Lessons from President Lyndon Johnson's Time in the Oval Office

Monday, December 31, 2012

Robert Caro is the author of the multi-volume Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, “The Years of Lyndon Johnson.”  The most recent installment is entitled "The Passage of Power." He sat down with The Takeaway's John Hockenberry to reflect on the unique obstacles and successes President Johnson faced after his election in 1964.

Are there lessons for President Obama to take from President Johnson's presidency? Caro notes that the Vietnam War cast a dark shadow on President Johnson's legacy, obscuring some of his social policy accomplishments. "A president is always on the edge of a precipice," he says. This is the first of a two-part conversation. 


Robert Caro

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [3]

mack from Austin,Texas

I went to school with LBJ's nephews and John Connally's kids. I knew LBJ and John Connally, socialized with LBJ's lawyers, socialized with the kids of the Big Rich oil men in Dallas and Houston.

In short, read the books recommended by Robert Morrow in a previous comment.

When JFK was shot, I was standing in the hallways of Austin High school. John Connally III was standing directly in front of me. We were in a small group talking between classes. The loudspeakers announced the news. JBC III turned pale and disappeared. I assumed the news was a false alarm and made a stupid joke about it. People in Austin, Texas quickly got over the death of JFK. The Longhorn football team won a national championship just weeks after the assassination. LBJ was President. That was good news for defense contractors and oil men in Texas. Austin shared in the glory, being an LBJ town. I myself quickly moved on. Then LBJ, political genius, passed JFK's social agenda, whereas JFK only managed to keep us from a nuclear war with Russia and a ground war in Viet Nam.

Then LBJ tried to draft my *ss. I did not like the Viet Nam war. I started having questions about all those people I grew up around.

Fast forward 50 years. As a student of the JFK assassination in particular, I have said more than once, if LBJ was not right in the thick of that conspiracy, then I'll eat my hat.

So, I was disappointed that Caro skipped over the most CRUCIAL part of LBJ's ascent to the presidency.

Read this to get started if you think Lee Oswald acted alone..

cut and paste... The focus of it may seem a bit strange at first, but it is packed with interesting facts that you won't see anywhere else. Then read the other books.

Jan. 18 2013 10:19 AM

Google "LBJ-CIA Assassination of JFK." Lyndon Johnson shot his way in the White House and it is time for him to be held accountable.

Read 3 books: "LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination" by Phillip Nelson and "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James Douglass. And "Beyond Reason: The Mental Collapse of Lyndon Johnson."

Jan. 02 2013 10:30 AM
jeffrey cole

Didn't the state dinner Caro spoke about in today's interview actually take place in December of 1963 not December of 1964?

Jan. 01 2013 12:47 PM

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