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  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  Election What-ifs? (Moderators: Keyboard Jacobinism, Apocrypha)
  The liberal Republic
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President Johnson
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« Reply #50 on: October 03, 2017, 04:40:58 am »

Events following the inauguration

January 22, 1969: Rusk and Gromyko announce start of disarmament talks

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U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk (l) and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko (r)

As agreed during President Johnson’s Moscow visit in December, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko concluded their three-day meetings with a formal agreement, that both sides are ready to start serious disarmament talks. The negotiations are scheduled to begin by June 1, 1969. The USSR agreed to Rusk proposal to choose Geneva as location for the talks. Nuclear weapons are currently not part of the discussions, but may be included later. The first round of negotiations mainly contain a reduction or freeze of strategic missiles. As Secretary Rusk pointed out, the negotiations are not planned to take longer than two years.

Conservative members of congress expressed their skepticism. Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), who reentered the political arena this January after his defeat by Johnson in 1964, accused the Johnson/Kennedy Administration of selling out American values and a strategic advantage.


January 26, 1969: South Vietnamese President Thieu agrees to send delegation to Paris

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South Vietnamese President Thieu announced that he is ready to appoint a delegation to join the Paris peace talks. According to his office, the representatives will join the negotiations by the end of February at latest. He reportedly held various telephone conservations with President Johnson the days before the announcement. The White House and State Department welcomed the decision.


Gallup polls, released January 31, 1969

President Johnson's approval rating climbed to a three-year high in late January.

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 60%
Disapprove: 35%


February 2, 1969: First interrogations in Chennault case, Humphrey demands congressional investigation

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Former Nixon Aide H.R. Haldeman is accused of obstructing Paris Peace Talks by offering better condidations to the South Vietnamese government if Richard Nixon is elected president

First members of the Nixon campaign appeared before the FBI for hearings. Among them is H.R.  Haldeman, an aide to the defeated Republican nominee. Ms. Chennault is expected to be interviewed later that month.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey made some news by demanding a congressional investigation. However, neither members of congress nor the administration endorsed such a plan so far. But Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT) said he may change his mind if certain circumstances arrive. Meanwhile, Richard Nixon himself issued a statement that he supports the FBI efforts and that he’s willing to be available for any interview by authorities or the congress. As of early February, the former vice president is not invited to testify. A similar statement has been released by former Nixon aide Henry Kissinger. Kissinger claims he never knew of such actions, but didn't rule out anymore, that some members of the campaign took "unlawful actions".
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« Reply #51 on: October 05, 2017, 03:01:41 pm »
« Edited: October 11, 2017, 01:21:23 pm by President Johnson »

February 19, 1969

BREAKING: NLF LAUNCHES NEW TET OFFENSIVE - Setback for Peace talks

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One year after the original Tet Offensive, the communist National Liberation Front (NFL), launched a series of attacks at South Vietnamese targets. Most attacks centered on military targets near Saigon and Da Nang and were quickly beaten off by US and allied forces. The offensive is not nearly as large as the one in 1968, but considered a serious backlash for the peace efforts underway in Paris. The attacks also came as a surprise to the allied forces. Foreign policy analysts in the media speculated the new offensive is mounted to test the will of the Johnson Administration, which now consists a hawk faction (Secretary Rusk) and a dove faction (Vice President Kennedy).


Further developments regarding Tet Offensive, February 1969

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President Johnson meets with his cabinet to discuss the new Tet Offensive, February 22, 1969

As increased fighting activity went on during the rest of February, President Johnson seemed solicitous to present his administration as united. Following the attacks, the president issued a statement that the Vietcong is “threatening the peace process” and that the US Air Force may resume air strikes if necessary. The Politburo in Moscow denounced the offensive and called upon all sides to cease fire as soon as possible.

On February 21, South Vietnamese President Thieu officially postponed the participation of his delegation in Paris Peace talks. “The current hostile behavior by the North makes it impossible for my administration to take part at the conference table. The NLF must stop its act of violence against the people of South Vietnam before any negotiating can take place. We will counter the attacks with relentless force”, Thieu commented. U.S. Chief negotiator Cyrus Vance criticized the decision by Thieu, but also accused the Vietcong of hypocrisy.

After a cabinet meeting on Vietnam on February 22, a leak at the White House revealed that Secretary of State Dean Rusk urged President Johnson to resume air bombardment and halt the withdrawal of 50,000 troops, scheduled to be completed by late May. As the NY Times reported, he clashed with Vice President Robert Kennedy, who was strongly in favor of the bombing halt and the withdrawal.

The next day, President Johnson ordered partial air bombardments against NLF forces. These are the first since October 1968. Nevertheless, the commander-in-chief rejected calls from hawks in congress and the military such as Scoop Jackson (D-WA) to expand the bombing to Laos and Cambodia, where the communist forces operate as well. The White House stated that the temporary and limited air strikes are only aimed at pushing back the Tet Offensive.

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February 27, 1969: Anna Chennault arrested; indictment looming

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Anna Chennault, a Vietnamese woman and US resident who was been accused of sabotaging peace talks in Paris, was arrested by the FBI. According to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the investigation will be completed within the next few months. She will be indicted and likely has to leave the country afterwards.


Gallup polls, released February 28, 1969

President Johnson's approval rating declined by the end of February, but still at a healthy level. Gallup also polled some other questions in February.

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 55%
Disapprove: 39%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove President Johnson's handling of foreign policy?
Approve: 54%
Disapprove: 38%
Unsure: 8%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove President Johnson's handling of the Vietnam War?
Approve: 40%
Disapprove: 50%
Unsure: 10%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove President Johnson's handling of the economy?
Approve: 59%
Disapprove: 32%
Unsure: 9%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove President Johnson's handling civil rights?
Approve: 68%
Disapprove: 26%
Unsure: 6%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove Robert Kennedy's performance as vice president?
Approve: 56%
Disapprove: 36%
Unsure: 8%


March 3, 1969: President Johnson announces new healthcare initiative

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Senator Ted Kennedy (l) during a meeting with President Johnson in the Oval Office

After a six-hour meeting with Vice President Kennedy, congressional leaders and cabinet members at the White House, President Johnson announced a new health-care initiative advanced by his administration. “We want high-quality and affordable health-care coverage for every one of our fellow citizens. We made much progress since the Social Security Amendments of 1965, but more remains to be done. Especially children need to be covered”, the president said. A major role in the initiative plays Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA), younger brother of Bobby Kennedy the late President Kennedy. The initiative’s goal is mainly to expand healthcare coverage for children of poor families. Senator Ted Kennedy first proposed a Medicare for all program, but the administration prefers to start with Medicare for children program. However, President Johnson left the door wide open to such a proposal, but regards a children’s program more realistic to pass congress than a Medicare for all bill. “ChildCare”, as the program is called, is endorsed by Republican Senator Jacob Javits of New York, who also participated in the meeting. Senators Kennedy and Javits announced that they will work out a bill and present legislation to the senate before summer. The plan is also largely endorsed by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, a Republican, who offered his advice in the process. Conservatives like Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA) oppose the program and denounced it as “socialism”.

