tv First Ladies Influence Image CSPAN December 30, 2013 9:00pm-10:31pm EST
>> coming up on c-span, our first laties series features the life of lady bird johnson. then a discussion on the january 1 start of coverage under the affordable care act and what's ahead in 2014. >> a beautification, to my mind, is far more than a matter of cosmetics. me, it describes the whole effort to bring the natural world and the man-made world harmony, to bring youthfulness, delight, to our whole environment and that, of course, only begins with trees .nd flowers and landscaping talkingbird johnson about beautification, her
signature issue as first lady. campaigner,tural successful businesswoman and husband,tner to her lyndon johnson. you the storytell of claudia taylor johnson known ourady bird, the wife of 36th president. here to tell her story are cokie roberts, political commentary for abc news and npr, also the books, "founding mothers" and "ladies of liberty." curly is an expert of working on a biography lady bird johnson. i want to start with the beginning, where we were 50 week, this is an administration birthed in national tragedy. the immediate challenges for the brand new the firstle in
terrible days after the assassination of kennedy. >> it was enormous. nobody knew if it was a widespread plot so the country was in terror for a period of had to be both taking over and making sure that peaceful transition of power without seeming to take the image ofof kennedys out the of the way so they had to be very, very careful in how they handled it and lyndon johnson birdery lucky he had lady to help him with that because she had a good ear for knowing exactly what to say and when to it. >> in particular, what did she do during those first weeks? she said she felt she was on stage for a part she never be hardd but it would to find a first lady better prepared than she was and she immediately started taking notes. we have her short hand notes while she was still waiting to hear whether president kennedy
died and on the way back on the plane she started making plans for putting her radio station trust so sort of blind they would not be accused of profiting from it so she really over very fast. she was a good study. >> i like to just play off of idea of her taking notes because this was an administration which documented extensively. there was a daily diary she recorded of herself. also the lyndon johnson phone tapes which many people -- >> fabulous. -- who love political history are aware of and there was a television crew that followed first couple around and documented. is this new to this beenistration or had this going on for a while with presidents? >> i think the amount of documentation is new. record every day because some days were too full but she would -- she had a machine and ong days that were too busy, she brown envelopes with menus or lists of people she had
son and would get an hour or some day and sit down and record so the recordings are still being transcribed. they're wonderful. her white house diary which people may have read is i think that's only an eighth of what she has on those tapes so we're waiting for the of it to come out. >> there were before this recordings, of course. kennedy recordings. we have roosevelt recordings. but john quincy adams' wife lady when she was first the autobiography of a nobody which tells you something about time soe of mind at the there was -- i think most first awareness of the magnitude of the job but lady ofd johnson had such a sense history that she understood, she said she dared herself to keep a understood that was something special. >> throughout this program we will see some of the video from the naval crew that followed the
couple around to document their days in the white house and hear some of the quotes. this is lady bird johnson on november 22, 1963, recording that first tragic day that the whiteem into house. >> mrs. kennedy's dress was stained with blood. one leg was almost entirely with it and her right caked.as that immaculate woman, it was her husband'sod, blood. she always wore gloves, like she them and that was the most poignant dressed andisitely caked in blood. i couldn't be of
help herto come in and change and she said, oh, no, right, perhaps later i'll ask for mary gallagher but now and then was something, for a person that gentle, that dignified, had an of fierceness. she said, i want them to see to jack. have done he should should be there in dallas as quickly as possible. there, in the very narrow confines of the plane were left, her hair falling in her eyes but very then lyndon and right.was on his judge hughes with a bible in
him and a cluster of people andice congressmen we'd known a long time. the oath of office. >> what are you hearing there should understand be lady bird johnson? >> she's very specific. i had forgotten how she gets so many details and her description that and before that when she talks about walking into the hospital and the kennedy car was saw thisre and she bundle of pink blosesoms and the blood around it. she's a very astute observer, wonderful. writer and she's aware of that. she writes intentionally but she's clearly -- she's also recording.et in that you can hear it. and she's trying to both but ate the situation the same time give homage to
kennedy, this very meticulous woman caked in blood, all of that to say, she's trying to tell you what was happening waynot to in some sensationalize it. >> for her following in mrs. kennedy's footsteps, cokie roberts referred to this dance of beinge respectful but needing to take control. the two women's relationship like? >> well, lady bird johnson, many said, you must be -- this is a daunting act to follow. she said, well, feel sorry for mrs. kennedy, not for me, my husband.ill have and i think she made a special effort not to imitate in any way some of the projects she considered, for example, beautifying the mall. lyndon johnson advised her not to do that because the kennedys done something similar but
absent -- shegly didn't have envy of anybody. she seemed to consider the kennedys a different generation and i find her amazing in that regard that she knew that kennedy was extremely popular and yet she knew that she had a lot to offer, too. she filled in for jackie kennedy many times. that's something you have to keep in mind. lots of times mrs. kennedy -- she was pregnant, she lost a baby, she of times, aa lot lot of things she didn't want to filled in soohnson she knew the role well and she washingtonessential political wife. she had been on the scene since 1930's and she really knew it well and she had a cadre of political wives who were and extraordinary women they all gathered around her and made -- that also made that
transition somewhat easier. >> we should say at the outset, among those women who gathered around was your own mother. can we talk about the friendship your parents and the johnson? >> my father was first elected congress in 1940. he was 26 and my mother was 24 was before world war ii so the rules were still there of calling. had to go calling and there was, you know, the supreme court on monday, the cabinet on i'm making up the days -- but the senate on wednesday, like that. and there was my mother, this 24-year-old girl except people were older then than they are now so her first day of having to go calling and the horn honks she goes running down and it's lady bird johnson and pauline gore, al gore's mother, and they took her calling that first day and the friendship has been very warm since to the point, all through their husband's political lives and then when
they both became widows they traveled together and had a wonderful time together. >> we're going to step back in time and learn more about the woman whoof the became first lady on november 22, 1963. before we do that, a reminder involvement. these programs are interesting because of your questions. join in tonight. c-span'sweet us at website. we're also taking questions from people on our facebook page and can call in -- so, her biography. whom?was she born and to >> you can't really say a town because it's a house outside the really not much of a town, either. 1912 --texas, in
