The Presidency Reach Out and Twist an Arm

"People were grievin' and cryin' and hidin' their babies under the bed," Lyndon Johnson once recalled about the hours and days following the assassination of John Kennedy in Dallas. "It wasn't my choice, but I was the only President they had. I did the best I knew how."

And he did it his way. The privately coarse and coercive Johnson was etched in fascinating detail in tapes and transcripts released last week by the L.B.J. Library of some of the hundreds of phone calls Johnson made to power brokers and political friends as he sought to steady the government and reassure...

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