Lyndon B. Johnson photo

The President's News Conference in Washington on His Return From the Columbus Day Trip

October 13, 1966

OPENING STATEMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

THE PRESIDENT. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back to the White House.

THE SOUTHEAST ASIA TRIP AND THE MANILA

CONFERENCE

[1.] The mission to the Manila Conference and the trip to the six Asian countries is now shaping up. While there will be, as you know, some changes and additions to our itinerary, as there always are in schedules of this kind, much of it is available now. The Press Secretary will make the itinerary available to you at the door if you so desire it.

We think this is going to be a very exciting, challenging, and demanding trip. Mrs. Johnson and I are looking forward with a great deal of pleasure to returning the visits to these seven countries--of their leaders who have visited us in the last several months.

We realize that we shall be seeing an emerging Asia. The trip has many facets. Primarily, as you know, it is a mission to the Manila Conference. This is timely for many reasons, which I will not elaborate now, but will discuss later.

We shall visit six nations. I am anxious to see firsthand the proud achievements of those countries, which their leaders have told me about as they visited the White House in recent months.

For me, the trip to Australia, especially, and New Zealand, has an added dimension. It is somewhat a sentimental journey to places that are vivid in my memories from World War II days. Twenty-four years ago I was there as a very low-ranking set of eyes and ears for another President, Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the period that I spent there, brief as it was, I came to know and to love those people and to appreciate their courage and their pioneer spirit. So I look forward very much to seeing them again.

During the trip, I shall be meeting with government leaders and other officials. But I am very eager to see as many of the people of those countries as possible, and as much of their countryside and their cities as possible.

In Asia, over the last year, I have felt that there is an encouraging mood of new confidence in that part of the world. And I think also in this country there is a new interest in that part of the world, because our people are awakening to the fact that a very large majority of the people of the world live in that area of the world.

There we find the life expectancy is short. The per capita income is low. There is great opportunity to really work with our fellow human beings to give them better living and a better way of life and better opportunities that we have had here.

Regional enterprise is developing there. They take great pride in the new Asian Development Bank that I first suggested at Baltimore a few months ago.1 The people of Asia are thinking and, I think, working not only to hasten their own national development, but to find ways to work with other nations. I want to see for myself as much of their achievement as is possible for me to see in the limited time that we have allotted.

1 See 1965 volume, this series, Book I, Item 172.

Too, I think this is a good time for the Manila Conference. You will recall that when we were in Honolulu last February, we agreed to meet again in 6 months or so to take stock and to look at the results that flowed from that meeting.

Much has happened in those 6 months. I will not try to take your time to relate it all today, but I think it is significant to point out that the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong monsoon offensive, that gave us concern, failed.

The Government of Vietnam made good its commitment to take action on the inflationary front, to devalue, to make arrangements where we could improve the efficiency of the port, the supplies we were sending there and, very important, made good its commitment to hold a free election for members of the Constituent Assembly.

There was great doubt in this country and other places in the world of the extent of the participation that would take place in that election by the peoples themselves. The terrorists did everything they could to keep the election from being held and to inculcate fear in the people so they would not go and vote.

Although we have an election coming up, a congressional election where we normally, off-years, vote less than 40 percent of our eligible people, only 50 percent in a personality presidential election, nevertheless these people, under fire, in the face of hand grenades and threats and terrorism, voted more than 80 percent.

That was a blow that caused the aggressor to suffer great loss of face throughout the world, because 80 percent of the people eligible to vote went to the polling places notwithstanding this terror, and demonstrated to the entire world their desire to have the privilege of self-determination.

The foundations have been laid and progress begun in the field for the Vietnamese "revolutionary development." And, as you know, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the Secretary of Agriculture have done a great deal of work before Honolulu and following it, in the field of education, health, agriculture, and the bringing of security to the countryside.

The defections from the enemy forces so far this year far exceed the defections last year. That was a matter that we gave special attention to at Honolulu.

Meanwhile, on the world scene, our position on a peaceful settlement is now I think much better understood than in the past.

In recent weeks I have talked to most of the leaders from that part of the world. And I find from them that they realize that it is not the United States of America who refuses to come to the conference table. That, in fact, there are only two governments in the world that now appear opposed to ending the war and achieving the peace. I would hope that those who make very special pleas for peace would direct their efforts to those two governments, because they have no problem so far as the United States Government is concerned.