The initiative is the first major reform legislation proposal of the Johnson/Kennedy Administration.


Early March 1969: Tet Offensive comes to an end, allied military victory

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The newly launched Tet Offensive by the NLF is mainly over. The Vietcong suffered over 3,500 casualties within the past few months. According the U.S. military officials, the losses further weakened the communists. President Johnson ordered the suspension of the air strikes temporary resumed in February.


March 7, 1969: President Johnson announces decision regarding Tet 1969 and Vietnam policy

During a White House press conference, President Johnson announced that he does not question the withdrawal of 50,000 U.S. troops by May 31. “As agreed to in Moscow, and as I have outlined during the campaign, 50,000 troops will be home by the end of May. We have already begun with this process. But we leave most of our equipment in Vietnam for our allies in the South. This also saves cost because of the enormous logistic challenges such a delivery would create”, said the chief-executive.

Media observers described the decision as a defeat of the hawk faction around Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who openly questioned the plans after Tet 1969 and a victory for Vice President Kennedy and Defense Secretary Clark Clifford, who want less American military involvement in Vietnam.


March 10, 1969: Secretary of State Dean Rusk resigns

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He has been the longest serving Secretary of State in American history. In office since President John F. Kennedy appointed him in January 1961, Secretary Rusk today announced his resignation from office. It is no secret that the secretary found himself more and more isolated within the administration, after President Johnson decided to stay the course on Vietnam he begun in March 1968, despite the recent 1969 Tet Offensive. Rusk has always been a hawk regarding the conflict, and he now decided to step down after recent developments.

After Rusk’s formal resignation that afternoon, Under Secretary Nicholas Katzenbach has been appointed as interim successor. President Johnson expressed good wishes for his “personal friend” in a brief statement. The president also said that he wants to nominate a successor as soon as possible. Press reports list Cyrus Vance as the favorite for the important cabinet position. The chief-executive also assured the public that the disarmament talks with the USSR won’t be affected by the change at the State Department leadership.
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Sir Mohamed
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« Reply #52 on: October 06, 2017, 03:58:14 am »

I enjoy reading this awesome TL! Keep it up.
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Parrotguy
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« Reply #53 on: October 06, 2017, 04:21:06 am »

I enjoy reading this awesome TL! Keep it up.
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President Johnson
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« Reply #54 on: October 08, 2017, 05:08:52 am »

March 24, 1969: President Johnson signs Consumer Protection Bill

The first major legislation bill of the 91st Congress was signed into law by the president on March 24. The law is designed to improve some consumer protection standards, especially with regard to smoking. The act requires a stronger health warning on cigarette packages. The Johnson Administration actively supported the legislation.


March 31, 1969: More signature legislation signed into law

At a White House Rose Garden ceremony, President signed some other signature legislation: An extention of the original 1963 Clean Air Act, Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act and the Washington DC Delegate Act, which  authorized voters in the District of Columbia to elect one non-voting delegate to represent them in the United States House of Representatives. The president commented, that he intends to give the District full members of congress. His administration will ask for specific legislation in the months to come.


Gallup polls, released March 31, 1969

One year after his remarkable speech to the nation, President Johnson's popularity has significaltly risen, although he lost one point compared to February. Disapproval, however, remains at the same level.

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 54%
Disapprove: 39%


April 2, 1969: Nicholas Katzenbach nominated for Secretary of State

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While President Johnson signs the Veteran's Bill into law, Vice President Kennedy smiles

After Vice President Kennedy, together with lawmakers, worked out legislation for homecoming Vietnam Veterans, President Johnson today signed a signature bill into law that passed both houses of congress within a very short period of time. The law provides additional health-care benefices for soldiers and their families, increased psychological accompaniment for those in need as well as a program that is designed to help former soldiers to find a job in civilian life.

The president thanked his vice president at the signing ceremony for his efforts. Political observers were surprised that President Johnson and Vice President Kennedy obviously found a way to work very well together. In his remarks, Bobby Kennedy himself thanked the president for his help in the legislative process. The vice president also announced the extension of the Veteran’s program. As he said, his office will work out legislation for a Housing Bill for homecoming members of the armed forces. The housing section was left out of the bill President Johnson just signed. Vice President Kennedy told the public, that he intends to pass this legislation by the year’s end at latest.
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« Reply #55 on: October 11, 2017, 01:15:30 pm »

May 10, 1969: First battalions from Vietnam come home, Johnson Administration to review military draft

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President Johnson welcomes troops from Vietnam home

First aircrafts with battalions from Vietnam today landed in various Air Bases around the United States. At Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington D.C., President Johnson and Vice President Kennedy welcomed 2,500 soldiers with a military ceremony. The president thanked the homecoming men in his remarks for their service and sacrifice. He also reassured them, that his administration will do everything possible to bring about peace without weakening America’s position the world.

In addition, what came as surprise, the commander-in-chief announced to review the military draft. Vice President Kennedy became an advocate of ending the draft and replace through a volunteer army. Richard Nixon briefly raised the issue during the campaign and promised to submit a plan for ending the draft, but President Johnson himself didn’t address the matter. With the American involvement in the Vietnam War now being reduced and after many years of complaint about the draft, the president seemed convinced to begin a reform process. “We must do far more to ensure that the burden of military service is shared equally. We have to take care that not only young men of poor families and young blacks are fighting for our country. Therefore, I will review the entire draft and submit legislation within an appropriate span of time”, President Johnson remarked in his address to young soldiers.


May 14, 1969: Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas resigns amidst scandal

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Abe Fortas, who resigned from the court over a scandal

A setback for President Johnson: Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, a personal friend of the president who was appointed in 1965, resigned from the nation’s highest court.

Mr. Fortas had accepted a US$20,000 retainer from the family foundation of Wall Street financier Louis Wolfson, a friend and former client, in January 1966. Mr. Fortas had signed a contract with Mr. Wolfson's foundation. In return for unspecified advice, it was to pay Mr. Fortas $20,000 a year for the rest of Mr. Fortas's life (and then pay his widow for the rest of her life).

