Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico

October 28, 1964

Governor Campbell, Senator Anderson, Senator Montoya, Congressman Morris, ladies and gentlemen, senores, senoras:

Buenos dias, mis amigos. Como le va? Usted tiene muy buena ciudad aqui. Yo tengo muchos amigos aqui.

I came to New Mexico because I want my friends in this great and this growing State to understand the real, difficult decision that your President has in the real, difficult problem that confronts him. Eleven months ago I became your President, and since that time I have tried to pass programs for your people. But here in New Mexico you can help me. I flew a long way from Boston to Albuquerque after 5 o'clock yesterday to ask you to help me. Of course, I want you to vote for me next Tuesday. Of course, I expect New Mexico to be in the Democratic column. But more than that--and I think really more important than your being in the Democratic column--is for those of you who are building and planning and working for a wiser and a stronger New Mexico and a better America, I think that it is very essential that each of you go to the polls and vote for Joe Montoya so we will have two Democratic Senators to help us with our program.

You have a future in space, you have a future in atomic energy, you have a great agricultural future, you have minerals galore in this State, you have wonderful climate. The only real thing that you need is water, and Clint Anderson and I worked together many years ago on starting a program that will someday convert the oceans into ample water supplies for us all. We will make the deserts bloom. But the next Senate is going to have 65 to 70 Democrats out of 100, and they are going to sit over on the majority aisle.

I picked up your morning paper this morning and I saw where they had a rally out here yesterday for a Republican Senator. That is fine. I wouldn't say anything ugly about him at all. But it just seems to me that if I lived in a State that I wanted to move ahead, and I wanted my family to move ahead, and if I had a chance to get a person that had experience and had training, and could work with Clint Anderson, it just seems to me that you would be better off to have two men standing up in the Senate and fighting for your progress, coming down to the White House and uniting behind your State, than to have one man coming there and the other one standing up and fighting the President all the time. So I want you to know that I think this State needs Joe Montoya. I think this Nation needs Joe Montoya. I think I need Joe Montoya.

Mr. Rayburn used to say the reason Texas had a good delegation was, "We pick them young, we pick them honest, we send them there, and we keep them there." You picked Clint Anderson and sent him to the House. He did a wonderful job. You promoted him to the Senate. He became one of the great statesmen of the world. He is chairman of the Space Committee of the United States Senate now. Many years ago he saw space, but that wasn't too important, although it was very important. What was important, he saw the future.

You sent Dennis Chavez, as a young Congressman, when I went to Washington after the Hoover days. He came there and represented you with increased effectiveness in the House. Then you had him trained and you moved him over to the Senate. And until the day of his death he was always working for the people of New Mexico.

Now you have Joe Montoya. You have an investment in him. You brought him in, you have told him how to punch the time clock, you have shown him where his job is, you have told him what to do, he has the experience, he has been there working. You ought to take advantage of that experience and of that training and of that ability to work with Senator Anderson, and most important, to work with the majority of the Senate. The minority party--what good will 30 votes do New Mexico in the Senate? It takes 50 to pass anything. So I think that you can see through that, and I hope you realize that this is the only time you will get to make this decision for 6 years. What you do will vitally affect your future, and I think that most of you out there in the audience know that in your heart it is right to send Joe Montoya to the Senate.

I don't think Tom Morris has any problem. Tom Morris has problems in Washington, but he always comes down and all of us like to solve them for him because he is always loyal, he is always devoted, he is always diligent. I know you are going to send him back where he can continue to serve you.

I hope you elect Johnny Walker, who will be a worthy successor to Joe Montoya, and we will have those men working for New Mexico in the Senate.

One week from today the shouting and the talking is going to be over. I hope most of the counting will be done. We think we know what the counting is going to show. We think that it will show that this beloved country of ours believes in itself, believes in its strength, and its goodness, and believes in all that we have been doing together these past 4 years.

We think that it will show that the overwhelming majority of Americans want to keep on the present path to peace. The only real issue in this campaign is peace, how to preserve it, how to acquire it, how to maintain it.

We want to continue prosperity that today is in its 44th month, almost 4 years, the longest period of time in the history of America that we haven't had a recession.

We want to fight an all-out war against poverty. We don't like to see poor people. We don't like to see unemployed people. We don't like to see hungry people.

We want to build the Great Society of our dreams. Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery and we can abolish poverty. So let's get on and do something about it and give me the men to help me do something about it.

We think that that counting that will take place a week from today will show that the vast majority of voters in America believe that in this election those who speak for the Democratic Party speak for America.

But I say this: Anybody who counts on those votes before they are in the ballot box is gambling with his life and with the future of his Nation. The risk is too great, and that is why I have gone to 43 States in this Union since Labor Day, and those that I have missed Lady Bird and Lynda Bird and Luci Baines have picked up.