Therefore, I was very happy to respond to the pleas that had been made by President Marcos and earlier by President Park2 and by the representatives of Thailand to agree to come and meet with them.

2Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Republic of the Philippines, and Chung Hee Park, President of the Republic of Korea.

I am not unaware that some of you have found fault with my acceptance of that engagement at this time of the year. I would much prefer to have gone after my Congress had gone home--November 15th--and so suggested.

But they have an election also in Australia on November 26th, and one in New Zealand late in November. And it happens in those countries the Prime Minister is a candidate this year and running himself. They felt that I could more appropriately be away, I am sure, at least the leadership did, when I wasn't a candidate when we were having an election than they could when they were both candidates.

So we didn't feel we should wait until next year. We couldn't have it in November because of these elections. I have been criticized some for accepting. I only wonder what would have been said about me if I had said no, I refuse to come and talk to our allies about our problems or our program.

ITINERARY OF TRIP

[2.] On our travel plans, we will have arrival and departure times for each city available to you soon. Mrs. Johnson and I are looking forward eagerly to the trip. we shall be leaving Washington from Dulles Airport at 9 a.m. Monday morning. We will fly nonstop to Honolulu, Hawaii. We are going to have a very busy schedule there. That is one of my favorite States in the Union and I contributed something to bringing it into the Union.

We shall participate in a ceremony and have a stay there overnight. We are going to be up at sunrise Tuesday. We will stop for an afternoon visit in the Fiji Islands where I spent several miserable days in a hospital in World War II, in a New Zealand military hospital, incidentally.

Then we will go to New Zealand that afternoon. That will be a long day's journey. We will be crossing a lot of the Pacific and the international dateline and the time change will mean that we will virtually lose Wednesday. I am very glad it is not Sunday so some of you won't have to miss church.

We will be in New Zealand on Wednesday and Thursday, next week, and then we will go on to Australia and very happily enjoy our visit there, I hope, from Thursday afternoon through Sunday.

We shall provide times and places for you when you leave this afternoon. To show you, we will visit Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Townsville before leaving Sunday, October 23, for Manila.

I will be at the Manila Conference, as you know. It is planned for Monday and Tuesday. I will be there until Wednesday. We shall leave the Philippines on early Thursday morning en route to Thailand. We will have 2 days in Thailand, 2 in Malaysia, plus 2 in Korea. We will return to Washington via Alaska--another favorite State of mine I have not had a chance to visit since it came into the Union. I was there during the war period for a brief time.

We want and we hope now to be back home at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2d. I would not want to be held definitely to those hours, but that is our hope, and our plan, for your information and your planning.

DESALINATION PROTECT IN ISRAEL

[3.] I have asked, now on another subject, Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, as one of his assignments in the new post as Ambassador at Large, to begin to review proposals which have been made for a desalting electric power project in Israel.

In making this review, Ambassador Bunker will give careful study to the proposals in relation to all aspects of Israel's water problem.

Ambassador Bunker, as you know, has had a very long and distinguished record in the service of our country. He has most recently done some outstanding work in the Dominican Republic as our representative to the Council of the Organization of American States. And except for his work there I shudder to think of the situation that would confront us now.

I am especially pleased that Ambassador Bunker has agreed as one of his new duties to work on this complex subject of desalting, which holds so much hope for the future of mankind, and which I am determined to have a substantial breakthrough on during my term of office if that is at all possible.

From the beginning, the United States and Israel have viewed these explorations of world-wide cooperation with great pleasure.

We want to do what we can to solve the problem of scarcity of water. Some of you may recall that I said in my speech to the friends of the Weizmann Institute in New York 3 that the knowledge and experience obtained from all of our programs in this field will, of course, be made available to all other countries.

3See 1963-64 volume, this series, Book I, Item 175.

I have repeatedly said that the United States is equally ready to cooperate with other countries in solving water problems.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has participated in the U.S. Israeli studies.

APPOINTMENT TO CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD

[4.] Another point of note that you may care to observe--I sent the nomination for reappointment of Mr. Robert Murphy of Rhode Island to the Civil Aeronautics Board today.

MEETING WITH PRINCE SOUVANNA PHOUMA

[5.] I regret I was delayed in returning. I just got in a few moments ago. I haven't had my lunch.

We had a very productive visit with the Premier of Laos this morning--somewhat longer than I had anticipated.

