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Clinton's LBJ Comments Infuriated Ted Kennedy


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Clinton's LBJ Comments Infuriated Ted Kennedy

By Mary Ann Akers

Washington Post

January 31, 2008

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2008/01/post_11.html

There's more to Sen. Edward Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama than meets the eye. Apparently, part of the reason why the liberal lion from Massachusetts embraced Obama was because of a perceived slight at the Kennedy family's civil rights legacy by the other Democratic presidential primary frontrunner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Sources say Kennedy was privately furious at Clinton for her praise of President Lyndon Baines Johnson for getting the 1964 Civil Rights Act accomplished. Jealously guarding the legacy of the Kennedy family dynasty, Senator Kennedy felt Clinton's LBJ comments were an implicit slight of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who first proposed the landmark civil rights initiative in a famous televised civil rights address in June 1963.

One anonymous source described Kennedy as having a "meltdown" in reaction to Clinton's comments. Another source close to the Kennedy family says Senator Kennedy was upset about two instances that occurred on a single day of campaigning in New Hampshire on Jan. 7, a day before the state's primary.

The first was at an event in Dover, N.H., at which Clinton supporter Francine Torge introduced the former first lady saying, "Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually" signed the civil rights bill into law.

The Kennedy insider says Senator Kennedy was deeply offended that Clinton remained silent and "sat passively by" rather than correcting the record on his slain brother's civil rights record.

Kennedy was also apparently upset that Clinton said on the same day: "Dr. [Martin Luther] King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Ac. It took a president to get it done."

Both comments that day, by Clinton and her supporter, were meant to make the point that Clinton would be better equipped to get things done as president than Obama, her chief Democratic rival. Sources say Clinton called Kennedy to apologize for the LBJ comments. But whatever she said clearly wasn't enough to assuage Kennedy, who endorsed Obama earlier this week.

Kennedy insiders say the Massachusetts senator has also been angry with former President Bill Clinton for his "Southern strategy" themed comments on the campaign trail. The senator didn't hide his disdain for the nasty tone of the campaign during his endorsement speech at American University on Monday.

Kennedy's spokeswoman, Melissa Wagoner, would neither confirm nor deny that the senator was angered by Senator Clinton's LBJ comments. She simply said: "Senator Kennedy knows that candidates can't always be responsible for the things their supporters say. He's proud of President Kennedy's role in the civil rights movement, and believes that it's time to unify and inspire Americans to believe we can achieve great things again."

The Clinton campaign hasn't responded yet to our evening-time request for comment on Clinton's telephone apology to Kennedy. On the day of the LBJ rhetoric, however, a Clinton campaign spokesman was quoted on the New York Times' politics blog distancing Clinton from the surrogate who made the inappropriate assassination comment.

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This article has excellent information.

I am so friggin' sick of people lauding Johnson as Mr Civil Rights when he refused to help the elected president with his landmark civil rights package, in spite of the fact that he was his VP and former majority leader, so should have been of huge help. Then when he passes the warmed over legislation over Kennedy's dead body he gets all the credit.

The next time someone refers to the Great Society I'm leaping on 'em and tattooing this quote to their forehead:

"Senator Kennedy felt Clinton's LBJ comments were an implicit slight of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who first proposed the landmark civil rights initiative in a famous televised civil rights address in June 1963."

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I was angry when I heard HRC's comments re LBJ and the Civil Rights Act, too.

Fancy holding up that grotesque individual as a hero of the Democrat Party. It confirmed my suspicion of HRC and her glib superficiality.

As for Francine Torge, she clearly knows little about the respective contributions made by JFK and LBJ. If she wants to publicly hitch the Clinton wagon to LBJ and consign Obama to JFK, then she's erred badly and the Clinton team have misread history.

Ted Kennedy has every right to feel his brother's legacy was slighted. I'm glad he endorsed Obama.

Obama for President.

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This article has excellent information.