december 1912, in a big house. one of the things i found in studying first ladies is how many of them married down. that is, may married into considerably below ly,irs economically, social sometimes even education and it toe a big impression on me drive past the house where lady bird johnson was born, the 17-room house, and go 300 miles, drivehe louisiana border, 300 miles west and see the four-room-ground cabin where lyndon johnson was born so she came from a far wealthier background than she did. >> what were the important things to know about her and what shaped her? >> i think the death of her mother. her mothery 5 when died in what i consider mysterious circumstances and she very lonely child although she said she wasn't but how any otherknow what childhood would be like. she had two older brothers but
boarding sent away to schools. >> and they were a good bit older. >> a good bit older and they sent away to boarding school. tommy, the oldest brother, she knew him.ever when he died in 1959 of shereatic cancer, she said cried harder than she cried in her life so it was a lonely childhood. even her name, lady bird, the typical story is it came from a in herut she says interview with mike gillette, little was really two african-american playmates, the children of hired help, who becauseto call her that they didn't like claudia but it considered acceptable to say she had african-american wasmates so the nurse brought in and it was attributed to the nurse, the lady bird. aunt was someone she ofed up having to take care so there she was, this little
girl, all by herself, in this father who was a around but had no clue what to sort ofher and this nutty old southern aunt and some there but the and big advantage to that was she became a world class reader. how important was it for women of that vintage to get an education? was it unusual that she went to college? yes, slightly, but by that time more women were going to college. 1920'sot talking the into the 1930's so yes. it was more common than it was clearly a generation before that. >> do we know why she was interested in journalism? i think for a lot of -- do that?ve an answer to >> she was interested in high school so it was an early interest and i think it was part thatr plan to get out of area, to get out of that part of texas. >> i also think for a lot of write, theycould had learned to write and that
was something they thought they could do. mother wanted to be a journalist, too. and they both ended up as politicians. the interesting thing about her approach to it, here she was she a wealthy family but not only got a college degree but also a teaching certificate stenography. >> that's what a girl did to prepare for all possibilities. but isn't it interesting that she felt the need to prepare for all possibilities with as much she had. >> yes, because she had a good income. inheritinghe was about $7500 a year in the 1930's which is about what five school could make but her aim was to get out of there. far-away place like hawaii or alaska. to the same journalism school as walter cronkite. they had the same professor, singled out the same professor as a favorite. cronkite said he was a good professor. his name was paul bolten and she hired him to head the
news division, that same she bought the radio station. so i think we forget how very well trained she was as a journalist. how did she meet lyndon johnson? supposedly,chance, but it was certainly through a woman they both knew and they must have heard something about other before. it was a september afternoon dropped intod had the woman's office. ar name was jean barringer, woman lady bird had grown up with although the woman was older than she and lyndon the same office on the same day and it was as lady bird says in one of the interviews, it was electric going from the first minute. and the love letters which have the courtship letters which were released by the library last valentine's day. everybody should read them online. put "l.b.j. courtship they werend
conducting a hot and heavy courtship there. >> and fast. to waste anyoing time. she was either going to marry him or not. >> he was at the time a congressional aide. right. >> so she knew she would be life in politics? >> i guess so. runcould be an aide and not but he clearly had ambitions and she was for those ambitions. call it whirlwind but it seemed like he was very directed. wanted her from the git-go. was she encouraging this? she have any feelings about it? >> from her own oral history, said, hold on here, as anybody would, and he mean,ially said, well, i are you going to marry me or not because if you're not let's just other and she didn't want to have him gone so she finally said, ok. approve?r father >> he liked lyndon but he thought it was too fast. they met on september 6 and up on halloween,
so what is that, seven weeks i mean, the time they had spent together which was about five days, i think, and he rightady to get married then so even the father said this is too fast and the woman thought itced them was too fast and the aunt yes,ht it was too fast so, against really all the family she went ahead. i think she said when she got in the car that saturday morning down to drove san antonio to get married, she didn't know whether she would way so she didn't make up her mind until 6:00 when went down to the church. >> and was very young. 22 and he was 26 when they married. wasn't quite 22, was she? she was just 21 because her so that came afterwards was normal. >> that was a normal time to get married. >> before we learn more about their political life, let's take a few calls. in oakland,th james california.
>> i had two questions. one is, did lady bird johnson have any contact with jacqueline kennedy after she was first lady? did lady bird johnson ever have doubts about the vietnam war? much.nks very did they continue their contact after the johnson white house began? yes. the tax bill, when that was when lyndon johnson signed that, he went with lady bird johnson to the house of georgetown andin gave her four pens, one for her, onefor each of the kids and for the library. i think during the white house years, the contact was rather formal. the johnsons certainly invited mrs. kennedy back but she never came back while they were there. they gave gifts to the children. i know the first christmas, for they gave john jr. a fire new engine. they reached out to her. after the white house, in the 1980's, after she was widowed,
lady bird johnson and jacqueline kennedy i guess we wouldn't say renewed a friendship, really established a friendship when they were both on martha's vineyard for periods in the summer. >> when you look at the evidence, certainly she supported her husband publicly, but in her private findials, did you ever doubts she expressed about the vietnam war? >> i never saw anything. said if you're going to start a war, it has to be because of some big event like pearl harbor and to me that meant she thought they didn't in vietnam. >> it was so hard with all of so protests and it was personal and that, i think, would put you in a position supportu just want to him no matter what. d.c.chael in washington, >> hi. i wanted to let you know that this program is fabulous. thank you so much. i've watched it all all the waym the beginning. question is, did lady bird johnson have any of the
werer first ladies that living at the time -- obviously jackie kennedy didn't come back didn't come back until the nixon administration, thedid she have any of former first ladies back at the white house and was she the living former first lady? >> thank you very much. >> the longest living, we just was beth truman. beth truman made it to 95 and and betty fordon were both 94 so it's very close. question about, did -- >> other first ladies come back? i don't remember who else was around to come back. eisenhower and beth truman. >> lou hoover? dead inou hoover was 1944. but the johnsons went to the trumans in independence because signed thee they medicare act and there's a picture of them all there but i don't remember anything about -- oh, they did, i think, confer
with the eisenhowers about how to the nation,ch which is what the eisenhowers had done with the gettysburg farm but i don't remember having any luncheons with the former first ladies. >> early in their marriage, lyndon johnson gave lady bird a movie camera, and there are many hours of what are really family now --vies that are recorded and accessible to historians and other researchers at the lyndon johnson library. we're going to see one of those next. 1941 speciale election. there i am. that hat and suit went all over texas. night rally. gestures have persisted through the years. weight was not his problem then.