I had a stopover in Delaware.

SOCIAL SECURITY PROPOSALS

[6.] I am quite pleased with the apparent tremendous response to the proposals I made in Baltimore yesterday to increase social security benefits and to extend Medicare to the disabled.

I have had, as you know, as I stated last April, my top advisers in the Government working on improving a system for almost 6 months. And my speech yesterday reflected some of our thinking in that field.

I was particularly pleased to observe from the ticker today the really historic move on the part of my friends, the Republicans, in the Congress, to support social security legislation.

I didn't have time to check all the record but in the first social security bill, 99 percent of the Republican Party voted to recommit the social security bill on the grounds it was socialism.

And only a few months ago, 93 percent of them voted to kill Medicare--another very important part of social security.

So now they seem to be in a big hurry to pass a bill as soon as they can. We welcome them to the vineyard. We're glad they have religion. I'll have our people work through the nights, if they care to act on it before going home. I will not insist on that, but I would welcome it. If they care to come back after the election, those of them that are coming back, I will be glad to have them act on it then.

I just refreshed my memory. I read what our dear friend, our late beloved Mr. Kaltenborn,4 and our friend, the news analyst, Mr. Harkness, 5 said on the night of the election in 1948 about President Truman and how the President finally--after he heard that broadcast at 4 o'clock that said he is leading by a million but that can't be true, and he is leading by 2 million but that can't be true, and finally at five o'clock he heard it the last time--he said: "Well, I don't know about the polls, I don't know about the predictions, and I don't know about the columnists or the news analysts, but, boys, it looks like we are elected and we better get up and put on our clothes and get busy."

4H. V. Kaltenborn, news commentator.

5Richard Harkness of NBC News.

THE 89TH CONGRESS

[7.] From what I have seen in the country, I think we are going to have the best Congress in the history of this Nation when we finish our record this session.

The 89th Congress, my prediction is, historians will record as the great Congress. I would believe that the American people will realize what they have done in food, in education, in health, in conservation, in beautification, in recreation and the other things for our people and our leadership in the world and they will take appropriate action.

QUESTIONS

Now I am ready for any questions.

RELATIONS WITH THE SOVIET UNION

[8.] Q. Do you see any brighter hopes now for improved relations with the Soviet Union, especially after your talk the other day with Mr. Gromyko? 6

THE PRESIDENT. I am an optimist. I see no reason for the American people to fear the Russian people. I want and have wanted from the day I took the oath as President to be friendly with all of the peoples of the world.

6Andrei A. Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister.

I thought that we had made considerable headway in the first few months in the exchange of correspondence with Mr. Khrushchev. But after there was a change in government, and after the very regretful developments in Vietnam and the aggression that took place there that we were committed to resist, there seemed to be a cooling of relations.

I have said nothing or done nothing to contribute to that cooling. On the other hand, I have done everything I could, with dignity and with judgment, to promote friendship with the Soviet people.

We have signed a cultural agreement, notwithstanding the fact that our "Hello Dolly I" show had been turned back just a few weeks before without justification, in the light of our agreement that then existed.

We have just completed an air agreement. We are working very hard to get the Congress to enact the consular agreement that we have presented to them, that have been renegotiating with the Russians. We are working hard on a space agreement which I proposed several months ago.

We have hopes that we can find some language that will protect the national interests of both countries and permit us to enter into the thing that I think we need most to do: that is, a nonproliferation agreement.

I spent almost 2 hours with Mr. Gromyko. I thought he was helpful. I thought it was fruitful. I believe it will be productive.

I don't want to get your hopes up. And I am not a prophet. I don't want to prognosticate. But I feel good about our meeting. I said to him that we would welcome a visit by the leadership of his country to this country; that we welcomed his people coming here in the exchange programs; and we wanted to know them better. And we hoped that they would know us better because we were the two great powers in the world. I think all of the other nations look to us to keep the peace of the world, so it is important that we understand each other and that we have proper respect for each other.

STATEMENTS IN THE SENATE ON VIETNAM

[9.] Q. Mr. President, a couple of items came up in the Senate today. Senator Thurmond says we could win the war in Vietnam in 90 days if we wanted to. And then Senator Stennis cut loose with a rather extensive speech in which he was highly critical of our manpower and materiel procurement programs concerning Vietnam.

Senator Stennis said that he believes that the funding of the war inevitably will involve higher taxes. How do you feel about these statements from these two gentlemen today?