I met Luci coming out of the elevator when I was on my way to Boston, and I said, "Well, where have you been, young lady?" She said, "I have covered the Dakotas, I have made speeches there, and in Nebraska, and it is pretty difficult country, but I think we are going to carry it, and I will be so happy because I haven't had a weekend of my own since last May." Seventeen-year-old girls don't really approve of that.

I hope nobody here this morning and nobody in this country wakes up next Wednesday morning and looks over at their wife or their kinfolks around the breakfast table and says, "Gee, I just wish I had tried a little harder. I wish I had worked a little longer."

You know, down in Texas in 1941 President Roosevelt was very popular and he asked me to run for the Senate, because he said he needed me to help him, he needed another Senator to work for his program. And I went down there and we worked awfully hard. The morning after the election we led by 5,000 votes; and 3 days later we lost by 1,311, out of a million and a half. We lost by 1,311.

Then we waited 7 years, to 1948, when we ran again.

The night before the election I met Lady Bird--she had been campaigning in one part of the State and I had been campaigning in the other; we had been trying to cover every city--and I said, "Come on, honey, we are going home and spend the night at the ranch."

She said, "Oh, no, we are not. I am going back to Austin and I am going to get your mother, your sisters, your aunts, and your uncles, your friends, and your cousins, and I am going to take the telephone book and I am going to assign one of them all the A's, one of them all the B's, one of them all the C's, one of them all the D's, right through the Z's, and we're going to call and say, 'Won't you please go to the polls and vote for my husband ?' 'Won't you please go to the polls and vote for my son?' 'Won't you please go to the polls and vote for my brother?'--or 'my cousin?'" And she did that. She went through that telephone book--and we had another million and a half votes.

We had the highest percentage of votes in Austin in that area we have ever had before, because so many people said, "Gee, I forgot to go vote. I have been busy. I thought I would vote and I would go to the grocery store, but I got busy washing the dishes and I haven't gone yet. Yes, I will go vote."

We got out the highest percentage we had ever gotten out. I won the nickname of "Landslide Lyndon" because I won by the magnificent total, out of a million and a half, of 87 votes! And the Republicans have been talking about it ever since.

I have been thinking about it ever since, because if it hadn't been for that extra work that she and my mother and my sisters and my cousins put in that day, Texas would have lost a good Senator.

There is a lot at stake in this election. There are special concerns. People have different interests and there are special interests in various parts of the country. I know, as just one example of the special problem that you have here in New Mexico, because we have it down in Texas--we just don't get enough water. And we have a drought-stricken livestock industry. We know that New Mexico's cattlemen are facing a lot of trouble because I am facing it myself on my own ranch.

I buy my cattle out here in New Mexico, the best breeds, and ship them down to Texas, and then talk about what fine cattle we raise down there. I just have to make a confession. I buy them from a fellow whose judgment about cattle is a lot better than his judgment about politics. He is Albert Mitchell, who used to be Republican national committeeman. But he sure does have fine cattle.

I know the problem we all have with them, and we know the problem of breaking up the breeding herds because of no grass, because of no winter wheat, because of the cattle and feed prices. We have tried to do something about this. We have tried to do it in the Congress, we have tried to do it in the administration. We have allowed grazing on 180,000 acres of the cropland reserves. We have moved 120,000 hundredweights of grain sorghum, 34,000 bushels of corn. We have brought them in here at reduced prices with the freight paid.

We have worked out voluntary agreements with countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico, which have been sending beef here. We have asked them to hold their beef and keep it off our market. We passed a bill on imports that brings us 25 percent below the 1963 level.

In August Congress passed, and I signed, a law to cover this situation that I just referred to in reducing the amount of meat we bring in. We have purchased over 300 million pounds of beef, more than $150 million worth, for the school lunch and needy families so we could try to hold up the price of cattle.

We have entered into agreements to sell 40 million pounds of beef abroad under the Food for Peace program. We have had our Secretary of Defense quit buying beef for our soldiers overseas, but to ship it from here over there, even though the cost may be a little more.

If more has to be done, we are going to do it, because I think that we know something about the cattle business in New Mexico and in Texas.

The business of the Government I think is the people's business. We are not going to turn our backs on trouble anywhere in this country. I think poverty in the midst of today's prosperity is a disgrace, and I think we ought to do something about it.

I think the denial of a complete education to any young man who can use it, or any young woman, is wrong, and we are going to do something about it. I think every boy and girl born in this country, regardless of his religion, regardless of his race, regardless of his region, has a right to all the education that he can take.

And Glint Anderson next year, like this year, is going to lead us up to the Promised Land where we have a medical care program for our elder citizens, and we are going to pass it through the Congress under social security.

There are 8,500 more jobs, 8,500 more, in New Mexico today than there were when our beloved President took office, the late John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Unemployment has been reduced and reduced and reduced down to where it is just a little over 3 percent. But this is still too much, and we are going to get the full employment that we have been talking about.

