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Vice President Johnson Waits His Turn in the Shadow of JFK

May 10, 1963 - To a degree incredible for a man who loves to dominate the public spotlight, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson has removed himself from center stage. He takes inner council with no one — except perhaps his family. To those who know him well, the reason is obvious. Mr. Johnson still has a burning desire to be President of the United States. Yet he is all too aware that his chances of getting a crack at it rest with one man: John F. Kennedy. Should Mr. Kennedy be re-elected next year, he inevitably will have the biggest voice of all in picking the man who will be nominated as his successor in 1968. Therefore, Vice President Johnson has done nothing or said nothing, even to intimate friends, that might be construed as criticism of the President. Whether this pays off with the big prize in 1968 is an open question. Although many political observers don’t rate Johnson’s 1968 prospects very highly right now, there is no question about his being on the Kennedy ticket in 1964. Beyond that, at the age of 54, Lyndon Johnson has to sit back and see what the turn of fate’s wheel will bring him. But to say that he regrets he ever abandoned his role of glory in the Senate to step up to the obscurity of the Vice Presidency is almost tantamount to saying he does not wish to be President. And no one believes that.


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