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Humphrey: LBJ Dedicated to Rights Fight

Jan. 31, 1964 - Senator Hubert Humphrey, the assistant majority leader, said in New York City last night that President Johnson was totally dedicated to the battle for civil rights. Referring to those he said had “in the past, expressed their doubts” about the President’s commitment, Humphrey declared: “President Johnson is in this fight to the finish.” The Minnesota Senator told a dinner meeting of Americans for Democratic Action at the Commodore Hotel that President Johnson’s devotion to the civil rights program stemmed from his close association with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mr. Johnson’s “early familiarity with the ugly pattern of discrimination against Mexican-Americans he observed when he was a young schoolteacher in south Texas.”

The meeting was the 17th annual dinner observance by the liberal organization of the birthday of Franklin D. Roosevelt. When asked by a reporter before the dinner whether he would be a candidate for the Vice Presidency, Humphrey said: “If the President were to ask me, I would be highly honored and I would accept.” He was then asked if he would seek the nomination, and he replied, “I’ve got a good job in the Senate as Senate whip and Senator from Minnesota, and so I don’t think I’ll actively seek the nomination. If I continue to do a good job, maybe someone will notice me.”

Humphrey predicted that the civil rights bill would pass the House by mid-February and the Senate by mid-April. He said he believed that all the main provision of the bill would be enacted into law. However, the Senator predicted a hard fight in the Senate. “If there will be a filibuster, we will be prepared for it,” he said. He added that he hoped the filibuster would be defeated by closure but “if necessary, we will beat it by attrition. I hope that that will not be necessary.”


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