THE PRESIDENT. NT. Well, I welcome their statements and their recommendations on military strategy. The Senate has always participated in the international developments of our country and have made great contributions to the victories that we have achieved from a military standpoint throughout the years.

From the earliest days of this Republic, Senators have expressed themselves forcibly, eloquently--in most instances wisely. But while we always consider and evaluate and carefully look at what they suggest and take it into consideration, we don't always find that in the judgment of our more professional military leaders that this is always the wisest military judgment.

Senator Thurmond is also General Thurmond. And he has a good deal of experience in this field. I haven't read what he said, but I will read it.

Senator Stennis is a very sincere man. I know he wants to do what is best for his country and he thinks this is best.

But I also have to consider what General Wheeler thinks is best. And I have to consider what General Johnson, Chief of Staff of the Army, thinks is best; and General Greene, Chief of Staff of the Marines; Admiral McDonald, Chief of Naval Operations; and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

I don't think this would apply completely here, but I recall what Mr. Rayburn said one time when I was suggesting to him a course of military action that was not completely being followed by President Eisenhower, who was then in the White House. He said to me, "Lyndon, if these people in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a man of General Eisenhower's military experience do not know more about this than us civilian legislators, then we have been wasting a lot of money on West Point all of these years."

So what I would say, Mr. Smith,7 in summary, to your question: I welcome the comments and the military suggestions from Senators from day to day. We will carefully consider them and then consider the Security Council, consider the Joint Chiefs of Staff's recommendation, and do what we think is in the national interest.

7Merriman Smith of United Press International.

All of us have the same purpose. We all want to win this war--not in 90 days, but in 9 days, or 9 hours, or 9 minutes, if we can. But I am not sure that everybody has all the information on this subject that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has.

You will recall Senator Borah was somewhat guilty of harassing another President at another period. At one time he said he had better information than the President. Well, in light of the developments a little bit later, that statement didn't stand up very well.

A BOMBING PAUSE IN VIETNAM

[10.] Q. Mr. President, a number of authorities have suggested that another pause in the bombing would bring about a good atmosphere for your trip. Could you discuss the pros and cons of another pause?

THE PRESIDENT. No, Ray,8 I don't think I would like to discuss our strategy, the pros and the cons. I would observe this: that we have had two pauses. It is about the same people, the same sources, who suggested the second pause. They asked for 12 days, and then 20, and it went 37 days that our boys sat there and watched the enemy.

8 Raymond L. Scherer of NBC News.

He didn't pause. He kept up his bombing. He threw his hand grenades. He lobbed his mortars into our troop encampments and killed our Marines, our airmen, our Army soldiers.

I would be very interested at this moment in a pause if I could have any assurance that it would be reciprocated and the other people would pause.

I don't quite understand, though, why you want me to have our Marines and our airmen pause and put their hands behind their backs while the other people don't pause, and continue to shoot at them.

After all, those are our men. And if they will pause--the aggressor will pause--we will pause immediately. If they will withdraw, we will withdraw immediately. We will lay on the table tomorrow a schedule to move out of South Vietnam, to come home, to leave no troops in that area, to give up our bases--provided they will lay on the table their schedule for withdrawal, and their schedule to get their people to quit the killing and the murdering that is going on.

Now if it develops that there is any hope that would flow from another pause, we always keep an open mind. We will make additional sacrifices if we need to. But I see nothing on the horizon at this moment that would justify my asking all 300,000 or 400,000 Americans to stand there with their hands in their pockets because someone here suggested they pause, unless their enemy would pause.

TALK WITH SOUVANNA PHOUMA

[11.] Q. Mr. President, would you summarize for us your talk with the Prime Minister of Laos this morning, especially in regard to a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam war?

THE PRESIDENT. I did that earlier today in a news conference. I don't want to be repetitive.

I asked the Premier for his suggestions on any proposals that he had and any courses that he thought we ought to consider.

He made some helpful suggestions which I will repeat to the Secretary of State, and to Mr. Katzenbach, the Under Secretary, when he gets back.

We have received very helpful suggestions from a good many leaders from that area. We met just a short time ago with the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia; some several months ago with the Prime Minister of New Zealand; just recently with a leader of the Indonesian Government; with the leader of the Malaysian Government; with the President of the Philippines; and the President of Korea.

