Johnson assumed the presidency upon the assassination of Kennedy in November 1963, and was elected the 36th president of the U.S. in 1965. He declined renomination in 1968. Six months after assuming the presidency, Johnson announced his "Great Society" program, which would commit federal money toward education, Head Start, medical care for children, Job Corps, food stamps, housing and community development and other social welfare programs.
Johnson escalated U.S. military involvement in South Vietnam, despite the growing objections of some of his advisers, members of Congress and members of his own party. He was named Man of the Year for 1964 and again in 1967, when TIME described him as "an immensely complex, contradictory and downright unpleasant man, he never managed to attract the insulating layer of loyalty that a Roosevelt or a Truman could fall back on. Consequently, when things began to go wrong, he had few defenders and all too many critics." (1/5/68)
Researched by Joan Levinstein, the Time Inc. Research Center