I am so friggin' sick of people lauding Johnson as Mr Civil Rights when he refused to help the elected president with his landmark civil rights package, in spite of the fact that he was his VP and former majority leader, so should have been of huge help. Then when he passes the warmed over legislation over Kennedy's dead body he gets all the credit.

The next time someone refers to the Great Society I'm leaping on 'em and tattooing this quote to their forehead:

"Senator Kennedy felt Clinton's LBJ comments were an implicit slight of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who first proposed the landmark civil rights initiative in a famous televised civil rights address in June 1963."

Myra, there is no doubt that Kennedy was more a visionary than LBJ. But there is also no doubt that LBJ, in the wake of the assassination, met with men such as Martin Luther King, and took civil rights to heart. Bill Moyers had a good piece on it after Clinton's statements were criticized. He pointed out that Johnson's use of the phrase "We shall overcome" in a televised speech was a total slap in the face to his fellow southern Democrats, and showed tremendous courage. I suspect he is right.

Men like Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush aren't all bad.

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Men like Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush aren't all bad.

Sure, overlooking a couple of million dead Vietnamese, a million dead Iraqis,

millions of addicts who got hooked on Reagan's contra coke, etc.

Johnson was planning to go to war and recognized the need to pacify blacks

before sending a disproportionate number of them off to 'Nam.

I could go on.

Didn't Hitler love his Mom? Not such a bad sort...

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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Johnson was planning to go to war and recognized the need to pacify blacks

before sending a disproportionate number of them off to 'Nam.

Since I have heard or read nothing good about LBJ aside from his getting the civil rights legislation passed, and indeed was convinced by Caro's work on LBJ that the man had no redeeming quality (remarkably like his friend and neighbor J. Edgar Hoover, to whom civil rights was a Communist plot), I have often wondered what his motive was in championing civil rights. Your explanation is certainly a good one.

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Yes, what great courage LBJ displayed.

Escalating the Vietnam war without telling the public. Using his position to enrich his wealthy industrialist backers. Accepting suitcases full of payoff money. Eliminating those like Marshall and Kinser who could have exposed his corrupt activities. Establishing the WC in order to enable Kennedy's killers to go scot free. Accepting a blue star for merely being an observer in a bombing mission over New Guinea in WW2 and pretending he was a decorated hero.

Great courage indeed. The quintessential coward, bully and murderer is what the 36th President was. And I'm probably being way too kind.

And I think Cliff's rationale for the civil rights legislation is spot on. First time for me, too. But it fits LBJ's pattern of deceptive behavior perfectly.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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I was angry when I heard HRC's comments re LBJ and the Civil Rights Act, too.

Fancy holding up that grotesque individual as a hero of the Democrat Party. It confirmed my suspicion of HRC and her glib superficiality.

As for Francine Torge, she clearly knows little about the respective contributions made by JFK and LBJ. If she wants to publicly hitch the Clinton wagon to LBJ and consign Obama to JFK, then she's erred badly and the Clinton team have misread history.

Ted Kennedy has every right to feel his brother's legacy was slighted. I'm glad he endorsed Obama.

...

Nicely said Mark. I'm proud of Senator Kennedy for his response to HRC's slight.

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Men like Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush aren't all bad.

Sure, overlooking a couple of million dead Vietnamese, a million dead Iraqis,

millions of addicts who got hooked on Reagan's contra coke, etc.

Johnson was planning to go to war and recognized the need to pacify blacks

before sending a disproportionate number of them off to 'Nam.

I could go on.

...

I will go on.

"Clinton's persistence in painting President Lyndon B. Johnson as the key enabler of civil rights for Negroes smacks of a telling irony. One could just as easily praise President Ronald Reagan for forging King's birthday as a national holiday.

As a nickel-plated, white Texan of his times, LBJ considered King's movement a nuisance early on; then, grasping its inevitability, the opportunistic president seized upon it. His view of King had Johnson referring to him as "that goddamn n preacher," according to a close White House aide. The Nobel laureate's anti-Vietnam War stance was blamed for helping sink Johnson's re-election chances, and LBJ likely took to his grave the notion of King as an uppity, N-word ingrate."

