs but he was secretary to the senator. >> he would have been in this room? >> i'm sure he would have. >> have you ever seen any public criticism from him? >> i don't see every word that's written about me. i'm aware that many of the johnson assistants don't like my books at all. >> how long did roberts work for him as his secretary? >> that's another person, i'm not familiar with anything she said. >> secretary for how long? >> i don't know. >> is she still alive?
>> yok so. >> and you have never talked to her? >> no. >> bill moyer? >> briian, some of them are -- they are taught under all different rules of whether they talk to me or not. but bill, i actually, i don't think i have ever tried to talk to him. i do my books kronlogically. and in my books, moyers is just about to come swoo sboo the story. could you tell me if president john sop was a member of the armed forces of our country? >> yes. he was a member of the naval reserve. >> when was it.
can you talk about it a little? >> sure. i forget the year that he enlisted in the naval reserve but when world war ii broke out, he i forget the term, but he went on active service. however his active service consisted of a single mission that he flee as an observer in the pacific. >> who was his greatest most vocal opponent in the senate somebody who really took him on? >> well, that's a wonderful thing. paul douglas, i think was his most vol call. >> a democrat? >> oh, you see, one of the things we haven't gotten into today, the life of johnson is a very complicated life. he was -- he was on one side
they were on -- many other names that are less known to history were on the other side. bawl douglas was a very elegant crew sating liberal who year after year would lead the fight for civil rights. each time douglas and the liberals were defeated by maneuvers organize straited by lyn don johnson chl and it's an amazining feat. one of the concerns of this volume that i'm working on now is difference between i don't want to talk too much but you really said could these guys
have ever with all of their idealism and great insarty ever gotten a civil rights bill sound? my feeling is no. johnson happens to go through the senate. and there is even a scene in my book, quite a wonderful one not in this office but in his office upstairs, johnson's office upstairs where it's not about civil rights but about a public housing bill that greatly benefits minorities. johnson gets it through, one that is really fun to right about, making him think he has all of these votes, you know? and then all of the sudden, johnson knowing he had the votes. all of the sudden the southerners came in and it was
no, no, no. it was a brilliant maneuver. and douglas after the vote johnson sort of holding court in the room up on the next floor. they are having drinks and celebrating. powell douglas comes in and he stands near the door and this was very hard for him to do. he says i don't know how you did it, lyndon, but you did it. and it's another great victory. >> senator powell dog laus, a democrat from illinois. we go to canon city, colorado, for robert. caller caller yes. i read a book during the gold water johnson campaign and the title of the book was the texan looks at lyn don.
the author and i just wonder if you had ever read that book and if you have, could you comment on that. >> we had that question earlier. for those who were not listening. >> i have read it but i didn't find it very accurate. >> ten minutes left with our guest. >> this is really fun. i was reading an old book. i free went a lot of old bookstores. what is interesting is if i look at johnson, i feel like that he was a pie grabber. i feel like he almost got tangled nup the welcome back that he spined.
i am fra oklahoma. >> thanks. >> thanks. did he? did he get tangled up in his own web. >> i'm not quite sure what that means. but there was a lot of investigative reporting which holds up. >> san francisco, you're next. caller call >> i want to ask if i could if he has any information or norj of lbj's opinion about the assassination. >> i'm not quite up to that. i do my research chronologically and this book is really about johnson in the senate. i will take a pass on that question. >> people who are still alive and libraries involved in this can be extremely sensitive.
