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As Official Mourning Period for President Kennedy Ends, Political Speculation Takes Center Stage

Dec. 23, 1963 - The end of the official period of mourning for President Kennedy raised the curtain on politics yesterday, and the spotlight discovered the figure of Adlai Stevenson standing front and center. The twice-defeated Democratic candidate for the Presidency acknowledged he would accept the nomination for the Vice Presidency if it were offered to him. But he described as “totally premature” any speculation as to who will be President Johnson’s running mate next November. He said the President will make his own decision, but “probably” not before the Democratic Convention in August. Stevenson said, “I certainly won’t seek” the nomination for Vice President, but “of course I would do it” if President Johnson requested it and “if my health” and personal matters permitted. He did not explain his reference to “personal matters.” Stevenson’s name was thus added to the discussion about who will campaign alongside President Johnson. The list already had acquired figures including Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; Sargent Shriver, head of the Peace Corps; and Governor Edmund G. Brown of California. While Johnson and Stevenson have been known to differ from time to time on political matters, they are friends of long standing and enjoy a strong mutual respect. The appearance of Stevenson as a Vice Presidential possibility overshadowed a new development on the Republican side of the stage, where Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania disclosed that he had been urged by former President Eisenhower to run for President. Conceding that as a result of a discussion with Eisenhower, he was giving additional though to a possible candidacy, Scranton said: “I am not a candidate and do not wish to be.”


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