In a public statement, President Johnson expressed his disappointment and announced he will nominate a successor as soon as possible.


May 29, 1969: Trials in Chennault case begin

At a federal court in Virginia the trial against Anna Chennault and Nixon aides, mainly H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, begun. They are indicted for acts of sabotage in the Paris Peace talks. The FBI continues to investigate the role of Richard Nixon himself and his top advisor Henry Kissinger. As the Washington Post reported on May 30, Kissinger has been invited for an informal FBI interview within the next weeks.


May 31, 1969: 50,000 troops from Vietnam home

The US Armed forces confirmed in a public statement, the withdrawal of 50,000 troops from Vietnam has been completed successfully. The White House issued a statement, that President Johnson will soon make a decision how and when the next step of troop reduction will be implemented.

Despite the ongoing talks in Paris, the ground war is still moving on. However, American deaths declined in the first months of 1969 by a significant margin.


Gallup polls, released May 31, 1969

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 52%
Disapprove: 40%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove Robert Kennedy's performance as vice president?
Approve: 55%
Disapprove: 39%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove Nicholas Katzenbach's performance as Secretary of State?
Approve: 65%
Disapprove: 28%


June 1, 1969: Formal arms reduction negotiations between U.S. and USSR begin

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Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach and Foreign Minister Andrej Gromyko in Geneva

As agreed in January, formal arms reduction talks in Geneva between the United States and the Soviet Union started this June 1st. Both sides selected a handful of representatives. At the opening ceremony, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko for the first time met his new American counterpart, Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach. It was the second time the new secretary visited Europe since taking office in April. According to recent Gallup poll, two-thirds of the American people approve Mr. Katzenbach’s performance as the nation’s top-diplomat.


June 6, 1969: President Johnson and Senator Ted Kennedy present ChildCare Legislation

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President Johnson during the press conference on healthcare

At a White House ceremony, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) presented the so-called ChildCare Act of 1969. The legislation expands Medicare for under 18-year olds. According to the president, the program is designed to give kids of poor families access to affordable healthcare. After the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, this initiative would be the third major piece of legislation in healthcare policy for the Johnson Administration. Senator Ted Kennedy will introduce the bill together with his co-sponsor, Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY).

During the ceremony, President Johnson reaffirmed his support of a constitutional amendment to lower the majority age from 21 to 18.


June 15, 1969: Henry Kissinger rumored to take role in U.S. diplomacy

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Henry Kissinger... soon an advisor to the Johnson Administration?

This June 15th, a New York Times article claimed that former Nixon advisor Henry Kissinger, a foreign policy expert, has been tapped by the White House as foreign policy advisor. The newspaper names a White House leak as source. Accordingly, Kissinger may open a direct line of communication between the American government and Red China. Mr. Kissinger allegedly suggested to involve China in the peace talks to President Johnson and offered him to take a role in such a process. Mr. Kissinger seemingly believes that communist regime of Mao may help resolve the Vietnam conflict, as China is an important ally of Ho Chi Minh. The president allegedly responded positive to the proposal, but demanded a clarification of any charges in the Chennault case against Mr. Kissinger, if he wants to play any role in diplomacy under Johnson. As the source claimed, Mr. Kissinger’s “secret” FBI interview on June 12 went positive and Director J. Edgar Hoover, who is personally close to LBJ, reported to the president that Henry Kissinger is de facto cleared of any charges. At least that there is no proof that Mr. Kissinger was involved in the sabotage attempts.

The White House didn’t react to the report, but an aide to President Johnson informally said that Mr. Kissinger’s opinions are highly regarded in the administration. However, he denied that Mr. Kissinger is under consideration for an official post within the administration such as National Security Advisor.
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Sir Mohamed
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« Reply #56 on: October 12, 2017, 09:28:26 am »

I doubt Kissinger would have worked for the Johnson White House. But great to see that there is more happening on healthcare.
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Parrotguy
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« Reply #57 on: October 13, 2017, 08:05:35 am »

Awesome updates! This is really realistic and well-written.
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President Johnson
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« Reply #58 on: October 14, 2017, 03:56:03 am »

I doubt Kissinger would have worked for the Johnson White House. But great to see that there is more happening on healthcare.

Well, Kissinger was an opportunist. He originally worked for Nelson Rockefeller, but joined Team Nixon after the latter won the Republican nomination. He also considered working for Humphrey after he spoke to LBJ a few times in 1967 and 1968. Kissinger was not personally devoted to Nixon; he even (privately) didn't have a very high opinion of Tricky Dick. Kissinger was personally much closer to Rocky.
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President Johnson
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« Reply #59 on: October 14, 2017, 04:35:14 am »
« Edited: October 14, 2017, 04:43:31 am by President Johnson »

July 1, 1969: President Johnson nominates Pat Brown for Supreme Court

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Nominee for the Supreme Court: Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, former Governor of California

Several candidates were under consideration to fill the vacancy at the Supreme Court after Abe Fortas resigned following a financial scandal. Among them former Justice Arthur Goldberg, who was forced out of the court in 1965 by President Johnson to assume the role of U.N. Ambassador, which he resigned over disputes on Vietnam in 1968. The nomination of Edmund G. "Pat" Brown came as a surprise to many. The 64 year old California attorney served as Attorney General of his state and was governor from 1959 to 1967. A pragmatic progressive, Mr. Brown was defeated for a third term as governor by Ronald Reagan in 1966. Afterwards, he returned to private law practice. Now, he’s back on the stage, though in a very different role.


July 3, 1969: Paris Peace talks temporary suspended

A setback for the Paris Peace talks: The National Liberation Front announced that it will suspend its participation in the Paris peace talks, after the USSR reduced military aid, as agreed to in December 1968. Subsequently, the North Vietnamese government also walked off the negotiations, but left the door open to return to the table.

President Johnson found harsh words on the North Vietnamese regime and the NLF. “These are serious matters. And we can’t have it, that one side decides on daily basis whether they want to talk or not”, said the president. He also threatened to resume air strikes and increase U.S. military activity if the North doesn’t return to the conference table within a short period of time. White House insiders told the press, that the suspension is only a PR stunt by the communist regime against the USSR, whose leadership also condemned the move. Premier Kosygin urged North Vietnam to return to the table, but also demanded that Saigon joins the talks. He also called upon President Johnson to increase pressure on Thieu.

