The morning after the results, the President grew more unsettled—as this excerpt with longtime confidante and New York party chairman Eddie Weisl revealed.
President Johnson: Eddie, you’ve got to do this, and you’re the only one that can do it. You’re the one that can get things done, like this Walter [Jenkins] report. The rest of them just talk about it.
We don’t have any propaganda machine, and we don’t have anybody that can get out our stuff.
Now, Ray Moley [of Newsweek] started this story that they were just voting against Goldwater, and they didn’t like either one of us, and that Johnson didn’t have any rapport [with the people], and he didn’t have any style, and he was a buffoon, and he was full of corn, and . . .
President Johnson: So the Bobby Kennedy group—they kind of put out this stuff, and the little Kennedy folks around, that nobody loves Johnson.
They’re going to have it built up by January that I didn’t get any mandate at all, that I was just the lesser of two evils, and people didn’t care, and so on.
President Johnson: Somebody’s got to try to get the Times to give us a little approach. Because the first thing they’re going to do is they’re going to try and make a Warren Harding out of us on account of [Bobby] Baker and Jenkins—
Eddie Weisl: Yeah.
President Johnson: Second thing they’re going to do is say there’s no mandate.
Third thing they’re going to do is try and have the Southern coalition—they’re already working at it—to combine with the Republicans and not let us get anything.
If we don’t show that—even Roosevelt in ’36 never captured the number of people, and never had ‘em jumping in the air, and yelling, and giving the loyalty that we did.
In Iowa, I beat five of the six [Republican] congressmen! I had twice the crowd Eisenhower ever had. Now, they wrote about Eisenhower for eight years, but they’ve never written one word about us.
They’ve got to say something about the auditorium at Austin, Texas being filled at 2:30 in the morning, just waiting to see me—the people that knew me best. That they voted for me six and eight-to-one in my home boxes, that [William] Miller was losing. And the love, and the affection they had for 30 years.
Now, all they write about is not love and affection. They write, “Well, the lesser of two evils. Corn pone. Southern.”