sometimes he'd sweat down three or four suits a day. i did in those days was wait and look. with a in competition carnival. never try to do it. to watch.e fun >> could i just say that those are accessible to anyone online. just put johnson lbj home movies, 35 of them come up and you can watch them all. she said that was her favorite campaign and that's the only one they lost. >> would you talk about his progression from congressional to congress? >> when she married him he was a congressional aide and that's started out. she got there new year's eve,
1934, she'd been married five weeks or something and he served went a year before they back to texas so he could be head of the national youth administration and she goes back in 1937 when he's elected to congress and she's there for about a dozen years as a congressional wife and she's very good at networking with other women. member of theal congressional wives club and then she gets elected to the 1948 and she's a very loyal member of the senate wives. years, in 1941, lyndonearl harbor, enlisted. reserves in the naval and she ran his congressional office. anotherthink we have first lady who ever ran her husband's office. beth truman worked in her senate office for pay and lady bird johnson was always very careful to say in all the letters she sent out that she was volunteering her services.
>> it's remarkable. left her in charge and off he went and then various of his reported to him that she was running the office hadole lot better than he but coming back to what betty was saying about networking with women, it was an extraordinary group of women to what they were doing was not sitting around to theg tea and tending tating. they were very politically both in their husband's votergns and in the campaigns -- voter registration, conventions, all of that, but they were also very active in the district of columbia. it was before home rule and matter where they were from, they worked with the here inamerican women
washington on all kinds of theyl service issues and really did create a social safety net. >> one thing that was the home film we just saw was that she said my to sit and time was watch. this was 1941. it becomeint did acceptable for spouses of congressional candidates to be seen as active involved in campaigning? in differentferent places and some were active from the beginning. kathlynn adams talked about my vocation to get her president.cted god knows he wasn't working on it. they had been more active than anybody gives them credit for all through history and certainly eleanor roosevelt was doing campaigning. bad forms considered if you didn't do a certain amount of campaigning. but it was behind the scenes
most of it and i think lady bird johnson deserves credit for the first wife of a presidential candidate to go off speaking tour of her own. that was really very new because eleanor roosevelt campaigned for other candidates but i don't think she campaigned for her husband until he ran for the third term in 1940 because it wasn't considered, i don't lady-like to be open about your support for your husband. scenes maybend the organizing women to put up letters,r sending out thanking people. what did lady bird johnson say, that the wife of a candidate, himjob is to walk behind and say "thank you, thank you." so it was pretty behind the scenes until i think the 1960's. dobut jackie kennedy did some ads in spanish for instance to try to get -- something we talk about all the time now -- to get the hispanic vote. >> next is a question from owen georgia.ta, craig:.n.
>> hi. >> what's your question for us? >> i have two. first is, what were lady bird two is,s hobbies and what was her relationship with her kids? ok, owen, how old are you? >> i'm 9 years old. how did you become interested in lady bird johnson? >> my mom has been telling me about these programs and i while like history for a and i wanted to be able to call in and watch one and i am able to now. >> thank you very much for participating. that's great. were, did shens have any hobbies? -- number say her nob one hobby was nature, the outdoors. my kingdom, my world. and people told me that if she she didn'tomething particularly like or doing
something that was boring, she or whistlingumming and take herself to a place and flowerssang bloomed. towas a wonderful defense have. >> photographer, -- photography, photography. >> and the question was also about her children. >> she was a mom. no question but that she was a present mom. lyndon johnson is two, three am andyounger than i lucy a few years younger. she was always around and so they and she grew old, they were very wonderful caretakers for her. >> we need to talk about we said at the outset that she was a successful business woman in her own right. she was first self-made millionaire among the first ladies. how did she become that? she inherited money and land bought atives and radio station in 1943 and i
think the figure generally given $17,500 and she was very active in seeing that it was turned around from a money to a moneyations making operation. she went down and lived in six months or so and mobbed floors and windows. when iuldn't get over it read it in her oral history. she takes over a radio station running it. how do you do that and she did in, shejust went changed the building, she changed the staff, she got the and cbs came in and this highly successful station that she was running and johnson basically said to her, run that station. and off she went and did it. distancee drove the between washington -- >> she drove back and forth washington and austin. i did that as a kid, too, between new orleans and washington. it was no fun. there were no interstate highways, there was no air
conditioning in the cars. it took a long time. those trips! >> is it fair to say she was a successful business person but it didn't hurt to have a politician who eventually became the majority of the senate as your spouse. many people charged her, when it became time to apply for a tv station, that the fact that her husband was a senator, that others didn't apply for the carefulbut she kept a eye on the reports, she demanded, when she was in washington, she demanded weekly reports and people said she went a fine-tooth comb suggesting different sales pitches to use for air time and got hired.kt who so she was managing a good station. >> and it was just the beginning. it became a communications empire. >> with tv. also during this time period, the johnsons, with lady bird's investment, bought the acres in the texas hill country
known as the johnson ranch. that to learn more about in the next video. >> the living room is the oldest room in the house dating back to the 1890's. she would refer to this as our heart's home, this home on the ranch. we do have a few things that speak to her connection to the room here. wanted to things she highlight was the native american heritage here in the and we do have a small collection of arrowheads over there. mrs. johnson had her daughters, look for lucy, forwheads and paid them $1 every arrowheads and she found was doing better at collecting them and learned linda was getting them from paying 50mates and cents. the president loved to watch the
and at that time the three major networks would all show the news at the same time. mrs. johnson's favorite program and she would alter hear schedule to catch the episode. ranch was dubbed a texas white house and life at the ranch revolved around the home you the importance of the ranch and the home, the johnsons returned home 74 times johnson's five years as president. mrs. johnson, as first lady, the texas hillff country and her home, as guests to the ranch would often gather in the den and various heads of state came to visit. ordes of mexico, airhart to name a few. dining room was a special place for lady bird johnson where she entertained her guests. out the wallpaper
depicting a country scene, similar to a scene she would have seen out of her picture her request.led at mrs. johnson gave a tour of the house in 1968 that was filmed she featured the china you see her purchased in mexico, colorful. the president would sit down at this end of the table where you cowhide chair with mrs. johnson at the other end of table and one feature next handy president, a telephone. president johnson loved working the telephones and in the middle the meal could make a call or answer a call. mrs. johnson wasn't necessarily about that but got used to that. as first lady, mrs. johnson the rancht of time at and it was very important because it provided such a respite from the turmoil of washington, particularly later in the presidency where the home,ns could come recharge their batteries and make the connection back to the
land in the place they valued so much. how important was the ranch to them? allhe didn't like it at when -- she said the house looked like a charles adams house. annoyed when he bought it but she got to love it and as you heard, called it her heart's home. >> in the first ladies series where we refeferred to a lot, writtenraphy of her is by lou gould. pointed about the difference between the kennedys who were people of the east sea andd people of the as the johnsons who were people of the land and spurred her love of conservation. does that connection makes sense? >> sure it does, makes a lot of sense. that whole being part of texas, is a whole almost country of its own, is very different early part ofn the country, all of that.
