JFK SAYS HE WILL KEEP LBJ AND JACKIE TALKS ABOUT TEXAS TRIP
Palm Beach (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy flew to spend the weekend here in Palm Beach 50 years ago today, November 15, 1963 and there, according to Thurston Clarke's new book "JFK's Last Hundred Days," talked privately about retaining Lyndon B. Johnson on the 1964 Democratic ticket as his Vice President.*
Mr. Clarke writes that Senator George Smathers of Florida, a close friend of JFK, remarked...
"'Everybody on the Hill says Bobby is trying to knock Johnson off the ticket.'"
That statement elicited a "vehement" denial from the President.
"'I love this job, I love every second of it."
Clarke says that JFK asked what the point would be of "picking a fight" with LBJ which might cost him to lose the South in 1964.
He also brought up the Bobby Baker scandal. JFK said...
"Life magazine would put...pictures of these...ladies running around with no clothes on...pictures of Bobby Baker and hoodlums and vending machines, and then the last picture would be of me. And it would say 'Mess in Washington under Kennedy Regime...'"
Thurston Clarke identifies LBJ as the "likely source for the rumors that Bobby (Kennedy) was scheming to replace him."
Meanwhile, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, spending the weekend end at the vacation home, Wexford, in Virginia, talked on the telephone about the upcoming trip to Texas with her social secretary, Letitia Baldrige.
Clarke tells us that during the conversation, Jackie said...
"You won't believe it, but I'm going campaigning in Texas with Jack next week, and I'm going because I want to."
It was brought out in a JFK television documentary airing this week that the trip to Texas was the first time the First Lady had taken a domestic trip with the President during his term of office.
*Evelyn Lincoln, JFK's personal secretary, later said that JFK told her privately that his VP running mate in 1964 "would not be Lyndon."
"JFK's Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President," by Thurston Clarke, Penguin Books, New York, 2013.