All of those people have interests there, have deep concerns there. Most of them have men there. We exchanged rather detailed viewpoints. They are helpful. We will have to see what comes of them.

I thought that the meeting this morning indicated that the people of Laos are determined to have their freedom. They do not want to be gobbled up by force. They are extremely grateful, that little country with so few people, operating under great difficulties-they are very appreciative for what the American people have done to permit them to have a modicum of freedom that might not be present except for our agreements and our arrangements.

CAMPAIGNING AFTER ASIAN TRIP

[12.] Q. Mr. President, there will be one week before election day after you return from your trip. Are you considering campaigning during that period in crucial States to which you have not yet gone, like Massachusetts and California?

THE PRESIDENT. Max Frankel 9 is probably a better authority on that than I am. We don't have any more plans at this moment. That is not to say that we won't speak somewhere this weekend. We have to look at our schedule and if I could be away from Washington on Saturday or Sunday this weekend--I always get refreshed and I gain strength from going out to see the people without going through middlemen.

9Reporter for the New York Times.

I don't always find the same conclusions that the middlemen do. So I want very much to go to every State that I can go to. I think we will shortly have been in 30 this year. I do plan to be in Hawaii and Alaska. I would hope that I could go to many other States. But that depends entirely on the White House business. That will come first.

If I can do my job here and have any time available to go out and correct some misapprehensions that some people may have in any places about the Congress, I would be glad to do that and make any contributions I can to this wonderful 89th Congress.

MILITARY COMMITMENT OF ASIAN NATIONS IN

VIETNAM

[13.] Q. Mr. President, do you foresee or hope that as a result of the Manila Conference and your travels to the Far East and the Pacific that the nations, the other nations, participating in the Conference, will increase their direct military commitments in the Vietnam war?

THE PRESIDENT. That is not a subject of the Conference. As you must know, the Korean people have a larger percentage of their total population in South Vietnam now than we do.

The Philippine people have just recently made a commitment. The Australians have commitments there.

We are very proud of the great service all these people are rendering. The New Zealandors are there. We have help in one form or another from other nations involved in the Conference.

Our purpose in going there is to review what commitments we entered into 6 months ago, to observe the progress that has been made, to try to do other planning in the economic and political fields.

We will have a military briefing, but the military plans will not be a part of this Conference and we are not going there to lay any strategic plans or programs.

I would caution all of you not to get yourself out on a limb in that regard.

This is a follow-up of our program to wage not only a defense against aggression there, but to also try to build a stronger and a more socially conscious and better economic base in South Vietnam for the poor people of that area.

THE PRESIDENT'S PERSONAL ROUTINE

DURING TRIPS

[14.] Q. Mr. President, this is a little bit of a personal matter, but I think there is some--

THE PRESIDENT. Do you want to go into it here?

Q. Yes. I think so. I think we have asked questions like this of other Presidents.

When you take a trip of this scope, 20,000 or 25,000 miles, could you tell us a little bit of your personal routine, how you manage to relax, what you do to protect your health? What is involved in a trip like this? I think the public has no idea.

THE PRESIDENT. I don't have any trouble relaxing.

One of my schoolmates once said to me that he knew that one man in the world would never commit suicide and that was Lyndon Johnson because he would go to sleep thinking about it.

I don't have any problem relaxing. I am treated better than most people who work in this country.

I get up early and work until 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon and then I take 2 hours off and have a wonderful shower and shave, and go to bed and sleep 2 hours while the rest of you people are trying to fight the traffic and get home. Then I go back at 5 o'clock refreshed and work until late in the evening.

These experiences are exciting and stimulating. I am going to be in the house of my friends, and I do always relax a little better when I am in friendly company.

THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY

[15.] Q. Mr. President, the textile industry is very alarmed--

THE PRESIDENT. What industry is alarmed?

Q. The textile industry, the domestic textile industry. It is very alarmed by the rapid increase in imports of woolen and manmade textile products. The industry seems to think your personal intervention is needed to secure relief.

What, if anything, can you do, and what relief is available to the industry?

THE PRESIDENT. I have met with the representatives of the textile mills on a good many occasions, and the textile workers, and their Congressmen and Senators who are interested in that subject.

We have explored various ways and means and have made proposals to other countries that have been helpful. We have passed legislation. The cotton bill was a great help to the entire textile industry. Anything that alarms them concerns me.

