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“Salute to President Lyndon B. Johnson” Held in Washington

May 26, 1964 - President Johnson, moving more confidently to the political offensive, pledged tonight that the Democratic party would seek “to meet the challenges and shoulder the burdens of a mushrooming America.”

That could not be done, Johnson said, by “men whose acts are timid and whose aims are tiny.”

Instead, the President said, his party would pledge strong action in civil rights, to eliminate poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment, and to “pursue our national goals in a world at peace.”

Johnson’s remarks were delivered tonight to a $100-a-ticket “Salute to President Lyndon B. Johnson” at the National Guard Armory in Washington.

Earlier in the evening, Johnson had attended an even more expensive affair — a $1,000-a-plate dinner for more than 500 members of the District of Columbia “President’s Club.”

Then he drove to the armory for a two-hour program, produced by Richard Adler, featuring such entertainment personalities as Joan Baez, Mahalia Jackson, Gregory Peck, Gina Lollobrigida, Mitzi Gaynor, and members of the New York City Center Ballet.

Mrs. Johnson and their two daughters, Lynda and Luci, accompanied the President to the show at the armory.

A Democratic committee spokesman said the armory was “sold out” at $100 a ticket. Seven to eight thousand tickets were reported to have been sold.

If 500 attended the dinner at $1,000 a head and if 8,000 attended the “salute” at $100 a head, the gross receipts would total $1.3 million.

That total will be topped in New York Thursday night when 1,000 are expected to attend a dinner at $1,000 apiece — producing $1 million in gross receipts. There will also be another salute at Madison Square Garden, and another group, perhaps 1,300 will attend a second dinner at $100 a plate.

The Democrats aroused controversy with these plans. There were charges that businessmen and Government employees had been “pressured” to buy tickets, particularly the $100 variety.

Senator John J. Williams (R-Del.) introduced a Senate resolution today to require the Attorney General to investigate reports that Federal workers were being solicited. Immediate action on the resolution was blocked by an objection from Senator Edward Muskie (D-Me.).

George Reedy, White House press secretary, told newsmen today: “I don’t believe anybody has ever been solicited for a ticket to these dinners. I’ve never been aware of any pressure. Any more silly questions?”

President Johnson suggested jokingly, as he opened his speech tonight, that the Salute was really a nonpartisan occasion. It was, he said, “open to anyone — who wants to contribute $100 to the Democratic party next fall.”

But whatever Johnson thought, it was clear that the audience was all Democrats as they sang with gusto “Once in Love With Lyndon” to the tune of “Once in Love With Amy.”



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