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Johnson discusses daughters

On this day in 1967, CBS broadcasts an interview with President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, in which they spoke candidly about their daughters. The same day, their daughter Lynda Johnson was married at the White House.

In the interview, recorded on December 8, Johnson, who was commonly thought of as a bold, tough-talking swaggering Texan, revealed his softer side and his tender feelings toward his wife and two daughters, Lynda and Luci. Calling his “three girls” the “great pluses” in his life, Johnson admitted that the White House would feel emptier now that both daughters would be married and gone. When asked if he had a “favorite” daughter, Johnson replied that he had never known any parents who had a “favorite” and that he loved each child equally, though he recognized their differences. While Lynda was ambitious, studious and intelligent, Luci was creative, “very gay and not concerned with being Phi Beta Kappa or leading the class or making the honor society,” he said. He compared Luci to his mother who was “one of my very special favorites…she was creative, literary and [appreciated] nature.” Lynda, he said, was more like his wife: conservative, prudent and business-oriented. “After all,” he quipped, “Mrs. Johnson is the only one in our family that has ever met a payroll, you know.”

When asked for his assessment of his future son-in-law, Charles “Chuck” Robb, Johnson expressed admiration for the young man’s deft handling of a press conference the week before regarding his and Lynda’s impending marriage and said that he liked him “very much.” Johnson was also asked how he felt about the fact that Robb, a Marine captain, would be heading off to the war in Vietnam soon after the wedding. Johnson stated that he was grateful and appreciative that any young man was willing to give his life to serve his country, but did not elaborate. The reporter then changed the subject.

On the morning of December 9, Johnson gave away his daughter in a private ceremony held in the White House East Room. Chuck Robb served with distinction in the Vietnam War and returned home safely in 1972. He went on to serve as governor of Virginia (1982-1986) and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1989. In 2004, he chaired the Iraq Intelligence Commission appointed by President George Bush to investigate intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq. Lynda Johnson Robb is a contributing editor for Ladies Home Journal and advocates for children’s literacy programs.

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