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[VIDEO] Mar. 15, 1964 | A Conversation with LBJ

Mar. 15, 1964 - President Johnson tonight named as his major domestic objectives an attack on the causes of poverty and passage of the pending civil rights bill.

He said his anti-poverty plan, which will go to Congress tomorrow, will represent only “a beginning” in getting at “the roots and the causes of poverty.”

As for civil rights, he said, there was “nothing more important for this Congress to do than to pass the civil rights act as the House passed it.” He said he believed the Senate would do so “in due time.”

The President spoke on a one-hour televised interview carried by the three national networks. The interviewers were William Lawrence of ABC, Eric Sevareid of CBS, and David Brinkley of NBC.

The interview was taped in the President’s office yesterday. It ran originally to about 80 minutes but was edited by network officials, who cut out repetitious and less interesting portions. The White House had no hand in the editing.

Most of the hour was spent on domestic subjects. These were among Mr. Johnson’s major comments:
— Reports of a break between him and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy are “newspaper talk.” Mr. Kennedy understands his view that it would be unwise now for anyone to campaign for the Vice-Presidential nomination.

— Congress should act to make certain that any vacancy in the office of Vice President is always promptly filled. But he doubts that the necessary steps can be taken this session.

— He has not seen or talked to Robert G. Baker since Mr. Baker quit his post as secretary of the Senate Democratic majority last October. He is confident the current Senate inquiry into Mr. Baker’s outside business affairs conducted while he held the Senate post will reach just conclusions.

— He follows Secret Service advice on the security of his person, “with rare exceptions” such as the experts’ desire always to have policemen between him and crowds. He ignores this because he wants to be “a people’s President.”

— Asked whether he had any one memory more vivid than others from the days immediately after President Kennedy’s assassination, Mr. Johnson said: “Yes. I have rarely been in the presence of greatness, but as I went through that period, I observed Mrs. Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, I saw her greatness, her gallantry, her graciousness, her courage, and it will always be a vivid memory.”


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