this is where the country spread to and grew up and became sort of on your own out there and being in the ranch like that really emphasizes it. wasmrs. johnson, again, very interesting about -- they talked in the film clip about bringing chancellor airhart there and that was a great success of bringing him to the food and serving him texas instead of it being a white house state dinner and that part oftexas has a lot of people german descent and they were greatround and that was a eye-opener for the chancellor and a wonderful moment for those people in texas. many studies have been made and books written about lyndon johnson's senate majority leader career and what a powerful majority leader he was and how they he was, "master of
senate" for example. what was the vice presidential years like for lady bird? they were great for her but terrible for him. everybody says they were his years but she loved it. first of all, she traveled a lot and i think she talked about senegal and feeling like she'd been put down in the "national geographic" so the travel was good. she really thrived of being second lady if that's what we're going to call it and as cokie out, she filled in a lot. unhappy, and if himrole really was to keep having his political career and keep the domestic life going. she help him? >> she was always trying to get him to go to the gym because he of weight and tried to get him to watch his diet and people for him to
see but everybody would agree well.e did not do the vice president, that job is a little difficult for strong people. she started these women doers luncheons and she had them like senegal and think this is something new under the sun, ladiesst recent first have been interested in women and women's issues and promoting the role of women around the world. mrs. johnson was doing that back when she was second lady. and this 1960 campaign, this one where she really came into her own and campaigned, understood what it was like to stage in aational way she hadn't in the past, is that right? knowson't think anyone what it's like to be on the national stage until they're on it. i think that's always a shock no you areow experienced as a candidate or as a candidate's family, to run as president and vice president is a whole 'nother thing.
--how popular -- the fleen 1960 ticket in the southern particular with the roman catholic on the ticket had a big selling job to do and the changing at that time. can you talk about how the johnsons approached to the south that lived in the during that campaign? >> mainly by identifying with them and mrs. johnson was key in that. her alabama roots where her mother was from and she spent time there with her cousins as a child and she -- on spending time in the south and -- but she also, home to texas, they did have this one awful incident where they were attacked and she was very rudely dangerously treated of there were a lot political analysts think that threw texas to them because to see are so shocked
lady, and particularly a lady like mrs. johnson, treated in the a fashion but look, main thing is that texas did go it not,ticket and had kennedy would not have been elected president and whenever we're talking about the pick for president and all that, the only time we can ever actually a vice vice presidential pick made a difference is the pick.n >> and she held those teas all onoss texas and insisted shaking hands with all of the showed up women that go forer texas did kennedy in 1960, didn't kennedy said mrs. johnson won texas for us. when approached about the issue, how did she reply? not sure she ever replied to that question. >> i'm not sure it was a question that would have been her.ssed to kennedys.ected to the >> next call from john in
charleston. are y'all?ning, how >> we're great, thank you. >> i appreciate c-span having first ladies series. wasquestion i had, how mrs. johnson treated on the lady bird express. to charleston, 1964. the congressman accompanied her, a big powerful congressman in the state. and he kind of went out on a her butdo the trip for i think she was treated pretty bad in charleston but overall was she treated the rest of the south and what was their relationship with the rivers and the johnsons? >> a little later on we'll have from the lady bird express but it fits nicely with southmpaign style in the we're talking about. >> in 1964, we were in a whole different place because the signed the 1964 civil
rights bill in the summertime andthe south was up in arms mrs. johnson absolutely insisted the lady bird special through the south saying this is that it of the country am from, i am not going to write all gotsouth so they organized. i found just recently in my live in thence i house i grew up in, all of the advance work for the lady bird mother'sn my handwriting and she said -- she various places, we can't find a local politician to show up. the women who were wives of with them and my father, as the caller said, served as something of an emcee on the train but my mother told the gory that they would have to ahead because there were bombs were the way, there threats all along the way and
not only was expblons -- train buton on the the johnson daughters and that's a lot of courage. reflections from linda, the daughter, who was part of the campaign then. this questionk when we're talking about her approach to politics and from a facebook viewer. david asking whether or not she political had a career in her own right if she had been born later. >> that's an interesting question. i somehow don't see her as running for office but she developed the traits -- for example, she started taking lessons, public speaking lessons, in 1959 so far cry from where she started out where the only she did was working in the back room with the letters and getting other women to do the speaking. lyndon's mother and his sister
were the ones she turned to in so she did develop -- so maybe in another time she would have been. happened with my mother, her contemporary, my plane was killed in a crash and my mother ran for his seat. could have easily happened with mrs. johnson but i will she said tot what mother when mama called lady bird to say she was running, well, that'ssaid, are you goinghow to do it without a wife. >> just to demonstrate the kind and howership they had essential she was to lyndon johnson's public approach, we that islip next for you pretty well known. it is lady bird's critique of l.b.j.'s speech, this was one that was right after a press hear howe and you can very direct she is with the president in his approach and his presentation.