Johnson "not all bad"? I beg to differ.

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Yes, what great courage LBJ displayed.

Escalating the Vietnam war without telling the public. Using his position to enrich his wealthy industrialist backers. Accepting suitcases full of payoff money. Eliminating those like Marshall and Kinser who could have exposed his corrupt activities. Establishing the WC in order to enable Kennedy's killers to go scot free. Accepting a blue star for merely being an observer in a bombing mission over New Guinea in WW2 and pretending he was a decorated hero.

Great courage indeed. The quintessential coward, bully and murderer is what the 36th President was. And I'm probably being way too kind.

And I think Cliff's rationale for the civil rights legislation is spot on. First time for me, too. But it fits LBJ's pattern of deceptive behavior perfectly.

Now Mark, in all fairness it DID take some courage for LBJ to ride in the Dealey Plaza motorcade knowing well in advance that bullets would be flying, yet waiting as long as possible to dive onto the floor of his limo. :rolleyes:

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Clinton's LBJ Comments Infuriated Ted Kennedy

By Mary Ann Akers

Washington Post

January 31, 2008

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2008/01/post_11.html

There's more to Sen. Edward Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama than meets the eye. Apparently, part of the reason why the liberal lion from Massachusetts embraced Obama was because of a perceived slight at the Kennedy family's civil rights legacy by the other Democratic presidential primary frontrunner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Sources say Kennedy was privately furious at Clinton for her praise of President Lyndon Baines Johnson for getting the 1964 Civil Rights Act accomplished. Jealously guarding the legacy of the Kennedy family dynasty, Senator Kennedy felt Clinton's LBJ comments were an implicit slight of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who first proposed the landmark civil rights initiative in a famous televised civil rights address in June 1963.

One anonymous source described Kennedy as having a "meltdown" in reaction to Clinton's comments. Another source close to the Kennedy family says Senator Kennedy was upset about two instances that occurred on a single day of campaigning in New Hampshire on Jan. 7, a day before the state's primary.

The first was at an event in Dover, N.H., at which Clinton supporter Francine Torge introduced the former first lady saying, "Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually" signed the civil rights bill into law.

The Kennedy insider says Senator Kennedy was deeply offended that Clinton remained silent and "sat passively by" rather than correcting the record on his slain brother's civil rights record.

Kennedy was also apparently upset that Clinton said on the same day: "Dr. [Martin Luther] King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Ac. It took a president to get it done."

Both comments that day, by Clinton and her supporter, were meant to make the point that Clinton would be better equipped to get things done as president than Obama, her chief Democratic rival. Sources say Clinton called Kennedy to apologize for the LBJ comments. But whatever she said clearly wasn't enough to assuage Kennedy, who endorsed Obama earlier this week.

Kennedy insiders say the Massachusetts senator has also been angry with former President Bill Clinton for his "Southern strategy" themed comments on the campaign trail. The senator didn't hide his disdain for the nasty tone of the campaign during his endorsement speech at American University on Monday.

Kennedy's spokeswoman, Melissa Wagoner, would neither confirm nor deny that the senator was angered by Senator Clinton's LBJ comments. She simply said: "Senator Kennedy knows that candidates can't always be responsible for the things their supporters say. He's proud of President Kennedy's role in the civil rights movement, and believes that it's time to unify and inspire Americans to believe we can achieve great things again."

The Clinton campaign hasn't responded yet to our evening-time request for comment on Clinton's telephone apology to Kennedy. On the day of the LBJ rhetoric, however, a Clinton campaign spokesman was quoted on the New York Times' politics blog distancing Clinton from the surrogate who made the inappropriate assassination comment.