A July 15 congressional report, however, confirmed that the NLF has not significantly increased military efforts since leaving the talks.


July 16 – 20, 1969: A small step for man, one giant step for mankind

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President Johnson witnesses the start of Apollo 11 at Cape Canaveral, Florida

President Lyndon Johnson has long been involved in space policy and the efforts to land a man on the moon since his predecessor, President John F. Kennedy, challenged his nation to reach this historic goal. On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission started at Cape Kennedy (known as Cape Canaveral). The president himself as well as Vice President Kennedy traveled to Florida to witness the historic occasion.

After a nearly decade-long national effort, the United States won the race to land astronauts on the Moon on July 20, 1969, with the flight of Apollo 11. On that day, President Johnson received the first call from Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, who spoke the famous words: “That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”.

After their return, President Johnson invited the three astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin to the White House and awared them with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Neil Armstrong on the moon


July 29, 1969: Pat Brown confirmed as Supreme Court justice

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President Johnson shakes hands with Pat Brown, after the latter was sworn in as Supreme Court Justice

With 85 to 14 votes, former California Governor and Attorney General Edmund G. “Pat” Brown was confirmed by the Senate as Justice. He was sworn in by Chief Justice Homer Thornberry the same day.


Gallup polls, released July 31, 1969

Despite the setback in Paris, President Johnson's approval rating was on the rise again. Polling experts suggest that this is because of the successful Apollo 11 mission, that the president took great credit for.

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 55%
Disapprove: 38%


August 4, 1969: South Vietnamese President Thieu agrees to join peace talks after meeting with Secretary Katzenbach

After Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach delayed his planned visit in Saigon for logistical reasons, he arrived in the South Vietnamese capital on August 3 for consultations with the allied government. Right before his departure back to America, Secretary Katzenbach together with President Thieu announced at a joint press conference, that South Vietnam will send a delegation to Paris as soon as the negotiations resume. Thieu already agreed to such a move back in January, but withdrew after the North launched a new Tet Offensive and did not publically change his mind for months. In their final communique, Thieu and Katzenbach once again called upon the communist regime and NLF to reenter the Paris talks. The North Vietnamese government responded that they are ready to come back to the table as soon as the NLF will do so.


August 21 – 25, 1969: Nationwide anti-war protests, Vice President Kennedy speaks to demonstrators

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After the first half of 1969 was relatively quiet with regard to the anti-war protests, a new wave of demonstrations shock the nation. Hundreds of thousands of students, hippies and yuppies demonstrated against the ongoing war in Vietnam. Some unrest also broke out in various African American communities. In Washington, more than 50,000 people gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the conflict and the American role in it. They demanded an immediate suspension of all hostile actions by the U.S. Many also directly spoke to President Johnson, shouting “LBJ, end the war!”

On Sunday, August 24, Vice President Robert Kennedy surprisingly went outside the Capitol and spoke to the protesters. The vice president enjoyed high support among anti-war activists, but his stance with that group declined after he became President Johnson’s running mate in the 1968 presidential election in an effort to unite the party. Now, with this demonstration going on right before his door, the vice president spontaneously decided to speak directly to the demonstrators. According to the White House, Vice President Kennedy phoned President Johnson at his Texas Ranch and told him we wanted to give the speech and LBJ was not against it.

Some parts of the vice president’s remarks:

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: “My fellow citizens. I am here to tell you that I understand your concerns. If I were one of you, if I were a student, I would do the exact same thing. I am also here to assure you that the entire administration is against the war and that we are doing everything to end it as soon as possible. And we have made great progress [Interruption after boos]
But it is not easy. Things are more than black and white. I want you to understand this, because it is very important. […]

However, I would like to remind you all, that what you are doing here is possible, because we live in a free country. We are enjoying these blessings of freedom that millions of people around the world are seeking. You can fill these streets and protest your concerns. And nobody has the right the restrict this right. Not the president, not the congress, not me. The reason is, because we have a constitution, we have the rule of law. That is our way. And we will never abandon these values. And we ought to help those, who seek freedom for their own country. At the same time, we must do everything we can to promote peace. I can tell you as representative of this government, that this is what we’re going. The road to this peace in Vietnam is rocky and not easy. But we won’t fail.

Last but not least, I want to urge everybody not tolerate violence. Demonstrations must be peaceful. This is your, this is our obligation.

Thank you all. God bless you. God bless America.”


The reaction of the stunned crowd was mixed. Some applauded Bobby Kennedy and praised him loudly. Some female students even cried “Bobby, I love you”. Others were booing at the vice president and shouted “Bobby, you traitor! Go home!”


Gallup polls, released August 31, 1969

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 51%
Disapprove: 41%


September 2, 1969: North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh dies

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North Vietnamese President and leader of the Communist Party of North Vietnam Ho Chi Minh died this September 2. "Uncle Ho", as he is known in Vietnam, was the leader of the communist movement in North Vietnam and played a key role in the first Indochina War against France in the 1950s. However, he remained largely in the background during the Vietnem War.

Administration officials, who privately talked to journalists, expressed their hope that this might help the stalled peace negotiations. The White House did not respond to Ho's death, but the State Department issued a formal note of condolence.
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« Reply #60 on: October 14, 2017, 04:53:50 am »

I wonder if LBJ is gonna die before his term is up.
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« Reply #61 on: October 14, 2017, 04:58:46 am »

I wonder if LBJ is gonna die before his term is up.

We'll see. Interesting what-if question though. Some say yes because of the stress. But you also have to keep in mind that he lived healthier as president than after 1969. He resumed smoking after he left office and ate more unhealthy things.
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« Reply #62 on: October 15, 2017, 04:52:29 am »

September 7, 1969: Republican Senate Leader Everett Dirksen dies of cancer

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Late senator and Republican leader Everett Dirksen, who sadly passed away, and his successor Hugh Scott

Mourning at Capitol Hill: At the age of 73 and after a very short battle with cancer, Senator and Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) passed away. President Johnson ordered all flags to be lowered for one week. Although of opposite parties, Senator Dirksen was personally close to the president for many years. Senator Dirksen also played an important role in passing civil rights legislation, which he supported. He was also a close advisor on Vietnam policy, where favored a hawkish course. Mr. Dirksen will be remembered.

The next day, the Republican Caucus elected Senator Hugh Scott (R-PA) as its new leader.