oneou want to listen to minute for my critique? >> yes, ma'am. that you looked strong, firm and like a reliable guy. you looked splendid. the close-ups were much better the distance ones. >> you can't get them to do it. >> i would say that there were close-ups than distance. during the statement, you were a little breathless and there was too much looking down and i think it was a little too fast, not enough change of pace, drop sentence.t the end of there was a considerable pickup in drama and interest when the began.ning your voice was noticeably better and your facial expression was noticeably better. answer on lodge
was good. answer on vietnam was good. i didn't like the answer on the doll because i think i've heard you say i didn't believe you have said out loud that you ought to goe you out of the country this year. >> what are we hearing? hearing a very firm, a very educated evaluation of a speech. think it's wonderful. >> she clearly wanted her analysis. he relied on it but as you listen to that tape all the way through, he starts backing away the phone and starts getting somewhat defensive. they told me to do that, that kind of thing, because nobody really likes to hear that a criticism but he relied on her to tell him the truth. obviously very close and valued political partners but the flipside of there weret challenges in their marriage
because of lyndon johnson's infidelity, something that he actually would occasionally brag about. did this affect their partnership, if it did at all? saidople who knew them that she always acted as though it didn't happen but she must it existed and i think it's important to realize that journalists changed how they covered presidents during the johnson years. she had lived in washington all years and watched as franklin roosevelt's with lucy mercer john f. kennedy's relationship with other women. abouters didn't write that but in the johnson years and perhaps encouraged by president johnson himself, they writing about the women who were around him. i think "time" magazine, in 1964, so lyndon johnson had been president only three or four months, had this article about lyndon johnson driving
around the roads of texas at 85 miles an hour with a glass of beer on the dashboard and a beautiful young reporter at his cooing into his ear, fun, isident, you're think was the headline. i don't think you'll find previous presidents so i think it's important to remember that she came into the spotlight at the time when the changed. had >> there's one critique of johnson about this aspect of his life and the source is lou gould in his biography. johnson preyed on some of the with him andked was not above making advances on friends and reporters. talk about the reporting relationship and how that has changed? you said nothing is new under manyun and we have examples of prior first ladies who dealt with this but times were changing. i think -- i, trust me, was
not somebody who was aware of in terms of mrs. johnson's views and all of that. talk about -- certainly not the moms -- but i think that what happened in terms of reporting is that it's grown but part of that has to do with the increase in the of women in the ranks of the reporters because there is a sense that the person was political and i think where you saw the hugist? hartwas in 1984 with gary but i think before that there was a sense of what happens on bus or on the trail or whatever stays there and that with the increasing number of women on the bus. >> back to phone calls. dave in albuquerque. hi, dave. you?, how are >> great. what's your question.
>> i was wondering -- the series really great -- but one question that keeps occurring to me for both lady bird and all of ladies -- how big of a staff do they tend to have in the east wing? speech have their own writers? i know they have the social secretary but how big of a staff there generally that the first lady has at her disposal? you for asking that because in many ways lady bird created the framework for the modern first lady. how did she do that? went into office. she hired liz carpenter as press staff andd chief of bess able, who had been working andher, as social secretary they really took over the east wing and then hired others, to help., but that was the first time there had been a press staff --, chief of >> who knew what they were doing. find out the number
and i was told by her office that it varied because not only large, competent staff herself but she also brought in, on loan, people from other departments. for example, for the beautification campaign she brought in people from the interior's office so it was not on her budget. with a hard to come up number. it was somewhere in the 20's. >> and she also still had this cadre of political women who of theseth her on many things, particularly on headstart, for instance, when engaged in creating headstart. my mother was very engaged with as were several other of the political wives so she had a lot very highlys, trained, very smart volunteers, as well. >> how long was it before the first lady was officially established and how was that done? difficult to's answer. most people point to mamie as having the first
as being listed in the blue book as secretary to first but way back in the beginning, it was mostly relatives or friends, you know, who did the volunteer work. the roosevelts had their volunteers but i think it was the johnson who is had the first staff.ional elizabeth carpenter had been a reporter since 1942. that's when lady bird met her. their friendship went way back and they stayed with her the entire time in the white house. after. >> and after. and the other thing that i think is remarkable, as mrs. johnson became so much in demand on many of these issues, particularly on what they called beautification, really, environmental issues,
andle wanted her everywhere so she had to create essentially an office of surrogates which is a funny notion because we always think of the first ladies the surrogate for the president an office of surrogates for the surrogate. >> next is shirley in lady bird's home town, austin, texas. hi, shirley, you're on. >> yes, hi. well, i'm so pleased that you're doing this series. the firstwonderful, ladies are getting their due. i wanted to mention earlier in asked ifam you mrs. johnson ever had former first ladies at the white house. i know she had two at the ranch -- mrs. carter and mrs. ford and i believe it was probably in the late 1980's. and also i wanted to mention centennial,hnson's her birthday was last
december 22, 2012. and in honor of that, the post issued a commemorative stamp and mrs. johnson was only first lady to have a stamp and the others were martha madison,n and dolley abigail adams and mrs. roosevelt. me youproducer tells have a personal connection with the former first lady. >> yes. i was her executive assistant from 1991 until her death. it that you would like people watching this program to know about mrs. johnson? >> oh, my. cokie andt of all, betty are doing a terrific job. thank you. she was very warm. she was unflappable. she had a delicious laugh. it was a hearty belly laugh. such a goodjust role model for all of us who
knew her and loved her. you worked for mrs. johnson -- well, for the president, too, although i president -- but you became part of the family. my friend and i loved her but she loved me, too. a privilege working for her and knowing her and her have certainly followed in her footsteps and they're all just terrific people. it's been an honor. for your very much call and adding your permanent permanent -- personal reflections to the program. >> at mrs. johnson's funeral, no matter howff, far they were, came, including retiredervicemen who long before but loved her so much that they made the huge effort to get there. those kind words, regina is asking on twitter, is
there anything in her white diary that would shock us even today? >> she wouldn't have put it in. say.orry to >> she was careful in the history she recorded. go next to marvin us innginous -- los angeles. >> thank you very much for the program. the texas to be at delegation at the democratic convention where j.f.k. and l.b.j. had a sort of a debate. it was very humorous and j.f.k. said, i think you're such a great senate majority leader, you should stay there. question, number one, is, did lady bird johnson want l.b.j. to v.p. nomination and number two, would l.b.j. have his as successful in all of various jobs without the support of lady bird johnson? i think we can start with the
second one first. much agreesetty that it would have been a johnson without lady bird, would you agree? >> absolutely and he would say that. and then on the 1960's seems fairly clear that initially she and a lot of other people did not want him to the second spot on the ticket. john kennedyed really a junior member of the senate and he should wait his but i think she came around. nobody could have campaigned harder than she did. what happened was that sam andurn had to be convinced the story is that my father went to him and said, do you want to win?nixon and there you are. >> on beautification, conservation, her cause. she choose it? >> first of all, it was a heartfelt thing but that first year in the white house, the they had the rest of
the kennedy term, she didn't choose a project. change theeven curtains that needed changing family she said the next might not like it and she acted as though that would be the last year in the white house but after lyndon johnson won so big in 1964, she sent out really requests for advice on what she should do and the word came back like, first ladies, should do something about washington and the of washington really came out of that but very quickly i think it became clear committee, her beautification people had split and some wanted to go more national and that's where the parks,s on national highway beautification came. lasker, thought she should do something. she said these highways are terrible. i think she was thinking of the turnpike, all those
signs, it could be better. to think of the beautification project to be national and that was getting or junk yards removed covered up with fences and even the washington part spread into two. to plant wanted tulips. i think they were called the dog wood set. who wanted to polish the statutes and the others who to go into the poorer neighborhoods where sports recreational facilities were just not there and do something for those neighborhoods and the important is that sheher incorporated them all. >> she tried to do it all but she she also did was personally lobbied the united states congress and there was hidinghere was no behind, you know, the man, and that she wasretend not doing it. she was up and she did not pretend that she was not doing it.
