top of page

Goldwater Slams LBJ

Jan. 9, 1964 - Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) bitterly attacked President Johnson today and charged that the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles are “undependable.” He said he probably would “catch hell” for his remarks on the missiles — and he did. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara promptly retorted that Goldwater’s charge was “completely misleading, politically irresponsible, and damaging to the national security.” Goldwater, a major general in the Air Force Reserve, said short-range ballistic missiles were dependable but added he was “very fearful that we may get caught with our airplanes down.”

The Republican Presidential aspirant made the statements as he wound up a three-day swing through New Hampshire, where he will face Governor Rockefeller of New York in the nation’s first primary March 19. Goldwater told a news conference that cuts in defense spending would place too much reliance on missile forces, to the detriment of the nation’s manned bomber fleet. He said Americans were supposed to feel safe behind their stockpile of long-range missiles but added: “I don’t feel safe at all.” “I can’t tell you just how undependable they are — it’s classified information, but they’re not dependable.” Before returning to Washington, Goldwater accused President Johnson of obscuring the issue behind President Kennedy’s assassination by resurrecting the “hate theme.” “The idea that hate is prevalent is the biggest lie that has ever been perpetrated on the American people,” Goldwater declared.


bottom of page