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LBJ Considering Shriver for VP

Jan. 7, 1964 - President Johnson is floating a trial balloon for Sargent Shriver as the Democratic candidate for Vice President next fall. White House aides have been telling visitors that Mr. Shriver would be an ideal choice. The President has given him a number of special assignments, most recently the delivery of a letter to Pope Paul VI in Nazareth. Then, last night, Mr. Johnson used an unusual occasion to praise Mr. Shriver. He was talking to half a dozen women reporters at a White House social affair. After some remarks about the Pope, he suddenly said: “I regard Sargent Shriver as one of the most brilliant, most able and most competent officials in the Government. I regard him as my real confidant.”

Mr. Shriver, director of the Peace Corps, has attributes that would make him a logical running mate for Mr. Johnson. He comes from a big Northern state, Illinois. He is a Roman Catholic. He is on the young side, 48. He has a warm personality; he is handsome; and he is married to President Kennedy’s sister Eunice. The feeling at the White House seems to be that Mr. Shriver might have the magnetic drawing power of the Kennedy family without the drawbacks, notably animosity in the South.

Inevitably, Mr. Shriver’s prospects will be compared with those of the head of the Kennedy family since the President’s assassination — Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. A poll of Democratic county chairmen produced a strong showing by Mr. Kennedy as a Vice-Presidential candidate. He placed second only to Senator Hubert Humphrey. Still, the theory being advanced at the White House is that Mr. Kennedy would be too controversial a candidate and would drive away Mr. Johnson’s support in the South. Given the strong family loyalty among the Kennedys, it is most unlikely there would be any competition between the Attorney General and Mr. Shriver. They and other members of the family would undoubtedly agree on a course of action.


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