Here’s a cute article about picking a Vice President. The inside political joke is that Bobby Kennedy was absolutely DYING to be picked as VP. (And Buchwald has a great time teasing LBJ about his Texas accent.)
Little by little the story is being revealed as to how President Johnson chose Senator Hubert Humphrey as his running mate. I can now tell the whole story.
In the beginning all the polls indicated that, no matter who Johnson ran with, he would lose votes. So he decided to run alone. But he needed a legal ruling on it. So he called the Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and said, “Bobby, can you tell me if Ah need a Vice-Presidential candidate on the ticket?”
Mr. Kennedy said, “Yes, sir, I’m afraid you do.”
“That’s a shame. You don’t have any suggestions, do you?”
“I haven’t given it much thought, sir.”
“Well, if you can come up with someone, let me know.”
The following weeks it is known that the President talked to everyone concerning the Vice-Presidency. He sought the advice of Senators, Congressmen, businessmen and Governors.
Every once in a while he wandered over to the White House fence and asked a tourist whom he thought it should be. It was a big decision and he hated to make it alone.
As time went on the list got longer. He let it be known that 67 Senators, 24 Governors, 134 Congressmen, 50 women and 12 Secret Service men were being considered seriously for the office.
And every day he called up Bobby Kennedy and said, “You come up with a name, Bobby?”
“I’m racking my brain, sir, but I just can’t think of anybody.”
The President conferred with intimates in Texas, close newspaper friends, Pentagon officials and his accounting firm of Haskins and Sells. They all had suggestions and President Johnson wrote down every one. The list had been extended to include 136 mayors, 230 state legislators, 590 county chairmen, and everyone who had contributed more than a thousand dollars to the Democratic National Committee.
He called up Mr. Kennedy again. “Bobby, it’s getting near the time. Ah sure could use your help in this matter.”
Bobby said, “Mr. President, I’m stuck. You need a young man who’s held important government office, is known to the American public, has traveled abroad, and has a large political machine behind him. I don’t know where we can find him.”
“Well, keep trying,” the President said.
For weeks a steady stream of potential candidates visited the President’s office. Each one in turn was assured that when the final decision was made, he would be the man. Unknown to all of them the President had added the Washington telephone book to his list of prospects.
But he was still depending on Bobby Kennedy to come up with a man.
Then two weeks before the convention the President heard Postmaster General Grounouski had told a friend jokingly he wouldn’t mind the Vice-Presidential spot. The President hates to be pushed, so he eliminated his entire Cabinet from the race.
Up until convention time the President still had no idea whom he wanted to give the job to. Then one day, while he was eating lunch with Mrs. Johnson, she said to him, “You know, Lyndon, we owe the Hubert Humphreys a dinner.”
The President said, “Ah don’t have time to have dinner with the Humphreys, but Ah tell you what, Lady Bird, Ah’ll make it up to them some way.”