Friday, November 4, 1966 - 12:50pm - 12:52pm
Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey

Five days before the midterm election, Vice President Hubert Humphrey and President Lyndon Johnson briefly compared notes.

Recording starts after conversation has begun.

Hubert Humphrey: That was a great press conference.

President Johnson: Well, I don't know.

Humphrey: Yes, it was.

President Johnson: I thought--might be--let them pay for it. [chuckles] It was free time, wasn't it?

Humphrey: Well, by golly, it was free time and boy, it was a blockbuster. Well, I just wanted to wish you well.

President Johnson: You think that--you don't like the way I talk about these ex-vice-presidents, do you, before [Richard] Nixon?

Humphrey: No, I don't mind if you talk about ex ones. [laughs]

President Johnson: [Chuckles.]

Humphrey: Not when I'm trying to behave as the present one.

President Johnson: That son of a bitch, did you see in the New York Times what he said about us this morning?1

Humphrey: Yeah, I love this where you said that picking up a precinct or two, you weren't going to mess around with him. [laughs] That was--you really took good care of him.2

Well, now you have a good rest, my dear friend.

President Johnson: Helicopter's coming in. I will. And God bless you. Where are you speaking this weekend?

Humphrey: I'm home in Minnesota, and I'm going to do a little bit of work out in North Dakota. 

President Johnson: God bless you.

Humphrey: And if you need me for anything--

President Johnson: Are you-all going to lose any seats in Minnesota?

Humphrey: No, sir. We may--

President Johnson: Going to carry the governor?

Humphrey: We think we got a 50-50 chance.3

President Johnson: On the governor?

Humphrey: Yes, sir.

President Johnson: And--I thought you had a better chance than that. 

Humphrey: No, it slipped some here. He's had his problems. We've got a few problems out there, but I've been on the phone this morning with him. Talked to [Richard J.] Dick Daley, just to give him a word of encouragement down there, too.4

President Johnson: What does he say?

Humphrey: Well . . . he says they're going to win, but he said it's a rough one. But, I'll tell you one thing that we're going to win out there in Idaho.5

President Johnson: I sure hope so.

Humphrey: Yes, sir, I think we are. And I think that that governorship of New York is not out of the question.6

President Johnson: OK.

Humphrey: That man knows you're his friend, too.

President Johnson: God bless you. 

Humphrey: If you need me call me, and I'm not going to bother you about a thing.

President Johnson: All right, bye.

Humphrey: God bless you. Bye. 

  • 1. That morning's New York Times reported on a campaign speech Richard Nixon had delivered the previous day in Johnson City, Tennessee, in which he said that the recent Manila Conference had accomplished nothing and said that "The Administration's current policy resigns America and the free Asian nations to a war which could last five years and cost more casualties than Korea." The communique issed at the conclusion of the conference pledged that the United States and its allies would withdraw their military forces from Vietnam if North Vietnamese troops were pulled back to within North Vietnam's borders. John Herbers, "Nixon Criticizes Manila Results," New York Times, 4 November 1966. The Times had gone so far as to reprint the text of Nixon's remarks in their entirety. New York Times, 4 November 1966, p.18.
  • 2. Johnson had responded publicly to Nixon's charges that morning. In a sharp attack, he said that Nixon "doesn't serve his country well" by criticizing the Manila Conference and accused him of playing politics with the war. He also called him a "chronic campaigner" who had not known what was going on even when in office. He further said that "We oughtn't to try to get mixed up in a political campaign here, because attempts to do that are going to cause people to lose votes instead of gain them. And we oughtn't to have men killed because we try to fuzz up something." Tom Wicker, "Johnson Derides Nixon's Criticism of Manila Stand," New York Times, 5 November 1966.
  • 3. The Republican candidate, Harold LeVander, ultimately defeated the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate Karl Rolvaag.
  • 4. Richard Daley was mayor of Chicago.
  • 5. Humphrey was presumably referring to the gubanatorial election, in which case he was wrong. Republican Donald W. Samuelson defeated Democrat Cecil Andrus.
  • 6. Republican Nelson Rockefeller ultimated defeated Democrat Frank O'Connor.

Original tape courtesy of LBJ Library. This transcript is a working draft. Please let us know if you find important errors.