Life with LBJ: Never a Dull Moment

Sep 23, 1999

"Working for Lyndon Johnson was like living on the end of a runway," said Jack Valenti (left), former special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson, at the Center's Director's Forum on September 23, 1999. "He was the most formidable political leader I've ever known -- and I've known them all for the last thirty years."

Harry McPherson, former special counsel to President Johnson said "Johnson brilliantly took advantage of the tidal wave of public passion to do something about discrimination" and is justly praised as the manager of the civil rights legislation of '64 and the Voting Rights Act of '65. "Part of him was sorry to see the Voting Rights Act passed, however, remarking to his aides 'We gave the South to the Republican Party for the rest of our lifetimes,'" McPherson said.

Look for more of Valenti and McPherson's reflections on the Johnson presidency in the winter issue of the Wilson Quarterly, the Center's general interest magazine.