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Political Bickering Amongst Texas Democrats May Complicate President’s Visit

Nov. 19, 1963 - Squabbling Texas Democrats are making a political stew out of President Kennedy’s “non-political” swing through their state this week. Liberals are complaining that a $100 dinner is far beyond the reach of thousands who helped elect the President. They also want assurance the dinner revenue will not be used by Gov. John Connally (pictured with Vice President Johnson in 1961) to finance opposition to Sen. Ralph Yarborough in next spring’s primary. “Every faction in Texas will be taken care of,” commented Pierre Salinger, the White House press secretary, today. Mr. Salinger labeled the Texas trip, which starts Thursday, as “non-political” except for one loop into Austin for the fundraising dinner Friday night. Mrs. Kennedy, who has never seen Texas, will accompany her husband. They will spend Friday night at the ranch of Vice President Johnson, a 70-mile helicopter ride from Austin. The President’s appearances will include a testimonial dinner for Rep. Albert Thomas, Houston Democrat. President Kennedy may attempt to patch up the feud of the Texas Democrats because of his obvious interest in the state’s 25 electoral votes next year. The President has invited Sen. Yarborough and a number of the Texas Democrats in the House to join him in the trip to Texas. Gov. Connally, however, whose record since his election has been conservative, has not invited the Senator to the reception for the President at the Executive Mansion on the ground that the party is limited to members of the Texas Legislature. Observers on the scene say that with the present in-fighting, which next May’s primaries are not expected to dissipate, President Kennedy has a tough task on his hands to hold Texas’ electoral votes.


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