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Johnson’s First Call as President Is to President Kennedy’s Mother

Nov. 22, 1963 - From Air Force One in flight, 28 minutes after the Presidential plane left Dallas, Lyndon B. Johnson made his first telephone call as President at 3:15 p.m. Central Standard Time to Mrs. Rose Kennedy (pictured in 1958), mother of the late President Kennedy, in Hyannis Port, Mass. Here is a transcript of that telephone call:

 

Rose Kennedy: Hello?

Sergeant Joseph Ayres [chief steward on Air Force One]: Yes, Mrs. Kennedy, I have…Mr. Johnson for you here.

Rose Kennedy: Yes, thank you.

President Johnson: Mrs. Kennedy?

Rose Kennedy: Yes, yes, yes, Mr. President.

President Johnson: I wish to God there was something that I could do, and I wanted to tell you that we are grieving with you.

Rose Kennedy: Yes, well, thank you very much. That’s very nice. I know. I know you loved Jack, and he loved you.

Mrs. Johnson: Mrs. Kennedy, we feel lucky —

Rose Kennedy: Yes, all right.

Mrs. Johnson: We’re glad that the nation had your son as long as it did.

Rose Kennedy: Well, thank you for that, Lady Bird. Thank you very much. Good-bye.

Mrs. Johnson: Our thoughts and prayers —

Rose Kennedy: [weeping] Thank you very much. Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye. [She hangs up.]

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