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JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: SIXTH CONVERSATION VIII

March 28, 2012


JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: SIXTH CONVERSATION VIII

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 continues our report on “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” published by Hyperion.


The sixth conversation was recorded on June 3, 1964.

Jacqueline Kennedy discusses the difference between President Kennedy & President Johnson & “where it’s really going to make a difference in this country.”

She says:

“Now there’s a terrible crisis going on in Laos but nobody really knows it…& where’s Lyndon? He’s running all around Texas, getting high school & college degrees.  And the poor man’s terrified.”

Mrs. Kennedy adds that Dave Powers says that LBJ “can’t bear to go to Camp David or anyplace he’s alone.”

She continues…

“I guess it’s very good for the country that (LBJ) could go around & make this air of good feeling (after JFK’s death)  & lull so many people into this sense of security.”

and….

“Joe Kraft told me Lyndon….got very drunk & stayed (at somebody’s house in Georgetown) until 3 or 4 (a.m.) & said, ‘I just don’t know if I’m capable to be president, if my equipment is adequate.'”*

Mrs. Kennedy explains that she is not bitter now about Lyndon, she just wants people to understand “the kind of president Jack was & the kind Lyndon is.”

She continues….

“Lyndon can ride on some of the great things Jack did….civil rights, the tax bill, the gold drain stuff….but when a crisis happens, that’s when they’re going to miss Jack.”

Arthur Schlesinger asks “What sort of a vice president was Lyndon?”

Jacqueline Kennedy responds:


“(LBJ) just never wanted to make any decision or do anything that would put him in any position.  So what he really liked to do was go on these trips….to Pakistan or something.


(But) Jack always said (LBJ) was never disloyal.”

Mr. Schlesinger says “The story has been printed….that there was some consideration to dropping Johnson (from the Democratic ticket) in ’64.”

Mrs. Kennedy follows….

Not in ’64.  But Bobby told me…later (that)….Jack said ‘Oh, God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon was president,’….but I don’t see how you could drop him in ’64.”

*Joseph Kraft (1924-1986) was a Washington columnist.


Vice President Johnson & President Kennedy, The White House Oval Office, September 17, 1963, Photograph by Abbie Rowe, NARA


       

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