Oral history transcript, Lawrence F. O'Brien, interview 19 (XIX), 4/22/1987, by Michael L. Gillette


Oral history transcript, Lawrence F. O'Brien, interview 19 (XIX), 4/22/1987, by Michael L. Gillette

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The loss of Democrats in the Congress in 1967, especially in the House of Representatives; O'Brien's continued involvement in the legislative program in 1967 while advocating for postal reform and a change in postal rates; the strength of House and Senate leadership and problems with the whip system in the House; the increase in concern over the Vietnam War among congressmen; the work of John McCormack, Carl Albert, and Hale Boggs as house majority whips; O'Brien's conversation with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley about rising concerns about Vietnam; William Fulbright's opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam; Bob Hardesty's work providing congressmen with statements and material for their newsletters that were favorable to LBJ's legislative program; getting departments to send information to Hardesty that he could use in creating these statements, inserts, and speeches; Jake Jacobsen's role in searching the Congressional Record for statements that indicated support or opposition to legislation so LBJ could see them; contact with the press and efforts to publicize legislative progress; disagreement between Robert McNamara and General Earle Wheeler over the effectiveness of bombing in Vietnam; cabinet meeting updates on Vietnam; LBJ's reaction to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s anti-Vietnam movement; LBJ's dedication to civil rights; LBJ's request that O'Brien go to South Vietnam to organize their election; Birch Bayh's opposition to Rutherford Poats' nomination as deputy administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID); the 1967 Joint Economic Committee report, which some congressmen used to oppose the Vietnam War for economic reasons; the proposal of a tax surcharge to compensate domestically for the increasing cost of the Vietnam War; Wilbur Mills' objections to the surcharge; Mills' power as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; exceeding the budget estimates for war expenditures; proposed legislation to raise federal employee pay rates and postal rates; a seating issue for Adam Clayton Powell; the censure of Tom Dodd; 1967 Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Albert Quie's opposition; Carl Perkins' leadership on the Education and Labor Committee in dealing with Edith Green; truth-in-lending legislation; campaign subsidy and the dollar check-off proposal; proposals to ensure that not only Republicans and Democrats could benefit from federal campaign money; LBJ's election reform proposal in 1966; objections to a proposal that candidates disclose their financial information; the rail strike settlement; funding proposals for rat control; William Manchester's book, The Death of a President; Doris Kearns' involvement in a 1967 New Republic article that was critical of LBJ; a July 1967 memo regarding Irish airlines' opposition to competition from U.S. airlines and LBJ's action on the memo; O'Brien cancelling a November 1967 trip to Vietnam so that he could work on legislative matters.


O'Brien, Lawrence F. (Lawrence Francis), 1917-1990


LBJ Library Oral Histories

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Lawrence F. O'Brien


Michael L. Gillette

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Oral history









Time Period:

Post-Presidential (Jan. 21, 1969-)