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2429Re: [prezveepsenator] NYT: Lady Bird Johnson, 94, Dies; Eased a Path to Power

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    Jul 12, 2007
      I often think of her when I see Texas wildflowers, in
      fact she set up a widlflower center here in Austin.
      She has lived in the Austin area for pretty much her
      whole life, except for her Washington days, and I
      don't think I ever heard anyone say anything negative
      about her. She was good for Texas and good for the


      --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

      > July 12, 2007
      > Lady Bird Johnson, 94, Dies; Eased a Path to Power
      > By ENID NEMY
      > Lady Bird Johnson, the widow of President Lyndon B.
      > Johnson, who was
      > once described by her husband as "the brains and
      > money of this family"
      > and whose business skills cushioned his road to the
      > White House, died
      > yesterday afternoon at her home in Austin, Tex. She
      > was 94.
      > Mrs. Johnson was hospitalized for a week last month
      > with a low-grade
      > fever. She died of natural causes, surrounded by
      > family, including her
      > two daughters, and friends, said a family
      > spokeswoman, Elizabeth
      > Christian.
      > Mrs. Johnson was a calm and steadying influence on
      > her often moody and
      > volatile husband as she quietly attended to the
      > demands imposed by his
      > career. Liz Carpenter, her press secretary during
      > her years in the
      > White House, once wrote that "if President Johnson
      > was the long arm,
      > Lady Bird Johnson was the gentle hand."
      > She softened hurts, mediated quarrels and won over
      > many political
      > opponents. Johnson often said his political ascent
      > would have been
      > inconceivable without his wife's devotion and
      > forbearance. Others
      > shared that belief.
      > After Johnson became the Democratic nominee for vice
      > president in
      > 1960, James Reston, the Washington columnist of The
      > New York Times,
      > said, "Lyndon could never have made it this far
      > without the help of
      > that woman."
      > Mrs. Johnson was often compared to Eleanor
      > Roosevelt, a first lady she
      > greatly admired but did not emulate.
      > "Mrs. Roosevelt was an instigator, an innovator,
      > willing to air a
      > cause without her husband's endorsement," Ms.
      > Carpenter said. "Mrs.
      > Johnson was an implementer and translator of her
      > husband and his
      > purpose — a wife in capital letters."
      > Mrs. Johnson had one major cause during the Johnson
      > presidency,
      > highway beautification, and her husband pushed
      > Congress into passing
      > legislation to further the program.
      > Mrs. Johnson made many trips to explain her
      > husband's programs like
      > Head Start, the Job Corps and the War on Poverty.
      > But, Ms. Carpenter
      > said, she "never hesitated to admit that during the
      > early years of
      > their marriage, her husband expected coffee and
      > newspapers in bed and
      > his shoes shined and that she was happy to comply."
      > Bonnie Angelo, a reporter who covered Mrs. Johnson
      > for Time magazine,
      > said, "She took a lot from him, but she always said,
      > `Lyndon is larger
      > than life,' and she took him with equanimity. She
      > was the eye of the
      > hurricane, the calm center of the maelstrom that was
      > Lyndon Johnson."
      > Mrs. Johnson developed her own public projects. She
      > was an early
      > supporter of the environment and, in championing
      > highway
      > beautification, worked to banish billboards and
      > plant flowers and trees.
      > The Lady Bird Johnson Park in Virginia, across the
      > Potomac River from
      > Washington, is an outgrowth of her First Lady's
      > Committee for a More
      > Beautiful Capital. She founded the $10 million
      > National Wildflower
      > Research Center in Austin, Tex., which opened in
      > April 1995 and
      > changed its name to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower
      > Center in 1998.
      > The center conducts research and provides
      > information on plants,
      > landscaping and conservation.
      > Mrs. Johnson was known for her even temper, although
      > she did not
      > always consider it an asset. "I think it might be
      > better to blow up
      > sometimes," she once said.
      > She was a stoic, rarely admitting pain, a trait her
      > husband
      > characterized as perhaps her only fault. She had
      > four miscarriages but
      > never indulged in self-pity.
      > Mrs. Johnson financed her husband's first campaign
      > for Congress in
      > 1937 with a $10,000 loan against a small inheritance
      > from her mother.
      > She began taking an active role in politics in 1941,
      > after he lost his
      > first bid for the Senate and returned to the House.
      > While he was on
      > active duty in the Navy during World War II, Mrs.
      > Johnson managed his
      > legislative office. From that point she shared his
      > public life,
      > representing him, speaking for him and answering
      > questions with
      > unusual candor.
      > When Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts,
      > rather than his rival
      > Johnson, was nominated for the presidency in 1960, a
      > reporter asked if
      > she was disappointed. "I'm relieved," she said, then
      > immediately
      > confessed: "That isn't true. I'm terribly
      > disappointed. Lyndon would
      > have made a noble president."
      > Although Mrs. Johnson was less than enthusiastic
      > when her husband
      > accepted the nomination for vice president, she
      > campaigned tirelessly
      > and accompanied the women of the Kennedy family on
      > many of their
      > appearances, particularly in the South.
      > Once the election was won, she threw herself into
      > the role of second
      > lady, traveling to 33 countries in the 34 months of
      > Johnson's vice
      > presidency. She also made 47 trips in the United
      > States in that time,
      > attending social and political gatherings and
      > promoting her husband's
      > programs and her environmental interests.
      > "My role," Mrs. Johnson said, "was to be an extra
      > pair of eyes and
      > ears for Lyndon."
      > She also substituted for the first lady, Jacqueline
      > Kennedy, on many
      > occasions.
      > Johnson openly expressed affection for his wife. He
      > often planted a
      > quick kiss on her forehead and held her hand when
      > they were being
      > driven somewhere. In public, Mrs. Johnson referred
      > to her husband as
      > Lyndon; when they were alone or with friends, he was
      > Darling. She was
      > always Bird.
      > She was with her husband in the motorcade in Dallas
      > on Nov. 22, 1963,
      > when President Kennedy was assassinated by Lee
      > Harvey Oswald. Later
      > that afternoon, she was beside Johnson in the
      > executive suite of Air
      > Force One as he took the oath of office as 36th
      > president. It was she
      > who suggested to Mrs. Kennedy that she remain in the
      > White House to
      > wind up her affairs.
      > "I wish to heaven I could serve Mrs. Kennedy's
      > happiness," she said.
      > "I can at least serve her convenience."
      > Mrs. Johnson took up residence in the White House on
      > Dec. 7, 1963,
      > feeling, she said, "as if I am suddenly on stage for
      > a part I never
      > rehearsed." She converted a small corner room
      > overlooking
      === message truncated ===
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