September 17, 1969: Landmark ChildCare Act of 1969 passed and signed to into law

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President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the ChildCare Act of 1969 at the White House, as others look on

Following the passage of the ChildCare Act of 1969, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark legislation into law during a White House ceremony. The senate approved the bill with 60 votes in late July, few weeks after co-sponsors Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Jacob Javits (R-NY) introduced the bill. Seven Republicans voted for it, while six southern Democrats opposed the bill. The U.S. House approved the act in early September with some minor amendments by a 242 to 179 vote, with some Republicans supportive and some Democrats, mainly from the South, against it. After the senate finally voted in favor with 59 votes, the legislation was sent to the president’s desk. It will go into effect on June 30, 1970.

The president thanked Senators Kennedy and Javits in his remarks and spoke of a milestone in healthcare. The new law expands Medicare to children under 18 and is designed to cover kids of poor families with affordable healthcare. President Johnson also announced that he will propose legislation that expands access to Medicaid; a program adopted under his watch in 1965 to help low-income Americans to get medical care.


Gallup polls, released September 30, 1969

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 54%
Disapprove: 39%


October 1, 1969: Vietnam Peace Talks in Paris continue, South Vietnam participates

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The conference table in Paris

Although U.S. air strikes were not resumed after February, American fighting activity had slightly increased after the North Vietnamese parties (regime and NLF) withdrew from the Paris talks, what led to heavy losses on the communist side. Training of South Vietnamese forces also speeded up during the past three months. Now the regime and NLF announced that they will come back to the table in Paris to resume negotiations. Although they denied the move has something to do with their casualties, the Johnson Administration and Thieu government stated it was due to the developments on the battlefield. However, U.S. Chief Negotiator Cyrus Vance described the path to a full agreement as “rocky”. Some newspaper wrote that the (unofficial) goal to leave Vietnam by January 1971 was unrealistic. Defense Secretary Clifford denied the existence of any specific date.


October 8, 1969: Richard Nixon will not be indicted

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While the Chennault trials are going on relatively quiet, the FBI released a statement on Richard Nixon: Accordingly, the bureau will not indict the former Republican nominee, because there is no evidence that he himself was involved in the sabotage attempts. “Innocent until proven guilty”, reads the report. A FBI spokesperson said there is simply no crystal-clear proof of Nixon’s guilt and therefore an indictment would not be successful under the rule of law. The spokesperson also confirmed that the FBI interviewed Nixon secretly for over eight hours.

The report finally concludes that Nixon knew of contacts between campaign aides and Vietnamese officials, but described such consultations as “normal”. In all protocols of calls and telegrams, the bureau could only find that Nixon confirmed, “that he will give the South a better deal”. But these were the same statements that he gave in public over the course of his campaign. Neither he nor Kissinger asked Thieu to “hold on” or made a statement that could be interpreted as such a request.

Richard Nixon himself welcomed the decision in an interview he gave the Los Angeles Times the next day. He also apologized for Haldeman and Ehrlichman and expressed his disappointment over the situation, but added that they are “fine and hardworking man”. During the interview, Nixon said he would not run for president again.

Nevertheless, some public doubts remain.


October 28, 1969: First agreement in Paris reached: Prisoners of war will be exchanged

The first breakthrough in Paris has come: North and South Vietnam as well the United States agreed to exchange prisoners of war by the year’s end. Public observers saw this a positive sign.

The option of such an exchange was discussed for months, but the U.S. side long insisted that North Vietnamese prisoners may decide (before their release) whether they want to return to the North or not. If not, this would have been a propaganda victory for the Western alliance. In return for the concession, the North agreed to release all American pilots that were shot down and imprisoned since the war began.

Conservatives in congress like Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) criticized that NLF soldiers who wanted to escape from the north had not the choice to so after their release from prison.


Gallup polls, released October 31, 1969

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 54%
Disapprove: 40%


November 5, 1969: President Johnson orders withdrawal of additional 100,000 troops by April 1970

Shortly after the agreement on the exchange of war prisoners, President Johnson issued a directive to withdraw another 100,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam. The withdrawal is scheduled to begin by January and be completed by April 1970. “I have made the decision as a result of the progress in Paris”, the commander-in-chief noted at a press conference. Nevertheless, he warned that any new offensive by the north would lead to a “strong American response” including air strikes.


November 20, 1969: Henry Kissinger joins White House as foreign policy advisor

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Left to right: National Security Advisor Walt Rostow, new foreign policy advisor Henry Kissinger and President Lyndon B. Johnson meet at the Oval Office after Mr. Kissinger's hiring was announced

It has been rumored for months, now it is official: Henry Kissinger will join the Johnson Administration as a foreign policy advisor. This is more of an informal role; he will not be in an official position and directly report to President Johnson. Mr. Kissinger noted he is “deeply honored” by the president’s decision. He also expressed his willingness to cooperate closely with Secretary Katzenbach. Public observers regarded the hiring of the former Rockefeller and Nixon aide as an attempt to involve Red China in the Paris the peace talks. Accordingly, President Johnson was very open to the idea of talking to China but preferred such dialogues in private; what is the reason that Secretary Katzenbach will not lead such talks. At least for now. However, the White House confirmed that Mr. Katzenbach would be heavily involved in Mr. Kissinger’s work. According to White House interns in backroom conversations, Vice President Kennedy was against Mr. Kissinger’s hiring.


November 27, 1969: Congress rejects additional aid for South Vietnam

In a special message to congress from early October, President Lyndon Johnson requested for additional military and economic aid for South Vietnam. However, today the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the measure by a narrow 225 – 203 vote. Although Majority Leader Carl Albert (D-OK) and Minority Leader Gerald Ford (R-MI) largely supported the measure, the majority felt that no increase in aid is necessary. The decision is the first important defeat of the Johnson Administration at Capitol Hill this year.


Gallup polls, released November 30, 1969

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 52%
Disapprove: 41%


Next: An exclusive interview with Vice President Robert Kennedy as well as joint interview of the president and the vice president… stay tuned!
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« Reply #63 on: October 15, 2017, 11:35:21 am »

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Why is Johnson watching the launch with a lowly Governor of Maryland? Tongue
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« Reply #64 on: October 16, 2017, 12:57:07 pm »

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Why is Johnson watching the launch with a lowly Governor of Maryland? Tongue

A little bipartisanship during a historic event. Tongue
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« Reply #65 on: October 16, 2017, 01:10:12 pm »
« Edited: October 21, 2017, 09:45:34 am by President Johnson »

December 9, 1969: Vice President Robert F. Kennedy gives exclusive interview

As the year 1969 and with it the 1960s neared its/their end, CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite was granted an exclusive interview with Vice President Robert Kennedy in his office at the White House. The two men talked about several issues, reflected on the vice president’s first year in office and the future. A second interview, where Mr. Cronkite will sit down with President Johnson first and then with Vice President Kennedy joining the conservation is scheduled for December 11.

