Palm Beach (JFK+50) Since President John F. Kennedy did not live long enough to win renomination in 1964, we will never know if he would kept Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson on the ticket.
It is certain that he would have been renominated and it is very likely that he would have been re-elected, but it is strictly speculation as to whether or not LBJ would have been his running mate in 1964.
JFK flew to spend the weekend here in Palm Beach 51 years ago today, November 15, 1963 and there, according to Thurston Clarke's "JFK's Last Hundred Days," talked privately about retaining Lyndon B. Johnson on the 1964 Democratic ticket.*
JFK and LBJ
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 re-election.
So as Kevin Costner, portraying Jim Garrison in Oliver Stone's JFK, said... "Let's speculate for a moment, shall we?"
Why would JFK take the personal and political risk of visiting Texas in November 1963 to bring the party together and get voter support if he was planning to dump LBJ which most likely would cost him the state in 1964?
JFK knew the importance of the state's electoral votes to his narrow victory in 1960. He knew he could not afford to lose it in 1964. It is our opinion that there would have been a KENNEDY-JOHNSON Democratic ticket in 1964.
Kennedys Arrive in Dallas
"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.