Did anyone see Bill Clinton stumping for his wife yesterday? He referred to 9/11 and said that the Conspiracy Theorists were wrong, that 12 (?) Saudi Arabians brought the towers down and that other countries laugh at us because we believe our own country did it. He said if you believe in these conspiracy theories get away from here. We don't want you.

I wonder how he felt when Vince Foster was found dead. Someone told me an anecdote; maybe someone here knows its origins. When Clinton took office, he got together his military chiefs and said, "I want to know everything about the Kennedy Assassination and I want to know everything about UFOs." One of them replied, "You don't have high enough clearance." That must have been a kick in the head.

Kathy

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Men like Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush aren't all bad.

Sure, overlooking a couple of million dead Vietnamese, a million dead Iraqis,

millions of addicts who got hooked on Reagan's contra coke, etc.

Johnson was planning to go to war and recognized the need to pacify blacks

before sending a disproportionate number of them off to 'Nam.

I could go on.

Didn't Hitler love his Mom? Not such a bad sort...

I suspect this is part of the answer. However, you have to remember that when LBJ signed the 1964 Civil Right Act he stated to associates that signing the bill had lost the South for the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future. This was true and enabled right-wing supporters of the Democratic Party to switch to the Republicans. The 1964 Civil Rights Act therefore united the right in such a way that it destroyed the potential of the Democratic Party as a progressive force.

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Men like Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush aren't all bad.

Sure, overlooking a couple of million dead Vietnamese, a million dead Iraqis,

millions of addicts who got hooked on Reagan's contra coke, etc.

Johnson was planning to go to war and recognized the need to pacify blacks

before sending a disproportionate number of them off to 'Nam.

I could go on.

Didn't Hitler love his Mom? Not such a bad sort...

I suspect this is part of the answer. However, you have to remember that when LBJ signed the 1964 Civil Right Act he stated to associates that signing the bill had lost the South for the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future. This was true and enabled right-wing supporters of the Democratic Party to switch to the Republicans. The 1964 Civil Rights Act therefore united the right in such a way that it destroyed the potential of the Democratic Party as a progressive force.

I still don't see much courage in Johnson's actions. Forgive my seemingly limitless cynicism, but Goldwater already had the Republican nomination by this time. LBJ knew he only needed to swing slightly left in order to occupy the political middle ground. JFK knew he would have BG on toast if the Republicans nominated him and LBJ also relished his chances against this unsophisticated redneck.

Throw in the media's messianic support for LBJ in the aftermath of JFK's assassination, and the war LBJ started in August '64 against the 'communist menace' and LBJ was a shoo-in in '64. He wasn't too worried about temporarily alienating the right wing fringe of his southern constituency, because he knew he had the media to help him appeal to the wider electorate. After all, they helped him cover up the assassination, venomously attacking all WC dissenters.

Of course LBJ would portray himself to colleagues as some kind of courageous statesman gambling with his political future for the greater good of America. That's his familiar behavioral pattern. However, I've yet to see any genuine courage on LBJ's part in my analysis of his public or private life.

I always wondered about the Civil Rights Act and how incongruous it seems when analysing LBJ's career. I think Cliff Varnell hit the nail on the head and I'm kicking myself for not tumbling earlier.

Nice call, Cliff.

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Men like Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush aren't all bad.

Sure, overlooking a couple of million dead Vietnamese, a million dead Iraqis,

millions of addicts who got hooked on Reagan's contra coke, etc.

Johnson was planning to go to war and recognized the need to pacify blacks

before sending a disproportionate number of them off to 'Nam.

I could go on.

Didn't Hitler love his Mom? Not such a bad sort...

I suspect this is part of the answer. However, you have to remember that when LBJ signed the 1964 Civil Right Act he stated to associates that signing the bill had lost the South for the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future. This was true and enabled right-wing supporters of the Democratic Party to switch to the Republicans. The 1964 Civil Rights Act therefore united the right in such a way that it destroyed the potential of the Democratic Party as a progressive force.

Your comments are true John, but I'm unclear on the point you're making.

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