A Young Leader

In 1954, the Democrats gained control of the Senate, making Lyndon Johnson the youngest Majority Leader ever at 46 years old. 

Transcript

David McCullough: In 1954, with the Republicans in control of the White House, the Democrats gained control of the Senate, making Lyndon Johnson the youngest Majority Leader ever. He was 46 years old.

Robert Dallek: There was no more powerful Majority Leader in American history. He understood the way the Senate worked. He understood what senators needed and what they wanted. He had biographies on each of them so that he knew what their tastes and intentions and aims and desires and wishes and hopes were.

Howard Schuman: He knew the womanizers, he knew the drunks. He knew people who wanted what committee assignments. He knew what rooms they wanted. He knew if they wanted a trip to Europe and take their wife.

Robert Baker: If we had a vote coming up and there's someone that couldn't vote with us, but we could send him on a NATO trip, we would do that, so you know, whereby he would not have to vote against us, but he would be off and his wife would be happy and he'd be attending a conference. And those conferences are very important.

Howard Schuman: His subordinate, Bobby Baker, who was the floor man for him -- and people called "Little Lyndon" -- said one time, "I have 10 senators in the palm of my hand."

Robert Baker: It's a "good ole boy" network. Well, you know, if you've been -- if you've served in the Congress, either the House or the Senate, together for many years, you've done favors for each other and you say what you can do and can't do and what's possible.

 

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  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH

  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH