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Political Observers See Shriver as Possible LBJ Running Mate

Feb. 13, 1964 - As a traveling salesman for the Peace Corps, Sargent Shriver looks like an attractive candidate for political office. He maintained a candidate’s pace yesterday as he visited four large Midwestern universities. In the last 30 hours, he stopped at Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Missouri in Columbia, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and the University of Illinois in Champaign. He stuck resolutely to the business of arousing interest in the Peace Corps and brushed aside questions about the possibility that he might be the Democratic candidate for Vice President. But he talked and shook hands and answered questions like a professional.

Idealism is the quality that seems most responsible for his obvious appeal to student audiences. The students glow when he talks about the work of Peace Corps volunteers overseas and says the corps is “changing the idea that Americans are only interested in money.” He also scores when he talks about the corps’ resistance to racial or religious discrimination. Despite all warnings, he notes, the corps has used Negroes freely and sent Protestants to Roman Catholic countries and Jews to Moslem countries.

The students evidently identify Mr. Shriver with his brother-in-law, President Kennedy. Although his neutral accent and appearance are hardly reminiscent of the late President, he seems to evoke a similar image of youth and dynamism. One Missourian with political experience who watched him yesterday commented: “He’s an awfully attractive man. He’s warm and quick. He has such energy — and it’s energy that counts in politics.”

The political question is one that Mr. Shriver cannot avoid. His audiences treat him as a political candidate. The waitresses line up to shake his hand after lunch, and the students get his autograph. He seems to enjoy it.

“Will you run for Vice President?” he is asked again and again. “I thought this was a Peace Corps evening,” Mr. Shriver replied once. “That’s not a very peaceful question.” The answer, repeated with slight variations elsewhere, drew laughter and applause.


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