she was up their lobbying and it sounds nicey-nicey, the beautification. the billboard lobby was against any of this. they were people as there are ways are in these situations, people pushing harder saying she was not doing enough. there needed to be a much bigger emphasis on cleaning everything up and people saying you're going too far. >> she just hung in there and kept it up. she was a very powerful force. that was the first time -- first ladies had always lobbied from martha washington on. but that was the first time there'd such public lobbying. >> we promised you earlier we would show ladybirds special train. it demonstrates her political skills that she put to her environmental issues. let's watch that now. >> the whole nation at this election are to cross roads between past and future. we face many problems together.
peace is one and economic prosperity is another. we have reached good and workable solutions in the past. through this partnership. it takes men in washington who care about the people of the south and it takes citizens here at home with a vision of the future. today, many parts of the south present one of the nations proudest pictures progress. a democratic century needs to face a future together with imagination and zeal. we do not plan to turn back. [applause] >> mother didn't want the south
to think that we didn't want their vote. just because we knew there were a lot of people who didn't like the civil rights bill, for instance. she hoped that she could appeal to them to recognize that that was a time that was coming and that change had to be made and we were moving forth. and that there were also a lot of african-american citizens who were there and we wanted to reassure them. now, we ran into some people that didn't like us. and that were very vocal. we heard that there were threats that they were going to blow the train up and so they ran a car through before hours just in -- before ours, just in case if it was on the tracks would blow up the sidecar and not get us. and then there were threats all
along the way, but it was a wonderful success and mother would stand on the back of the train like she had seen harry truman do and she would tell them how proud and how happy she was to be here and she hoped that they would vote for her husband. >> and cokie roberts right behind lady bird johnson. >> cokie mentioned how controversial this was. was it really a tough job selling this to the congress and was it a difficult job at the lobbying group? the billboard lobby was far too strong. >> i think we forget how strong it was. i think maybe now the judgment is she tried to do too much on that. it was very hard.
but she did. >> in washington, people don't realize this beautiful city we live in is much more beautiful because of her and mary lasker, her friend was a wonderful philanthropist. this profusion of flowers and trees and the fact that you just come into the city and are greeted by total beauty is a result of her having been here. >> this was a complement to lyndon johnson's great society programs or was it an independent campaign? >> it was a little of both. i think it was required of every first lady since her, what would be her project. michelle obama was asked that even before the nomination. it was a complement to the great society and also uniquely hers. >> but the first ladies who have succeeded her, did you see both
michelle obama and laura bush have both quoted her. i think that's what betty was saying. she took a while and she had that big landslide. she was no longer the heir to the job. she said i have a pulpit and i could use it to do good. they took those words and followed them, very consciously, quoting her. >> and remember that she continued that work after the beautification, if we want to use a terrible term which she hated also. she continued it after she left the white house. i think until 1990, which is 22 years after leaving the white house, she continued to give that highway beautification award out of her own pocket to
highway workers in texas who had done most to beautify the highways of texas. i'm always interested in which first ladies continue their projects afterwards and which ones forget that they ever did that. >> here are some of the key accomplishments and challenges. the establishment of medicare and medicaid, the signing of the civil rights act which had been kennedy administration legislation, the warren commission -- the war and commission report -- the warren commission report with the findings on the kennedy assassination, the establishment of the outer space treaty which people say today still is the framework for how the
international immunity trees outerspace. and of course vietnam war. >> and the voting rights administration of 1965 which is one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation which made it possible for people to get the vote and to get themselves in a better situation. the civil rights bill started under president kennedy but i don't think there is any way on earth that kennedy could've gotten that bill through congress. i think it took lyndon johnson and his great skills as a former majority leader and an incredible arm twister to get that bill through. the tapes certainly shows that. >> each of these programs has talked about how the first lady and the first couple have used the white house as a base for their lobbying, as it were, their relationships in washington. how did the johnson's use the white house? >> the used it they had a month
far different than the kennedys. of mourning after the assassination, of course. but by early january of 1964 they were having their two or three evenings a week getting congressmen and their spouses in small groups. they could've done it in one big reception and gotten some footage, but they did it because not a time and got much closer to the congressmen. i was struck by the fact that she used the white house -- many of the congressman's wives had never been upstairs and certainly the kennedys didn't open the second floor. but she had the women and reporters up stairs. i think she only lived in the white house only a month and she had women reporters going to the family bathrooms and looking at the living quarters. it was completely different from jacqueline kennedy's attitude that the upstairs was off- limits. >> don't underestimate the power of that, because people when they feel that they are in the inner sanctum and have gotten
something special, they are likely to be nicer to you. >> women reporters were coming into their own during this. and mrs. johnson, by having lots of news to cover, help them with -- helped them with their careers. >> yes, i'm sure they appreciated her being so open. i was struck by the fact that when she had the women reporters to the upstairs quarters she said i felt good about it because i've always been open about my life and i think that is why i am pleased to share most aspects of that with the reporters. but she said one thing she would do next time is put away the books she was reading, because a week later an article appeared, which may been coincidence, but -- which may have been coincidence, but listing the books that mrs. johnson liked. so even she i guess would have put the bible out there. [laughter] mrs. johnson fired the kennedys chef, but she insisted that all
the acquisitions be american- made, which would've been different to jacqueline kennedy's approach. we saw her on the video saying i want the finest things. >> jacqueline kennedy told her to get china made in france. but she did not she got china made in the u.s. pitcher was her -- made in the u.s.. but she was her own woman. >> they had the first white house wedding in 53 years. >> first lucy's wedding and they had both the daughters married while they were in the white house. it was a very joyous thing to have peered by this time they were getting into the vietnam war and into some of the real nastiness. to have the weddings was a really nice moment of sitting back and saying this is a family. >> who did the daughters mary? >> lucy married in august of 66, she married pat nugent in a catholic ceremony, not in the white house. so linda's is the first white
house wedding of a president's daughter, i believe, since the wilson daughter in 1914. and she married -- he had been a military aide. charles robb. >> was she very much involved in the planning of the things? >> oh yes. everything became political, whether or not there was a union label in lucy's gallon, her diary says a lot about what an ordeal that was for her. >> she had to make two dresses, is that right? >> after lucy's wedding i know she fled to the virginia farmer she sometimes went when she didn't want to see anybody. of course after linda's wedding the president flat, so i think they both found it stressful.