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WALTER CRONKITE: Mr. Vice President, thank you very much for sitting down with me.

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Thanks, Walter. My pleasure. Welcome to the White House.

WALTER CRONKITE: Mr. Vice President, let me start with a simple question: You’re vice president for almost a year now. How is it? Do you like the job or do still thank what might have been, had you been elected president last year?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Well, I am not living in the past, thinking about what might have been, though I often think about my beloved brother. Life seldom goes exactly how we want it. What I said to myself, when I took the vice presidential nomination as well as when it became evident that our ticket won the election, that I want to make the best out of it. And I strongly believe that I have done so. I really do believe that my voice had an impact on the course of this administration. To me, this is about serving the American people.

WALTER CRONKITE: So, in other words, you like the role of vice president?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Yes. I like to be a servant of the people. In whatever position I can make a difference to improve lives of our fellow citizens as well as promote peace and freedom around the world. That’s what I like.

WALTER CRONKITE: You’re touching an important subject, Mr. Vice President, peace and freedom. You have been a vocal critic of President Johnson’s Vietnam policy over the course of the primary campaign last year. Are now satisfied with the direction of the administration?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: It is not about my personal satisfaction with anything. Last year, I said that there must be change in foreign policy with respect to Vietnam. So far, there have been major changes since March 1968. And I am pleased with the steps the president and the entire administration have taken. We are at a much better situation now than 24 months ago when there was no end in sight.

WALTER CRONKITE: But we are still in battle. The number of deaths declined, but we are still in combat and it is doubtful how the negotiations are playing out. And in the end, we still might lose Vietnam to the communists after he leave.

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: I never proposed to leave Vietnam at once. The policy of U.S. government is now to withdraw step by step and put the South Vietnamese in charge of defending their country. I’m optimistic that we will be successful with that goal while we negotiate a ceasefire. As you can see, we make progress in Paris, too. South Vietnam, in the end, can only be defended by the South Vietnamese themselves. We can help them with military aid and economic development. The latter is very important, too, if we want to make sure that the Vietnamese people reject communism and develop a normal way of live into the free world. That’s what we have done in western Europe twenty years ago. With great success.

WALTER CRONKITE: How long should the U.S. stay in Vietnam? Did you urge President Johnson to set a specific date?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: It is not about a specific date. We leave step by step as South Vietnam develops the capabilities to manage their defense. All while negotiations in Paris are going on. These are the decisive factors how fast we leave. This is the formula President Johnson has outlined and I support this policy one hundred percent.

WALTER CRONKITE: Will American forces be out by the end of this administration?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Almost certainly, yes. We will be engaged in one form or another. But U.S. troops won’t be in combat.

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WALTER CRONKITE: Mr. Vice President, I’d like to switch topics. Talk about the campaign last year, the assassination attempt, your relationship with President Johnson and your future. And I may start with a personal question: Did June 5, 1968 change you?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Absolutely. I believe such an experience changes everybody. I take nothing for granted anymore and got a deep awareness that everything might come to an end from one day to another. Although I had developed such a sense of awareness after my brother was killed. Therefore, I try to be a better person every day.

WALTER CRONKITE: A question that is probably still on the mind of many Americans: Why did you join the ticket with President Johnson? How did that happen? That is something nobody expected, given your previous … let’s say… ahmm… difficult [smiles] … relationship with him?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: You just asked how the assassination attempt has changed me. After the incident, I thought about a lot of things. Including leaving the race. I mean, I didn’t know for sure whether I could continue physically. However, I felt an obligation to the millions of voters who expressed their support for my campaign. On the other hand, I was carefully reviewing the state of race. As I went through these calculations, politically as well as the delegate count, I concluded that the only way to clinch the nomination was a major upset at the convention floor. That would have led to a massive and unrepairable division of the party. I didn’t want that. As I talked to President Johnson, we agreed that the formation of a Johnson/Kennedy ticket would be the best solution. For the country and the party. I knew that he wanted to keep Vice President Humphrey on the ticket. That was understandable from his viewpoint.

WALTER CRONKITE: He didn’t want as second-in-command in 1964. Do you think he only agreed this time to save his presidency?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Circumstances in 1964 were different. Just as in 1960 and the years before. Each election is different.

WALTER CRONKITE: What’s your relationship with the president now?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: It’s fine. Actually better than I expected. He gave some responsibilities and I think the record proves that the LBJ-RFK team can deliver.

WALTER CRONKITE: How often to you talk to him?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: It depends. But almost daily. We have breakfast together each Thursday.
WALTER CRONKITE: We get another chance to talk about your relationship in our second interview with the president. Now a question on everybody’s mind: Are you going to run for president in 1972?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: [laughs] I am not going to speculate what's happening more than two years from now. Right now I am focused on the issues of the day.

WALTER CRONKITE: If you run, who do you expect to face from the Republicans?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: These are not thoughts I have at the moment. I believe that the Republican Party consists several talented politicians and potential candidates.

WALTER CRONKITE: Who would rate as such? Ronald Reagan? Nelson Rockefeller? George Romney?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: For example.

WALTER CRONKITE: I thank you very much and we see each other in two days together with the president.

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Thank you very much.
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« Reply #66 on: October 17, 2017, 08:51:21 am »

Terrific updates! I wonder when the Vietnam War is over.
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« Reply #67 on: October 21, 2017, 04:15:30 am »

December 11, 1969: President Johnson and Vice President Kennedy give exclusive interview

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That December evening, President Lyndon B. Johnson sat down with Walter Cronkite to discuss various topics in the White House. Later, Vice President Robert F. Kennedy joined the conversation.


WALTER CRONKITE: Thank you very much for hosting me, Mr. President.
 
PRESIDENT JOHNSON: My pleasure. You are always welcome, Walter.

WALTER CRONKITE: Mr. President, one year has passed since your reelection. We’re still in Vietnam. How long does the fighting continue?

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: Walter, that largely depends on the progress in Paris. What we’ve seen over the last months was very encouraging, what lead me to the decision to withdraw 100,000 more troops. But I want to emphasize that we could have been at that point sooner. The 1969 Tet Offensive and the temporary suspension of the talks over the summer was not helpful. I can’t make projection when all U.S. combat troops will be out of Vietnam, but assure you and the viewers that I do everything in my power to end the war.

