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The LBJ Tapes, Part I

During Lyndon Johnson's first year as President, his party held a majority in Congress, but his Great Society proposals drew enough Democratic fire to force him to reach out for Republican help. Sometimes that meant twisting a few arms.

With his civil rights bill a step away from final House passage and his anti-poverty bill stuck in committee, Johnson was set to deal. A request from House minority leader Charles Halleck (R-Ind.) to let Congress take a break in early July for the Republican convention provided the opportunity.

Telephone Call: Johnson and Halleck
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On The Phone Lyndon B. Johnson Mad Labor Support

Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.) called the next day, and Johnson pleaded for mercy on an excise tax vote.

Telephone Call: Johnson and Dirksen
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L. B. Johnson with people Civil Rights

Johnson's first year successes helped Democrats that November 1964. His party won two-thirds of the seats in Congress and Johnson was elected in a landslide.


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