Transition to Johnson

Published: 1963
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
Bethesda, MD: A smiling president Lyndon Johnson leaves the Bethesda Naval Hospital here 11/19/1966. The Chief Executive is flying to his Texas ranch to rest up from his two operations. (UPI Photo)

Announcer: In the dark days following John Kennedy's death, Lyndon Johnson moved boldly to continue the work begun by his Administration. He conferred with world leaders, civil-rights groups, business and labor spokesmen, and he made a moving address to Congress.

President Lyndon B. Johnson: "No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the Civil Rights Bill for which he fought so long.

"No act of ours could more fittingly continue the work of President Kennedy than the early passage of the Tax Bill for which he fought all this long year.

"That Bill, if passed without delay, means more security for those now working, more jobs for those now without them and more incentive for our economy. John Kennedy's death commands what his life conveyed: that America must move forward."

Bill Scott: What are the similarities and differences between Presidents Johnson and Kennedy? Both are political pros who exude confidence and, generally speaking, embrace the same broad philosophies. But Kennedy was an idealist; Johnson is a pragmatist. Kennedy was a voracious reader, a stickler for detail; Johnson has little patience to read, he hits at the heart of a problem rather than get enmeshed in detail. Kennedy had little luck with Congress; Johnson's 32 years' experience on Capitol Hill caught him how to handle lawmakers. Kennedy's foreign-policy style had a continental touch; Johnson's has the flavor of a Texas barbeque.