Lyndon B. Johnson photo

The President's News Conference Before Departing for Atlantic City for the National Convention

August 26, 1964

THE PRESIDENT. I am sorry to have delayed you. We are going over and get a little hops d'oeuvre and sandwich, in a moment, and then we are going to Atlantic City. Those who want to go, talk to George,1 and if we have room in our plane I will be glad to have you go with us under the regular rules that you follow.

1 George E. Reedy, Press Secretary to the President.

I was delayed in getting to you. I thought we would be out of here before, but I had to visit with Secretary Rusk, Secretary McNamara, and Mr. Buddy on another matter.2 That held us some.

2 Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, and McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President.

I have this afternoon talked to some people and have others in to see me. That is one reason why I am running a little bit late. We will have our hops d'oeuvres and we will cut our birthday party short.

My reason for going up there is to make an announcement which I expect I will make

sometime between 9 and 10 o'clock.

Q. When?

THE PRESIDENT. Between 9 and 10 o'clock. That announcement will be my recommendation to the convention on a running mate.

[At this point the President spoke off the record.]

Q. How will you make that recommendation, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I will point out what I have considered, who I have talked to, the factors that have entered into it, and then I will make my suggestion.

I expect to do that in an open convention after they nominate, if they nominate and take the nomination speeches for me, and after they take action on those nominations.

Q. Will this be at the Convention Hall?

THE PRESIDENT. This will be at the convention tonight.

Q. Will you return tonight?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, and we will be back in the salt mines tonight.

Q. Privately, before you make any announcement in Atlantic City, will you advise the person whom you will recommend to be your running mate?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not gone into that. I have not thought of it. I will think of it and you will be on the plane, so you can ask me, and I will let you know what I decide-if you are available. I don't know whether I can reach him.

Q. You don't know?

THE PRESIDENT. I will make the announcement between 9 and 10 o'clock.

Q. But you have made up your mind?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have. This is the first time I have said it.

Q. What time did you make up your mind, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. I just stand on the previous statement. I found out today that you ask real tough questions. That little clarifying statement of yours got me into trouble.

Q. Mr. President, what time do you plan to take off for Atlantic City?

THE PRESIDENT. After we get an hors d'oeuvre and get some planes, and get me there in time for 9:15. If we work it out, we will go in Air Force One. If there are too many, I will go in the Jet Star and you can go in a second plane, but you will have to reimburse the Air Force. Does anyone know how many we can haul in Air Force One? See if we can't have a follow-up plane. How many want to go? Hold up those hands and somebody count them.

Mr. Valenti: 3 About 35.

THE PRESIDENT. I would ask them to have a follow-up plane, and those who go up with me can come back on the follow-up plane, and those who are going up in the other plane can come back with me. I don't want to make anybody go with me both ways. Tell the Secret Service, Jack. If they can satisfy this many, they will have to be very special people.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

3 Jack Valenti, Special Consultant to the President.

Note: President Johnson's twenty-eighth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26, 1964.

Earlier in the day the White House released the following statement, signed by four examining physicians:

"President Lyndon B. Johnson has no symptoms. His exercise tolerance continues to be superb. Physical examination, including the examination of the eyes, lungs, heart, abdomen, lower intestinal tract, and reflexes, is normal. His blood pressure is normal ....

"There is no health reason why he should not continue an active vigorous life."

Lyndon B. Johnson, The President's News Conference Before Departing for Atlantic City for the National Convention Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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