>> barbara is watching us in san francisco. caller: i want to say love your program. the question i have is what linda and lucy are doing now and how many children they have each. >> linda is here in the virginia suburbs of washington. her husband was governor of virginia and senator of and linda has been very active in all kinds of causes where she has been very effective. she was the first lady of virginia and has been a political wife herself. lucy married patrick nugent and they divorced. i think she had four children at -- four children and lucy's now is married to another man. christmas cards just have a million kids. it is adorable. linda now has three grandchildren. >> ian turpen has a connection
with the johnson family? >> yes he has a business in texas. >> what was lady bird's most challenging time in the white house? was it the vietnam years? >> yes. they were hard on also going the whole country but we were through this huge generational -- having people outside the white house screaming, hey, hey, lbj, how many kids did you kill today? could you imagine? this is somebody that you know wants to do the right thing about the country and it is a horrible thing to have that. she went out and gave speeches
despite of this. >> in 1999, lady bird johnson give an interview to c-span and she spoke about vietnam. quicksilver -- >> where >> a is vietnam going to fit in. wretched obstacle along the way which you couldn't escape, couldn't shake off. >> when did you see him at his lowest? >> during those days. i think when the bags begin to come home. by that i mean they would come in at night on freight trains and i don't know if this is good planning. or just happenstance. but oftentimes i would be in my -- on my way back from a trip from somewhere and at the station as i would get off there were these freight trains and those bags are being unloaded onto other kind of vehicle. and i knew what he was doing and i knew i couldn't help them.
-- i couldn't help him. >> did you try to help him anyway? >> yes, of course. >> will what did you do? >> i would say to the best you can. i think a lot of people and. what can you do in a situation like that? >> as the puppet sentiment against the war mounted, can you walk us through the president's ultimate decision not to seek reelection and what ladybirds rolled in all that was? -- what lady bird's role in all that was? >> well, she says, and i think there's other evidence to support this, that she wrote in
her diary in 1964, i know when the time to leave will be. and it is exactly when she picked, march of 1968. she was such an authentic person that i don't think she dreamed that up later. certainly, as 1967 wound on there is a big meeting i think in september of 67 at the ranch. she talks about being called in with the top advisers and she says i don't want another campaign, i don't want to ask people one more time to help out. but it was hard for lyndon johnson to walk away from the presidency, i think. i believe there was a sentence written that he would include in his state of the union and then he said he forgot it couldn't find it in his pocket or something. i think she very much wanted him
not to run in march of 68. he of course found it difficult. >> so finally she was worried about his health. we haven't talked about was his heart attack in 1955. we haven't touched on that. >> it was really a massive heart attack and he was quite affected by it and the whole family was affected by it. so i think that was something that they always had hovering over them and she had been very protective of his health and of his diet as best she could be. and so it was something that was always on her mind and in fact he did die in january of 1972. >> that was four years after the white house. >> 1973. >> i think he lived for days -- he lived four days after what would've been another term. >> he had a heart condition. >> the national tumult came in 1968 after the announcement was made with the martin luther king assassination and the robert
kennedy assassination. how did the johnsons hold us all together, knowing that they would be leaving? >> it was a terrible time. 1968 was just a year that, here we are in the week of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 assassination, and that was the beginning of america's loss of innocence in a way. but we had no notion of what was going to happen after that. trying to keep the country just together and keep it in some sense of not falling into despair was something that all the political leaders had to do. the president tried, but it was very hard for him because he was seen as the symbol of the problem by so many of the people. >> as i said, lyndon johnson lived just four years after he left office in 1969, lady bird living 30 more years and many of those active ones. we return to the lbj library to return a little bit more about how they worked there and prepared the library for the recording of the johnson
administration's history. >> we are in the private office of mrs. lyndon johnson at the lbj library. i was her social secretary from 1976 to 1990. a typical day would be spent with her coming in in the morning, probably around 9:00 and she would come in toting a straw bag in each hand filled with some of the things that you see on her desk that she had taken home for signing or speechwriting or event planning, whatever she was working on. she would always say when she came in to the office that she felt like a little girl as she -- like a little burro, as she had a straw satchel in each hand, like several bags. she would amend a work and her desk was always very orderly. she had a calendar that she worked in, daybook, and she kept files on your desk, file she was working on, trip she was taking. she was on the board of the banks, national geographic, smithsonian. she would keep large envelopes
on her sofa with either the title or the dates on them so that she could pick them up, work on them and close everything back in them. if she worked on her desk with letters she was processing, when she was processing, which he -- when she completed things she would put them on the floor. but she stayed at the office most of the day, making phone calls are working on projects that she loved so much. she loved this office because she could look out at her alma mater and then a quarter through -- and then a corridor through to the capital. in the city she looked so much. -- city she loved so much. she would stay here all day and that was pretty much monday through friday. when we were having guests at the ranch she would sometimes go out a few days early and stay in the different guestrooms to check on the water and the lights to be sure everything was working like the tv in the different rooms. we would also make a stop on the way out to the ranch to the store to pick up magazines that
were just specific for whoever was coming to the ranch for the weekend. very thoughtful, very meticulous and gracious about that. we had three office staff at the time. we are the personnel and -- who handled her calendar. we had a person came from the white house and a press secretary who helped work on speeches and then i was in the office. so that chair was usually occupied by one of us a good part of the day as we rotated during projects that she was working on. by friday afternoon she was ready to leave and go to the ranch which she really called home. at about 3:30 in the afternoon she would say, to have anything else to do? if the answer is no, she would say tell the secret service am -- i am ready to go. she would get up and we would pack those little saddlebags up and she would take off and head out to the ranch for the weekend. she would be back here on monday morning normally. i was so fortunate to be here and learn some much from her in the way she did things in a way