we have had a lot of difficulty. i wish we could tell all of the stories that have gone on. have you had difficulty? we have not had any difficulty with the library. have you had any difficulty trying to study this man despite the fact that you are writing some tough criticism. >> i will answer that. i was unhappy because i didn't get to put in all i wanted to to that.man who was telling me how critical so many johnson people are about my books. of course i know they are. i think we have 1600 pages. yobl there is one fact that anyone has ever disproven. it's almost like i feel like i
was one of the reporters covering the vietnam water. they never invid me to anything. which is not a minus in my view. i would i do enough speaking as it is. but on the other hand, approximate the staff of the library and the archives have made it to the general calls and lieutenants in vietnam, they are quite wonderful to me. huge if you go this library, it it's a huge place. so you yourself would never really know all the places to look. for something that you're
interested in. but the archivists have been through all of these years uniformly wonderful. >> i want to thank gary, secretary of the senate, for letting us come into this room. it's not the easiest thing in the world to get this kind of thing done. our own producers, executive producer of this series was mark. pooers was a producer down at the ranch and responsible for this stop. i have only got time for a couple more cars for robert in s 211. >> my aunt and uncle drove me from midland, texas, to carlsbad cavern and told me the story
about how johnson and bobby and jack kennedy were in a lifeboat together and they only had one life preserver and the boat started to sink and jack said that i'm the president and i should have the life jacket and boppy said no, the torch should be passed and lyndon said no we should vote and the vote was 11-2 and he won. i only share that joke as a profound thanks to you. i think is the best of the political biographer. i read every one of your books and look forward to the next one. >> thank you. >> by the way, paul is one of our other producers and working on the reagan stop which will be at the ranch. we are going plains for the jimmy carter program.
for that particular program and then in hope, arkansas, will be our last program on december 21. where bill clinton was born. caller from new york city? >> hello. i'm going ask you based on your reflection, do you feel that lbj really pushed through the civil rights legislation because it was his own belief or do you think he was concerned with his legacy? >> as i said earlier in the program, with johnson, everything is complicated. i do believe that going back to his youth, his compassion is sort of a one way. his sympathy for, his understanding of the needs of poor people of color that's part
of it. >> one last time i want to give that telephone number for classroom teachers. 202-626-4858. that is the number you call to join c-span in the classroom. they're all on the internet. they're all going to be repeated over a ten day period. you will be able to record them and keep them on the shelf and use them in the classroom. and the times will be on the web site and we will also give them as we get closer. we have also got a night coming up that you historical types will really enjoy. we will take our cameras live over to the library of congress. back behind the scenes, something that has never been seen before. find things that are written 200
years ago. that will be on the evening of december 16. we will tell you more about that as we go. the clinton program is on december 20. in all of your looking at johnson, kind of a take off from the last question on new york city. we have been able to listen to all of these audio tapes and you hear him talking about race and black people and he uses the n word in three different ways. the harshest one of course is nigger. then negro and negra. do you have any sense of whether the man was a racest at all? and why did he use those tierms and what did he really think about black people during those days that he was passing civil rights. >> again, he used those terms.
you know, he sometimes used them in a very cruel way. he wanted to hurt somebody, his way was often with his tongue to use his tongue as a lash to hit someone at its weakest point. kwhen he would be angry at someone, he would say do this sport. do that. the same time he had violently conflicting emotions. as i think i said a couple of times here, i think that very real was his -- everybody when you talk about people's views on race, it's never something. we could talk about mine, i'm sure. it's never an easy thing to talk
about. it's the great moral question. the great moral problem of our time. the moral problem of our time johnson provided the greatest moral leadership. i quote in this volume, they just didn't need it. it's not that black people needed only help, they needed a specific kind of help. they needed laws. it's only through laws that injustice can be. in creating the laws johnson did more than any president since lincoln. he did more than any. if you look at it from a governmental standpoint he did more than any other person with white skin in the 20th century. so when you say he had violent
emotions that would come out and really bad, maybe he had strains of proof. and, i have -- i think i will leave it at that. >> robert carol, 23 years studying johnson has written two books. has at least two more to go on lindon johnson. one may be coming called master of the senate. his senate years 1949-1961. we are in s-211, on the sec floor of the capitol here looking this way towards the supreme court and you can see the norman rockwell painting on
new series, first ladies. >> if you're a middleover high school student, c-span wants to know what's the most important issue congress should address neck year. with $100,000 in total prizes. the deadline is january 20th. get more information at student cam.org. it was founded in 1824 by land speculator s