The tax cut bill will mean an additional $42 million of expendable funds in New Mexico, and an additional $14 million here in Albuquerque that we were taking in taxes that we are now sending back here. But if additional tax changes are necessary to get our economy moving faster, and our country moving faster, and getting us to produce more jobs, then we will consider making those changes in the next Congress.

We are going to make this system of ours work better and better and better. Part of the responsibility of Government is to see to it that it doesn't get in the way, and that it doesn't waste a cent of money or it doesn't waste a minute of time. But when there are things that we have to do together, we will work together, and that is what I am doing with your great Governor, Jack Campbell.

Government is not an enemy of the people. Government is the people themselves.

The greatest prospects, the greatest risks, that we will vote on next Tuesday, involve the future--the future of your children, the future of the peace of the world.

Only a year ago your children were drinking radioactive milk. The test ban treaty was passed through the Congress. Only 12 men voted against it. Our opponent did. But President Kennedy had the support of the Republican leadership and men like Senator Anderson and others, and they passed it, and now 105 nations have adopted it. The air we breathe and the milk we drink and the food that comes from our soil is all cleaner because of it.

So the stakes in this election are high. They are success, but more important than success they are survival, survival for you and your children. The issue really is, if you want to boil it down, recklessness against responsibility.

We cannot and we will not abandon the bipartisan foreign policy that the Republicans and the Democrats have hammered out together in this country over the past 20 years. The risk is too great.

We cannot and we will not abandon the test ban treaty to which I just referred, which is the world's insurance policy against polluting the air we breathe and the milk we give our children.

Already that policy has paid off more than you will ever know, and since this agreement was signed and the tests stopped, the dread strontium-89 and iodine 131 have disappeared from the environment. The amount of strontium-90 and cesium-137 has already been, in 1 year, cut in half. This is technical language, but what it means is that we can breathe safely again.

And one thing I want to thank you especially for is that wonderful sign of the scientists and engineers of New Mexico. You have some of the best in the world located here, and about the best supporters I have in the United States are the scientists and the engineers.

They work with their test tubes, they work in their laboratories, they are not political speakers, although I wish some of them would get on the television out here and tell you people the facts of life, because they know what is happening in the world; they have created these things; they have brought them into existence. They know the dangers. They know the only thing really important is survival.

I don't think we will listen to those who voted against that treaty. I don't think we will let them lead this Nation. I don't think we will give them that trust. Why? Because the risk to you and your children is too great.

We cannot and we will not play the war game of bluff and bluster. We want to speak softly and act prudently. We want to be prepared, the mightiest nation in the world, with all the bombers we need and all the rockets that are necessary.

But we don't think that we ought to rear back and throw out our chest and shoot from the hip and say, "We are going to rattle our rockets and we are going to bluff you with our bombs, and we are going to issue ultimatums to all the other 120 nations that 'You do it like we do or else,'" because we don't think that will keep peace in the world.

So what we are going to do is to keep the strength that makes our adversaries sure that America can defend herself and will. We will keep the steadiness of purpose that makes our allies--and I saw the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain only yesterday morning--sure that we are going to be responsible. We will keep the course that makes our adversaries and our allies alike sure that the number one thing that we are dedicated to in America is peace on earth, good will toward men. We will keep the peace.

Now that, most of all, is what this election is all about, keeping the peace.

Which man do you think can keep the peace?

Which man do you want to have his thumb close to that atomic button ?

Which man do you want to reach over when that line rings, when that phone jingles, and it is the "hot line" and it is Moscow calling? Who do you want to have pick up and answer it and speak for you?

You have to decide that. I haven't come out here to tell you. That is a matter for your judgment. That is a matter for your conscience.

No mother will ever make a more important decision. No young man or woman between 21 and 29 will ever make a more important decision because it may involve their life, it may involve their home, their future. It involves everything.

I think it would be presumptuous for me to indicate that I have any special powers or that I am any more patriotic, or any more concerned with the welfare of people than men in the other party, because that is not true, but you have to make a decision which of the two you want.

I think that I know enough about the people of the United States because I have been from Maine to California, I think I know that they know in their hearts what is right and they are going to do it November 3d.

Now, folks, I want to tell you good luck, goodby. I have to get away from here because Clint Anderson, Tom Morris, and Joe Montoya have already talked to me about two new projects for New Mexico, and they will have my coat and my shirt if I don't go on to California.

Thank you and goodby.

Note: The President spoke at 9:15 a.m. in Johnson Gymnasium at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. In his opening words he referred to Governor Jack M. Campbell, Senator Clinton P. Anderson, Representative Joseph M. Montoya, Democratic candidate for Senator, and Representative Thomas G. Morris, all of New Mexico. During the course of his remarks he referred to, among others, E. S. (Johnny) Walker, Democratic candidate for Representative at Large from New Mexico, and Albert K. Mitchell, former Republican national committeeman.

The text of the remarks of Mrs. Johnson, who spoke briefly, was also released.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




New Mexico

Simple Search of Our Archives