she entertained. i like the way she entertained. i think that is one reason we did so well together. i really loved her sense of making people feel at home. she was so good at it. >> the business of being just specific, she was so awful about things for you. when i got married, they were in the white house when i got married and she sent out to the house the beautiful, a beautiful print of the capital seen from the white house in the 19th century. it was just so perfect. the capital is the building i grew up in and their view of it now. and it was signed by them. >> so we have learned from you and from this tape that she continued to be a very active first lady, post first lady into her very late years. >> into the 1990s. i think the macular degeneration in the 90s, she had to stop reading and that is when she really stopped giving speeches i was told because she couldn't
see the notes well enough. but certainly into the 90s she was very active and then we were talking earlier about how even after the stroke she continued to see people, just valiantly going out to restaurants, even though she couldn't voice her reaction, she laughed and made people feel that she really appreciated them. >> she was very active at the library and very interested in the work. i was there at least three times in this century, the 21st. she was always there. >> and she was so important in the building of the library. she looked into the smallest detail how they were going to attach certain things to the wall. she had herself raised in a crane so she could see with a dash see what the view would be from her office which was on the top floor. she was very important in the building of the library. and where it would be located,
because she had traveled to the fdr library and thought that the hometown might not be the best she wanted a university. hi, karen. caller: i had two questions. one was about how she felt about her daughter lucy getting married at such a young age and the second question about her involvement in the johnson school of education after his death. >> her work at texas was very much part of the work at the library, it was all of a piece. she was very interested in that work. that is a great place. it is a wonderful school. she was private about her views about her daughter getting married young, but obviously it was something worrisome.
but then once lucy had made up her mind her parents embraced it and embraced her husband. >> in her post-white house years, her work for conservation and beautification was recognized with the presidential medal of freedom in 1977 and a congressional gold medal in 1980. -- in 1988. also, the national wildflower center was created as a result of her work. >> it was on her 70th birthday and it has since moved, but it is still in austin and it is really quite an operation. answering questions from all over the world about what species will grow where and showing people model gardens. she continued to visit that right up until she was in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank. she knew the people who worked there. she really continued to be active in that area. >> as a time with lady bird johnson comes to an end, we will return to the ranch in texas one
last time. >> this is mrs. johnson's private bedroom. it was part of the 1967 remodeling. she specified to the designers that she wanted this to be her forever room. she specified certain elements she wanted. a fireplace, east facing windows and a large bookcase to displace the many mementos and keepsakes she gathered through the years. the birds, the china. and also cameras. lyndon johnson actually gave mrs. johnson a camera as a wedding gift and she became quite the photojournalist. she had an 8mm camera to capture home movies, we have hours and hours of her home movies. as well as the recorder here are -- where mrs. johnson every night at the white house would record her daily observations. this became the basis for the book which is a very insightful chronicling of those tumultuous years of the 1960s. now mrs. johnson lived for 34 years after the president's death. in her later years mrs. johnson love to sit here at this desk to keep up with the correspondence and all of her activities as a
very active former first lady. also in the space we have mrs. johnson's closet with all of the clothing, her formalwear, the ranch clothing with the boots and the hats, a lot of for -- a lot of her colorful outfits and her shoes. one of my favorites is the straw hat with the bluebonnets painted on top. and then her private bathroom that is again very reflective of the importance of family with all the photographs of those who mattered so much to her and to her grandchildren and great- grandchildren she was known as nini, a very special person in their lives. lady bird johnson had a great sense of history and infecting -- and in fact, her years in washington, she would often be a tour guide for texans who went to the nation's capital. i had the fortune to meet lady bird johnson while working at harry s truman national historic site and i was very impressed that she wanted to see how the
truman story was being interpreted, knowing that one day her story would be told here at the lbj ranch. >> after mrs. johnson's death in 2007, the ranch was then ceded to the national park service. it is available for you to visit if you happen to be in that part of texas in the texas hill country. you really get a sense of the johnson's life and you're there. so she died at the age of 94. sharon cooper wants to know how the country responded to her death. >> there was an outpouring of love. >> everybody showed up. former presidents and first ladies and, as i say, members of congress and artificial people you would expect to be there, but also this wonderful response of her staff and the secret service. seeing them coming was really quite something. i think also the point we just heard that the park service make about her sense of history. it is something we can enjoy so much and that he has made a point several times, all of this is available to us. all we have to do is go to our computers and mrs. johnson has made it possible for us to see
their home movies, read their love letters and most important rom my perspective, hear those johnson tapes. from my perspective, hitters -- from my perspective, here are those johnson tapes. she allowed those tapes to be open to the public without knowing what was on them, which is very gutsy. we have learned enormous amount about american politics and american history from listening to those tapes. -- and where are she and the president buried? >> just on the road from the -- just down the road from the ranch house in the family cemetery. not the library, but they chose to be out in the countryside, the country that they loved. >> their burden of family cemetery were some of his
siblings come i think his mother and father are buried there. you can walk from the ranch to the cemetery to the birthplace to the schools in 10 minutes, i don't know, a very short time. >> what should her legacy be seen as among first ladies? >> i think she was an outstanding first lady who really wrote the book for modern first ladies, what they needed to do to be noncontroversial and yet contribute to a spouse's legacy. it would work for a man, too, you know. [laughter] right, first guide. >> she understood that she had a megaphone and that she could use it for good and she did that and expected all of her successors to do the same. we close here, we thank you for their assistance on the and aphies of first ladies thank you for being with us once again tonight.