WALTER CRONKITE: Vice President Kennedy said, we will be out by the end of your term.

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: That is three years from now. I do not intend and, quite frankly, expect to stay that long.

WALTER CRONKITE: What led you to change your Vietnam policy? The Tet Offensive of 1968, the looming election and your desire another term, Robert Kennedy or the demonstrations?

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: I don’t agree with the term “changed”. It has always been the policy of my administration to seek a diplomatic solution. But we had no choice to fight back, when the communists repeatedly violated the Treaty of 1954 and international law. We tried many times since 1965. Including many others, like the pope, were engaged in an effort for peace. I believe that the 1968 Tet Offensive, which caused massive losses for the other side led them to seek another salutation. They just don’t want to admit it.

WALTER CRONKITE: But wasn’t the election an issue in your thoughts?

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: The election was an issue. I had to make clear what my policies are, so that the American people can take a vote on it. And they have done so.

WALTER CRONKITE: What’s your relation with the vice president? Do you miss Hubert Humphrey?

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: I have good relationship with the vice president. He has been very helpful on several issues, like the Veteran’s bill. I frequently talk to him. Of course, I miss my old friend, Hubert. But I think his career isn’t over. You will hear of him soon I guess.

WALTER CRONKITE: Does he run for president in ’72? And if so, would you endorse him?

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: You have to ask him whether he runs. It’s not up to me to comment on his plans. I shall support the person the Democratic Party choses as its nominee.

WALTER CRONKITE: Mr. President, some people say that the Chennault report that leaked three days before the 1968 election was your work. And that you didn’t want Nixon in prison. That’s why the investigation now dropped and you opposed a congressional investigation. You just wanted him to lose. What’s your reaction?

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: [laughs] The leak isn’t my work. But I won’t have the opportunity to prove it isn’t. Those who believe in this theory will continue to do so, no matter what I do or don’t do.

[…]

[The vice president enters the Oval Office]

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WALTER CRONKITE: Welcome to our interview, Mr. Vice President.

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Thanks. Hello, Mr. President, hello Walter.

WALTER CRONKITE: Now, as we are assembled here with you two gentlemen, I’d like to talk about your relationship as well as the future. You both said that your relationship is good. How did this relationship develop? It is being said that your previous relationship was poor, if not hostile, before the 1968 general election campaign. What changed?

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: Walter, Bobby and I have are very different personality and background. That’s nothing new. What I believe what changed are the circumstances. By spring and summer of last year, it became evident that we have to find a way to work together. We had to reconsider, whether we wanted to risk a defeat in November or not. Not just for us, but for the party. Remember that our clear victory was everything but certain into October. You might say that 351 electoral votes and 52% of the popular vote is a convincing victory, and it indeed is, but we could have lost this race quite easily.

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: If I might add, what also played a role is the assassination attempt. Just move the bullet a few inches – I would be dead right now. When the president spontaneously visited me at the hospital and later phoned me a couple of times, we talked about being close to death. The president shared with me his own very personal experience, when he suffered a heart attack in 1956. We also talked about the death of my brother. We asked ourselves what he might have wanted. We believe he didn’t want us to fight all the time.

WALTER CRONKITE: Did you feel the president was serious when you were recovering? I mean, some said President Johnson playing the caretaker was only a political move.

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Yes, I thought – and still think – he was sincere. At least he continued to reach out. As you know, I have been very much involved in policy making in this administration. More than most previous vice presidents.

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: [laughs] More than I have been involved in JFK’s administration, although I was given some important duties like overseeing the space program which ultimately lead to success this year.

WALTER CRONKITE: How do you handle situations, when you two don’t agree?

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: Well, I have to point out that we agree on most issues. Especially in domestic policy. When we have a disagreement, we discuss it. Just like I discuss with any other member of the cabinet. However, in the end, it is the president who makes the final decision. And he bears the responsibilty for it.
 
VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: That’s right. But we seldom disagree in a fundamental issue.

WALTER CRONKITE: You wouldn’t consider Vietnam as such, Mr. Vice President?

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: We agreed that we wanted – and still do – peace. There were only different approaches how to get there. I fully support the formula that we now laid out for peace and withdrawal.

WALTER CRONKITE: So, I usually wanted to talk about 1972, but I guess you two won’t discuss this topic.

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: You are right, Walter. This is pure speculation. All I can say is that will support the Democratic nominee. And whether Bobby runs or not, is his personal decision.

WALTER CRONKITE: Thank you very much. I look forward for further discussions on various occasions with you in the future. Thank you.

PRESIDENT JOHNSON: Thank you.

VICE PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Thank you very much.
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Southern Speaker Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #68 on: October 21, 2017, 04:43:05 am »

By the way this is Kennedy. Tongue
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« Reply #69 on: October 21, 2017, 04:59:22 am »

By the way this is Kennedy. Tongue

What's Kennedy? The guy on the second picture? That's RFK. Wink
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« Reply #70 on: October 21, 2017, 05:01:26 am »

By the way this is Kennedy. Tongue

What's Kennedy? The guy on the second picture? That's RFK. Wink
https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/rfk-if-he-wasnt-killed.340352/ reference comes from here.
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« Reply #71 on: October 21, 2017, 09:25:53 am »

By the way this is Kennedy. Tongue
What's Kennedy? The guy on the second picture? That's RFK. Wink
https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/rfk-if-he-wasnt-killed.340352/ reference comes from here.
The best timeline of all time. The first time I read that, I nearly passed out from laughing so hard.
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« Reply #72 on: October 21, 2017, 09:33:14 am »

A lot of new polling as 1970 begins!


Gallup polls, released December 31, 1969

As the year came to an end, President Johnson's approval rating remains stable, as it has been throughout the first year of his third administration. The progress in Vietnam paied off: For the first time in over two years, the numbers of those who approved and disapproved his handling of the war were tied.

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 54%
Disapprove: 40%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove President Johnson's handling of foreign policy?
Approve: 56%
Disapprove: 37%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove President Johnson's handling of the Vietnam War?
Approve: 46%
Disapprove: 46%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove President Johnson's handling of the economy?
Approve: 54%
Disapprove: 35%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove President Johnson's handling civil rights?
Approve: 68%
Disapprove: 26%

Question: Do you approve or disapprove Robert Kennedy's performance as vice president?
Approve: 53%
Disapprove: 38%


January 6, 1970: First polls for the 1972 presidential race!

