KC Johnson

LBJ & Lynda Bird

President Johnson: Let me talk to Luci.

Lynda Bird Johnson: She’s not here, Daddy.

President Johnson: You don’t mean she’s out with a man?

Lynda Bird Johnson: Well, it’s one of her friends, Daddy.

President Johnson: My goodness, why, that girl—I don’t know where she’s—

Lynda Bird Johnson: [Unclear.]

President Johnson: OK, good night. Let me talk to Mama.

Lynda Bird Johnson: OK, here she is. You know you’re loved, now, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Sleep late and take care of yourself. Here’s Mama.

Lady Bird Johnson: Darling?

President Johnson: This little Mary Pakenham writes some mean stories in the Tribune. Do you know her?

Lady Bird Johnson: Why, yes. I know her. [Lady Bird then moves onto another topic, before Lynda returns to the line to tell the President about an acquaintance diagnosed with high blood pressure. The President appears to ignore the story and instead returns to the Packenham article, which hadn’t even been mentioned in his conversation with his daughter.]

President Johnson: Here’s what this girl says about you: “As the 19-car lady Bird Special clips down the tracks, campaign songs blaring forth, there are, too, 30 minutes of furious speechmaking. Lynda Bird Johnson, today singing ‘Hello, Lyndon,” in her off-key, girlish soprano.”

Lynda Bird Johnson: Well, so what, Daddy? That’ll just get me the sympathy vote of all those people who can’t sing on-key.

President Johnson: You mean, you’ll get the sympathy vote of all the people who can’t sing on-key, huh?

Lynda Bird Johnson: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t think I sing off-key. But after all, if you’d been signing for as many hours as I have, I’m sure I got it quite a few times off-key, and I don’t feel worried about it a bit.

President Johnson: Why don’t you learn to sing on-key? Take some lessons.

Lynda Bird Johnson: Well, in the first place, I haven’t been signing very much. [Unclear.] It’s better for her to say that than to say I—

President Johnson: She [Pakenham] says, “Helicopters circled over the train, patrol cars following, troopers armed with rifles at each stop are a reminder that the candidate himself, the President, is not popular in the South. Goldwater boosters are everywhere.”

Lynda Bird Johnson: Oh, well, Daddy, she’s just talking. If we didn’t have anybody ever looking after us, she’d say that we were just begging to get hurt. After all, Daddy, it adds up to—

President Johnson: How many people did you have in Charleston tonight?

Lynda Bird Johnson: Uh . . . [asks in the room] Someone said about 20,000. It was a good crowd.

President Johnson: It was?

Lynda Bird Johnson: We’ve had good—

President Johnson: How many hecklers? How many hecklers did you have?

Lynda Bird Johnson: Oh, I don’t know—40 or 50.

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