KC Johnson

Lady Bird

Lady Bird Johnson: You want to listen for about one minute to—

President Johnson: Yes, ma’am.

Lady Bird Johnson: —my critique, or would you rather wait till tonight?

President Johnson: Yes, ma’am. I’m willing now.

Lady Bird Johnson: I thought that you looked strong, firm, and like a reliable guy. Your looks were splendid. The close-ups were much better than the distance ones.

President Johnson: Well, you can’t get ‘em [the TV producers] to do it  . . . the distance ones.

Lady Bird Johnson: Well, I would say this: there were more close-ups than there were distance ones.

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, a drop in voice at the end of sentence.

There was a considerable pick-up in drama and interest when the questioning began. Your voice was noticeably better, and your facial expressions noticeably better.

[Break.]

Lady Bird Johnson: When you’re going to have a prepared text, you need to have the opportunity to study it a little bit more, and to read it with a little more conviction, and interest, and change of pace. Because—

President Johnson: Well, the trouble is they [the White House media] criticize you for taking so much time. They want to use it all for questions. Then their questions don’t produce any news, and if you don’t give ‘em news, you catch hell.

So my problem was trying to get through before 10 minutes, and I still ran 10 minutes today.

[Break.]

Lady Bird Johnson: I believe if I’d had that choice, I would have said use 13 minutes, or 14, for the statement.

In general, I’d say it was a good “B+.” How do you feel about it?

President Johnson: [quickly] I thought it was much better than last week.

Lady Bird Johnson: [unconvinced] Well, I heard last week, [you] see, and didn’t see it. And didn’t hear all of it.

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