KC Johnson

LBJ & John Connally, 23 July 1964, 5.31pm

In this excerpt between the President and Texas governor John Connally, the two discuss their rather unrealistic concerns about Robert Kennedy possibly forcing his way into the vice-presidential nomination.

President Johnson: Now, I have about come to the conclusion, that it is just as positive as we’re sitting here that he [Kennedy] is going to force a roll call on his name for this place or the other place [the vice presidency].

John Connally: Hmm.

President Johnson: I think probably the vice presidency, at the moment.

He will have some people in every delegation that have been friendly, or some way or the other, and he’ll be in touch with ‘em. And they’re going to have an emotional thing with this film [about President Kennedy], and Mrs. Kennedy, and all of them. Then he’s going to really make the pitch.

[Break.]

President Johnson: Most of ‘em think that he is determined that he wants this job, and he’ll do anything in the world he can to get it; and if by causing a fight, he thinks that he can probably make me throw the election. And he’d like to see me a defeated man like [Adlai] Stevenson.

Connally: Mm-hmm.

President Johnson: That’s one reason he’s not unhappy about what’s happening in the South.

[Break.]

Connally: And I don’t think there’s any question but what he’ll try—he would be delighted to see you defeated. Ain’t no question about that in my mind.

He’s an arrogant, an egotistical, a selfish person that feels like he’s almost anointed. He is so power-mad that it’s unbelievable. And that’s the very reason you can’t take him on this ticket—because most people know it.

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