Saturday, December 7, 1963: 'The Johnson Treatment'

President Lyndon Johnson presses his plans for the enactment of civil rights legislation during a White House meeting with Sen. Richard Russell of Georgia. 
     Accounts of exactly what was said at the meeting vary across biographies and histories. The following is from Jack Valenti, special assistant to President Johnson, who was present at the meeting. (From a 1997 speech and "Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History"; links: @ and @)

     The president ... said in a soft, even voice, "Dick, I love you, and I owe you. If it had not been for you, I would not have been leader, or vice president or now president. But I wanted to tell you face to face, Dick, please don't get in my way on this civil rights bill. It's been locked up in the Senate too long. I'm going to pass this bill, Dick. I will not cavil. I will not hesitate. And if you get in my way, I'll run you down."
     Russell sat mutely for a moment, impassive, his face a mask. Then he spoke, in the rolling accents of his Georgia countryside. "Well, Mr. President, you may just do that. But I pledge you that if you do, it will not only cost you the election, it will cost you the South forever." ...
     (Johnson) spoke softly, almost tenderly: "Dick, my old friend, if that's the price I have to pay, then I will gladly pay it."
     -- Photo by Yoichi Okamoto, official presidential photographer, from LBJ Library

* Account from "Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65" (Taylor Branch, 1999): @
* Account from "Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President" (Robert Dallek, 2004): @
* Account from "Civil Rights Act Leaves Mark on the American Political Landscape" (Michael Oreskes, New York Times, 1989): @ 
* Johnson-Russell telephone converations, December 7 (from Miller Center): @
* Johnson news conference, December 7 (from The American Presidency Project): @
* "How Will Civil Rights Bill Do Under New President?" (United Press International, December 10): @
* "LBJ Champions the Civil Rights Act" (Prologue magazine, National Archives, 2004): @

More about "The Johnson Treatment"
* Description (from Marshall Frady, New York Review of Books, 2002): @
* Summary (from National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution): @
* "Remembering the Johnson Treatment" (Tom Wicker, New York Times, 2002): @
* With Sen. Theodore Green of Rhode Island, 1957 (photos, New York Times): @
* With President Kennedy and Sen. Henry Jackson of Washington, early 1960s (photo, University of Washington Libraries): @
* With Rep. Albert Thomas of Texas, 1963 (audio, Miller Center): @
* With Supreme Court nominee Abe Fortas, 1965 (photo, LBJ Library): @
* With Louis Martin, Democratic National Committee, 1966 (photo, LBJ Library): @
* With Whitney Young, National Urban League, 1966 (photo, LBJ Library): @ 

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