Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at a Rally in Pasadena, Texas

November 02, 1964

Congressman Casey, Congressman Thomas, Senator Yarborough, Mrs. Yarborough, Mrs. Thomas:

I have been coming to Pasadena for a long time, and Albert Thomas used to tell me every time I came to Houston I had to come to Pasadena. I came here and led your parade. Now Bob Casey is telling me to come here--and Ralph Yarborough--my good friends, tonight.

We all decided before we left Houston and got away from all the skyscrapers and went up to the capital of Texas to close the campaign--the campaign that has taken my family into 49 States, where I visited 44 States myself since Labor Day--that we would come out here to Pasadena and say "hello" and thank you all, because we know you are going to vote Democratic tomorrow.

I haven't come here tonight to say anything ugly about my opponent, sling any mud, do any muckraking, talk about anybody. I don't hate anyone. I try to love everybody. I "love thy neighbor as thyself," and I hope you do, too.

We are trying to live in a world with 120 other nations and they have their plans and their programs and their ideas. They are different colors, they have different religions, they have different atmospheres, they have different temperatures. Most of them are hungry, most of them have illiteracy, poverty, and disease. They have old feuds that involve us, that are never our troubles, but they have had trouble getting along with themselves.

But we have learned this: that when war breaks out anyplace in the world, it usually involves us. We are the strongest and the most powerful nation in the world. So for 20 years, since World War II, we have done our best to find a way to live with other people.

Arthur Vandenberg was a great Republican Senator, and he worked with President Harry Truman, a Democratic President, to have a foreign policy, a bipartisan policy. They stopped the Communists in Greece and Turkey.

Then President Eisenhower came along as a Republican President. I was Democratic leader of the Senate. I worked with President Eisenhower in the Suez crisis and the U-2 incident, in the Strait of Formosa.

Some of them said to me, "Why don't you take advantage of the mistakes that have been made? Why don't you get up and criticize and point out all the errors?"

I said, "Because I don't think that we ought to use foreign policy as an issue, that we ought to try to capitalize on anything that might be misunderstood by foreign countries. He is the only President we have, and I am going to support that President, because if I make him weaker I make America weaker."

So the Democratic leadership, I, supported President Eisenhower 95 percent of the time in the year 1960 when my opponent in this race, a Republican, supported his own President only 25 percent of the time.

But we let politics stop at the water's edge, and we tried to unite our country. That is what I have tried to do in this campaign. I have tried to say to our people that I think our President ought to keep control of nuclear weapons instead of turning them over to various commanders throughout the world.

I have said that I thought our people ought to be united instead of divided, and I have tried to preach love instead of preach hate. I have tried to preach faith instead of preach doubt. I have tried to bring our people together and heal our wounds instead of make them angry and fighting each other. I think that we do have a more united people as a result of what I have done in this campaign and I think tomorrow night you will hear something about that unity in America when you hear the returns come in.

I hope that Pasadena will set the example for the rest of the Nation. I hope you will do it by voting for your Democratic Congressman Bob Casey, who works for this district. I hope you will do it by going early and voting for your able, strong, United States Senator Ralph Yarborough. And if any of you happen to be over in Albert Thomas' district, drop in and vote for him.

We have a Democratic team and I hope that you will realize that the Democratic Party is the party of the people. It is the best party for the people. It is the party that recognizes that the people of this country have interest and have concern and have a partnership with Government, and we ought to vote the Democratic ticket from the courthouse to the White House--and I hope you do tomorrow.

The Democratic Party believes in the working people. It is the party that has declared it a part of its policy that every man and woman in this country who wants a job ought to have a job and ought to be able to work. It is the party that has improved our living conditions, improved our higher standards of living. It brought us the minimum wage. It brought us the maximum hours.

Today we have an average manufacturing wage in this country of $104 a week, the highest in the history of the Nation, and we put 5 million extra people to work since John F. Kennedy took the oath of office as President and I took the oath of office as Vice President in 1961.

You will make a decision tomorrow as to the kind of leadership that you want for this country. It was 11 months and 11 days ago as a result of a terrible tragedy that I became your President. I had served for over 3 years by President Kennedy's side as his Vice President, the second Vice President from Texas. I am the first President that Texas has ever had.

You will determine tomorrow whether after 11 months and 11 days I shall continue for another 4 years in the White House or whether I shall leave. I leave that decision to you.

I have tried as best I could to lead this country to peace and lead this country to prosperity. I have tried to be President of all the people. I have tried to treat every man equally. I have tried to protect his constitutional rights.

I sat with President Kennedy during some very dark days of this Republic. It was only 2 years ago this month when we had the Cuba missile crisis. I attended 38 meetings of the National Security Council.

The Soviet Union had moved their missiles into Cuba, 90 miles from the United States. They had them trained on this country. Mr. Khrushchev and Mr. Kennedy, both leaders of great powers, were there eyeball to eyeball looking at each other, almost with a knife at each other's ribs, just holding it steady and not showing any weakness, either one.

The Army came in with all the generals and the Air Force with all their stars, and the Navy with their gold braid, and the best minds that we had in America tried to advise us what to do. Some men were saying, "Send in the Marines." Some men were saying, "Let's load our bombs and get going." Some said, "Let's have an invasion before it is too late."

Thirty-eight times we met in serious meetings of that Security Council in the Cabinet Room. I never left home a single morning when I knew whether I would see my wife and daughters again that night. But that was an experience that I will never forget, and I think most of you remember.

I am mighty happy that during that period when the hotheads were around and when people were yelling all kinds of advice, that the coolest, the calmest, the ablest man in that room was the man that you had selected as Commander in Chief, your President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He tried his best to serve you, but he was given only 3 years, and he was taken from us.

I had no time to go to the library and no time to call in any advisers. I had to pick up on a moment's notice. Albert Thomas just happened to be standing there with me. He was in the Air Force One when I took the oath of office, and the jet motors were roaring in the background and we had to take off in the plane, get it off the ground.

I have done the best I could to serve this Nation and serve the world. If you want me to continue, then I pledge you that I will continue to be President of all the people, and work for your welfare, work for the peace of your families, work for the prosperity of all of my people.

I am glad to be back in Pasadena tonight. I love the people of Texas. I love you people. I thank you for coming and honoring me. I hope that you will go to the polls tomorrow. I hope you will go early, I hope you will stay long.

I hope you will see that all your neighbors and your uncles and your cousins and your aunts will vote, and I hope you will give us the greatest Democratic victory that Texas has ever had!

Thank you, and don't forget Senator Yarborough, Congressman Casey, Congressman Thomas, and if you can, you put in a vote for Hubert Humphrey and Lyndon Johnson, too.

Note: The President spoke on the grounds of the First Pasadena State Bank in Pasadena, Tex. His opening words referred to Representative Bob Casey, Representative and Mrs. Albert Thomas, and Senator and Mrs. Ralph Yarborough, all of Texas.

The text of remarks of Mrs. Johnson and daughter Luci, both of whom spoke briefly, was also released.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at a Rally in Pasadena, Texas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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