Sunday, March 4, 2012

Shut Down by the President (in case you had any doubt about who exactly Sen. Russell was addressing)

"[Senator] Russell: Well, I don't hardly know how to reply to all of this because it is so damn general and deals with suppositions of which I have no knowledge at all. I want to say something but damn if I can see any place to put my teeth in other than to build up a straw man. Then you go calling up reserves--that would make me look silly.

President [Johnson]: Well, I think you ought to say that first the Committee of the Congress and the reservists themselves have been urging that they be called up because we have a strategic reserve--twelve divisions when we go into this thing and it is down to six and they ought to be called up. Now, the President has had the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to talk to you about it, the President has talked to the other chairmen [sic] about it, you believe the President has talked to a good many Senators, and if any Senator wants to talk to the President about it you are sure the President will be glad to hear his views. There has been no President that has ever consulted to much with the Senate as the present President. Now, so far as the Senate running the war, this is something else.

Russell: No, of course, the Senate cannot do that."

"Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Senator Richard Russell," March 7, 1968, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968 Vol. VI (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2002), 344.

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