While I don't have a specific response to what I can do tomorrow in this field, I will have my people work on it and take such action that I think might be indicated.

WHY FORMOSA IS NOT ON ITINERARY

[16.] Q. Sir, you seem to be passing by this time your old friends at Formosa. I wonder if there is anything significant in that and if, perhaps, you are satisfied with the contributions that they may be making to our struggle in Vietnam?

THE PRESIDENT. We are not passing anyone by, Mrs. McClendon. 10 We have 120 nations in the world and you can't go see all 120 of them on one trip. We are going to visit six or seven, and that is going to be 25,000 or 30,000 miles.

10 Mrs. Sarah McClendon, representative of Texas newspapers.

I have recently been in personal communication with Madame Chiang Kai-shek. We have talked. She has visited here, as you know.

We hear their viewpoint every few days. They do not have troops committed in this area. They don't have the obligations and responsibilities and the commitments that the other nations that we are visiting do. I thought nearly everybody understood that.

VISITS BY SOVIET LEADERS

[17.] Q. Mr. President, do we understand from your response to the first question that you have extended an invitation to Mr. Kosygin and Mr. Brezhnev, through Mr. Gromyko, and if that is the case, is there any date set for it? Is it a formal invitation?

THE PRESIDENT. We did that some time ago, Mr. Deakin.11 Maybe you overlooked it. We expressed publicly our desire, and privately our desire, to welcome any officials of the Soviet Union at any time that they saw fit to come here.

11 James Deakin of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

We would welcome an exchange not only at the artistic level, or at the governmental level, but at the very highest levels. We have that going on in a good many fields now.

If they chose to, and if they had a desire to come and see our country, we would welcome them. That is not anything new. That has been my policy ever since we have been in the administration.

ATTORNEY GENERAL APPOINTMENT?

[18.] Q. This worked once about a Cabinet appointment. Do you have any news on an Attorney General?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I have given a good deal of thought to it, but I guess you wouldn't feel it was appropriate for me to announce it publicly here at a conference like this. [Laughter]

If the New York Times will be content to give me a little more time on it, I will have a mimeographed, full statement for you and we will give it to you in a handout sometime.

THE IMPORTANCE TO THE PRESIDENT OF HIS

VISITS TO THE STATES

[19.] Q. You have returned from New York and Delaware invigorated today. Was there something in the political wind you saw up there that you could tell us about? You were a little partisan in some of your remarks.

THE PRESIDENT. I found the same thing in New York and Delaware as in the rest of the country. Those of us who sit here in Washington watch what three networks put on the air, and what three men decide you can observe from Vietnam and all of the international incidents. When we read six or seven columnists, and two or three or four newspapers, sometimes we don't get it firsthand and sometimes there is a little personal equation that gets into it, and sometimes personal opinions substitute for facts.

I think it is good to get out and see the people and talk to them. I am convinced that the complainers in this country, the critics in this country, the prophets of doom in this country, and the theorists in this country are very, very much in the minority.

In my travels in over 30 States, I have never said "You never had it so good." That is an expression of what people concluded I said.

But I have said this: Since the Democrats came into office, 10 million more people are working, and they have a 21 percent increase, after allowing for the higher prices, in their income. If people are drawing more money, and more of them are working, and you have higher wages and higher profits, then you are going to have higher prices.

But I would much rather, and I think every American would rather, pay a little more for something they have to have but have a lot more in their pocket to pay for it with. We want to keep prices as low as we can, but I have seen on the faces of the people of this country a happiness, a pleasure, and a satisfaction that is not always reflected in what I read.

I might be like Uncle Ezra, you know. The doctor told him he had to quit drinking if he would improve his hearing. When he went back, the doctor said, "Well, are you still drinking?" He said, "Yes." The doctor said, "I told you you would have to quit it to improve your hearing." He said, "Well, Doctor, I like what I drink so much better than what I hear that I just didn't take your prescription!"

Now, to be perfectly frank with you, when I get out and see the people, whether those people are in Ohio, or Michigan, or New York, or even in little Delaware, I like what I see and what I hear so much better than what I read that it may reflect itself.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Johnson's eightieth news conference was held in the East Room at the White House at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 13, 1966. The news conference was broadcast live on radio and television.

Lyndon B. Johnson, The President's News Conference in Washington on His Return From the Columbus Day Trip Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238237

Filed Under

Categories

Attributes

Location

Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives