U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson Nomination and JFK Assassination

About the U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, his nomination and the assassination of JFK which led him to the presidency.

36th President



Nov. 22, 1963...

Johnson was riding in the presidential motorcade in Dallas when shots rang out just a few yards ahead of him. His Secret Service agent jumped on him immediately, pushed him down onto the seat of the car, and shielded him with his body. The Vice-President remained in that positions as the car accelerated on its way to Parkland Hospital. A thought raced through Johnson's mind: "They're trying to kill us all."

President Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1:00 P.M. An hour and a half later, Johnson stood in the cabin of Air Force One at heavily guarded Love Field in Dallas and took the oath of office as administered by U. S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes. He was flanked on his right by Lady Bird and on his left by Jacqueline Kennedy, still wearing the pink dress spattered with her husband's blood. After the ceremony, Johnson turned and kissed Mrs. Kennedy on the forehead. "You're so brave to do this," he said.

The plane bearing the new President along with Kennedy's body touched down in Washington at 6:00 P.M. Johnson offended Kennedy aides by asking immediately for presidential stationery. Actually, he used that stationery to prepare longhand letters to Kennedy's children, Caroline and John-John. All night, Johnson was involved in meetings and staff discussions. He placed one phone call after another--to Harry Truman, Ike, and Herbert Hoover, among many others. It was 3:30 A.M. on Nov. 23--exactly 16 hours after the Secret Service agent had pushed him down onto the seat of his car--before Pres. Lyndon Johnson was ready to call it a day.

Nomination: Aug. 26, 1964...

In the nine months between Kennedy's assassination and the Democratic convention of 1964, Johnson managed to break the deadlock in Congress and win approval for all the key elements in Kennedy's legislative program. Once he established himself as a dedicated and hardworking chief executive, no one seriously challenged his right to the presidential nomination. At the Democratic convention in Atlantic City, N.J., Johnson was chosen by acclamation, without even the formality of a roll-call vote. The only excitement at the Democratic convention involved LBJ's choice of a running mate. Although he had known for weeks whom he wanted, he waited until the last minute to announce his choice--Sen. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota--in order to build up the interest of the press and public. The convention concluded with a huge fireworks display in honor of the President's birthday. Three tons of gunpowder lit the skies with a 600-sq.-ft. portrait of LBJ in sparkling red, white, and blue.

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