Democratic Party presidential nomination

Vice President Robert F. Kennedy: 32%
Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey: 23%
Former Governor George Wallace: 21%
Senator Eugene McCarthy: 6%
Senator George McGovern: 5%
Undecided/others: 13%


Republican Party presidential nomination

Governor Ronald Reagan: 23%
Governor Nelson Rockefeller: 21%
Governor George Romney: 16%
Senator John Tower: 15%
Governor Spiro Agnew: 9%
Undecided/Others: 16%


General election match-ups

Robert F. Kennedy: 46%
Ronald Reagan: 43%

Robert F. Kennedy: 46%
Nelson Rockefeller: 44%

Robert F. Kennedy: 45%
George Romney: 45%

Robert F. Kennedy: 47%
John Tower: 42%


Hubert Humphrey: 44%
Ronald Reagan: 45%

Hubert Humphrey: 43%
Nelson Rockefeller: 45%

Hubert Humphrey: 44%
George Romney: 46%

Hubert Humphrey: 44%
John Tower: 42%


George Wallace: 42%
Ronald Reagan: 44%

George Wallace: 42%
Nelson Rockefeller: 47%

George Wallace: 42%
George Romney: 47%

George Wallace: 45%
John Tower: 43%
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« Reply #73 on: October 21, 2017, 10:57:18 am »

By the way this is Kennedy. Tongue
What's Kennedy? The guy on the second picture? That's RFK. Wink
https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/rfk-if-he-wasnt-killed.340352/ reference comes from here.
The best timeline of all time. The first time I read that, I nearly passed out from laughing so hard.

"All the bad things in the world needs to be stopped"
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« Reply #74 on: October 22, 2017, 03:43:11 am »

January 13, 1970: President Lyndon B. Johnson’s State of the Union Address

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President Johnson enters the House chamber for his State of the Union Address and shakes hands with members of congress


CLERK: Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States!

[Hail to the chief plays, President Johnson enters chamber]

SPEAKER McCORMACK: Mr. Vice President, Members of the House and Senate, it is my high privilege and distinguished honor to present to you the President of the United States.

[Applause]


PRESIDENT JOHNSON: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of the House and Senate, members of the cabinet and judiciary, distinguished guests, my fellow Americans:

I come before you today to report, as the constitution requires, on the state of union. Two years ago I stood here in this chamber and spoke of that the will of America is being tested. Last year, in my inaugural address, I spoke of the unfinished tasks ahead of us. In the past year, we have made more progress towards the future I described in my inauguration. Both here at home as well as abroad. We passed major legislation to expand healthcare, landmark veteran’s bill and consumer protection measures. […] Therefore I strongly urge the congress to enact further legislation not only to expand healthcare to all of our fellow citizens, I also want to emphasize the need to lower healthcare costs. In addition, I strongly recommend to take steps for a liberalization of other social issues. Plain and simple: I urge you to pass the constitutional amendment to lower the majority age to 18 years. We can’t ask these young people to serve in the military, risking their lives and at the same time not allowing them to vote. […] Further measures I want to recommend are a Housing Bill for both Veterans and Students, stronger environmental protection and legislation to deal with crime.

At the international front, I can report that we in midst of a process of disbarment negotiations. With the USSR. The goal is to reduce or eliminate the risk of a nuclear war. But at the same time, we have to make sure that the United States remains the strongest military power in earth. We expect the first rounds of talks to be completed next year. That may help you, as you don’t have to vote on anything in an election year such as this […] In Vietnam, we have made more progress in the past fifteen months than in the four years prior to this.  Nevertheless, I cannot hide my disappointment over the rejection of additional aid to South Vietnam in November last year. I want to urge you to reconsider this decision. But I also want to let you know that I stand ready to negotiate on the issue. […] I can report that my administration will review the military draft as soon as the current troop reduction is completed. […]

We have made great progress in the 1960s. We ended racial segregation, protected and expanded voting rights, implemented measures to deal with healthcare, education, the environment, poverty and housing. We landed a man on the moon. Now let us make sure that the 1970s will likewise be remembered as a decade of progress. Let us also work to make this a decade of peace. I’m ready to work with you. Thank you for your attention and God bless America.



The Republican response

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Governor Paul Laxalt (R-NV), who responded to the President Johnson's 1970 State of the Union Address

The Republican rebuttal came from Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt, who is an ally of Governor Ronald Reagan. The selection of Governor Laxalt was a defeat of the party’s liberal wing. Leading liberals like Governors Rockefeller and Romney proposed former Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton as GOP speaker. In his remarks, Governor Laxalt warned of an economic downturn in the next years and accused the Johnson Administration of ignoring the realities. “Instead of implementing to ensure growth on a long term basis, the Johnson/Kennedy Administration is committed to expand the size of government and enact one expensive program after another, whose results are doubtful. Only economic growth is responsible for the reduction in poverty the last few years”, he said. He added: “But we could be doing much better. That’s a reality”. On foreign policy, Governor Laxalt said his party was in favor of peace talks, but expressed concern the agreement would be “surrender in rates”. He spoke of ongoing NLF military activity and urged the administration to come up with pragmatic solutions. “Air strikes must be on the table if the communists try to take advantage of the situation. This can not be ruled out only because Vice President Kennedy doesn’t want to anger left-wing activists on the streets”, the Nevada governor stated. In the end, he again turned to domestic issues and accused President Johnson on being “weak on crime”.
 

January 30, 1970: Updates on Chennault case: Trial set to end by April, President Johnson expels Ambassador Bui Diem

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South Vietnamese Ambassador to the U.S. Bui Diem, who has been expeled from American soil for his role in the Chennault case

In late January, the responsible federal court announced the intention to complete the Chennault trial by April. Shortly after, on January 30, President Johnson decided to expel South Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States, Bui Diem, from the country. At the president’s order, the State Department issued a directive the next day that requires the representative of South Vietnam to exit the U.S. within seven days. International diplomatic rules make it almost impossible for Mr. Bui Diem to be indicted in the United States. For that reason, President Johnson declared him a persona non grata. According to recent publications on the case, the ambassador played a key role in the sabotage attempts as the man between Anna Chennault and President Thieu. President Johnson’s decision received approval from Democrats and Republicans alike.

The next day, South Vietnamese President Thieu sent a protest note. However, he didn’t change his course in the Peace talks as some journalists previously suggested.


Gallup poll, released January 31, 1970

President Johnson job approval
Approve: 54%
Disapprove: 39%
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