photo: NARA

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy: Mr. President?

President Johnson: I just wanted you to know you were loved and by so many and so much and-

JBK: Oh, Mr. President!

LBJ: -I'm one of them.

JBK: I tried. I didn't dare bother you again, but I got Kenny O'Donnell over here to give you a message if he ever saw you. Did he give it to you yet?

LBJ: No.

JBK: About my letter? That was waiting for me last night?

LBJ: Listen, sweetie. Now, first thing you've got to learn-you've got some things to learn, and one of them is that you don't bother me. You give me strength.

JBK: But I wasn't going to send you in one more letter. I was so scared you'd answer.

LBJ: Don't send me anything, don't send me anything! You just come on over and put your arm around me. That's all you do. When you haven't got anything else to do, let's take a walk. Let's walk around the back yard and just let me tell you how much you mean to all of us and how we can carry on if you give us a little strength!

JBK: But you know what I wanted to say to you about that letter? I know how rare a letter is in a President's handwriting. Do you know that I've got more in your handwriting than I do in Jack's now?

LBJ: Well-

JBK: And for you to write it at this time, and then to send me that thing today of, you know, your Cape announcement and everything-

LBJ: I want you to just know this, that I told my mama a long time ago, when everybody else gave up about my election in '48-

JBK: Yes?

LBJ: My mother and my wife and my sisters and you females got a lot of courage that we men don't have. And so we have to rely on you and depend on you, and you've got something to do. You've got the President relying on you. And this is not the first one you've had! So there're not many women, you know, running around with a good many Presidents. So you just bear that in mind. You've got the biggest job of your life!

JBK: [laughs] "She ran around with two Presidents." That's what they'll say about me!

LBJ: [quietly chortles]

JBK: Okay! Anytime!

LBJ: Goodbye, darling.

JBK: Thank you for calling, Mr. President. Goodbye.

LBJ: Bye, sweetie. Do come by.

JBK: [warmly:] I will.

Saturday, December 7,1963, 5:20 P.M.

JBK: -tonight, will it be in the news?

LBJ: It might be. I don't know.... I just had them come in the office, and they just sat around while I was drinking coffee. I don't know whether they even took TV of it, or not. I guess they did have some shining stuff in my eyes, but I don't imagine it's worth being on.

JBK: Oh, listen. Oh, good, because I thought it might have been one of those things that went on while you were doing it.

LBJ: Did it keep you busy all day?

JBK: Oh, listen, I'm just collapsed. I haven't gotten out of bed.

LBJ: Your picture was gorgeous. Now you had that chin up and that chest out and you looked so pretty marching in the front page of the New York Daily News today, and I think they had the same picture in Washington. Little John-John and Caroline, they were wonderful, too. Have you seen the Daily News? The New York Daily News?

JBK: No, but I haven't seen anything today except the [Washington] Post 'cause I just sort of collapsed, but they're all downstairs.

LBJ: Well, you look at the New York Daily News. I'm looking at it now, and I just came, sat in my desk and started signing a lot of long things, and I decided I wanted to flirt with you a little bit.

JBK: How sweet! And I read- Will you sleep in the White House tonight?

LBJ: [laughs] I guess so. I'm paid to.

JBK: Oh! ... You all three sleep in the same room, because it's the worst time, your first night.

LBJ: Darling, you know what I said to the Congress-I'd give anything in the world if I wasn't here today. [laughs]

JBK: Well, listen, oh, it's going to be funny because the rooms are all so big. You'll all get lost, but anyway-

LBJ: You going to come back and see me?

JBK: [chuckles]

LBJ: Hmm?

JBK: Some day I will.

LBJ: Some day?

JBK: But anyway, take a big sleeping pill.

LBJ: Aren't you going to bring- You know what they do with me, they just keep my, they're just like taking a hypo, they just stimulate me and I just get every idea out of every head in my life comes back and I start thinking new things and new roads to conquer.

JBK: Yeah? Great.

LBJ: So I can't. Sleeping pill won't put me to sleep. It just wakes me up.

JBK: Oh.

LBJ: But if I know that you are going to come back to see me some morning when you are bringing your-

JBK: I will.

LBJ: -kid to school, and first time you do, please come and walk and let me walk down to the seesaw with you like old times.

JBK: I will, Mr. President.

LBJ: Okay. Give Caroline and John-John a hug for me.

JBK: I will.

LBJ: Tell them I'd like to be their daddy!

JBK: I will.

LBJ: Good-bye.

JBK: Good-bye.

Saturday, December 21, 1963, 6:55 P.M.

LBJ: Jackie?

JBK: Mr. President?

LBJ: I love you!

JBK: Aren't you sweet? Where are you?

LBJ: You just skipped away from this town. I ought to have had you arrested!

JBK: But I was so mad at myself.

LBJ: Well, you ought to be mad. You almost made me mad at you leaving without coming by and hugging me and telling me goodbye.

JBK: Yeah, but did you get my note?

LBJ: Yes, I did. And I-

JBK: ... I felt so stupid.

LBJ: Well, I miss you, and I'm thinking of you and I know your Christmas won't be what it ought to be. But I wish that I could make it happier.

JBK: Oh, well, you're so nice. And you know something, sending Luci Baines was so sweet when she brought those presents over.

LBJ: Well-

JBK: He just rode that fire engine around for two hours and broke all the Hammans' furniture.

LBJ: [laughs] Well, you're mighty sweet. And I appreciate my book so much. Here's a little girl that wants to tell you hello.

JBK: Okay.

LADY BIRD: Jackie?

JBK: Oh, Lady Bird?


JBK: How are you?

LADY BIRD: Oh, knee-deep in all sorts of decisions and unpacking and things, and the recalcitrant Congress, but also ready to go home and see kinfolks and sit by the fire and tell tales.

JBK: Oh, and you go home when?

LADY BIRD: Well, we were going home tomorrow night, immediately after lighting the Christmas tree, but now it's uncertain.

JBK: I see. Oh, poor Lady Bird, with everything else you have, you just hit that place at Christmastime, too.

LADY BIRD: [laughs] Just in front of Mr. Erhard. I hope that you have, that the children are gay and happy, and that the weather is beautiful and that you get some rest.

JBK: Oh, you're so nice, Lady Bird. You're so thoughtful to think of me, and I know you've been calling Jayne Wrightsman, and you're just so sweet it makes me cry.

LADY BIRD: Not at all. I've just got to get to work and learn a lot. Lyndon wants to say another word, and lots of love to you.

JBK: Oh, same to you and all your family.

LBJ: When I got ready to go to home for my Christmas, the Congress just said they'd spank me and hit me right in the face and wouldn't let me go, and that's the way I am going to do you next time if you don't tell me goodbye.

JBK: Oh, listen, as soon as you get back, I'll come and get a vitamin-B shot from Dr. Travell.

LBJ: Won't you do that?

JBK: Yes.

LBJ: Thank you, honey. ... Merry Christmas.

JBK: Merry Christmas, Mr. President.

LBJ: Give that little girl a hug for me.

JBK: I will.

Monday, December 23,1963,7:18 P.M.

JBK: Mr. President?

LBJ: I hope that you're doing all right.

JBK: Oh, I'm doing fine, thank you.

LBJ: Well, this Congress is getting pretty rough up here and I may have to send for you before it gets through.

JBK: I hope you get home for Christmas. Will you?

LBJ: I don't know.

JBK: You're so nice to call me, Mr. President. You must be out of your mind with work piled up.

LBJ: I have a few things to do, but not anything that I enjoy more than what I'm doing now.

JBK: You're nice.

LBJ: How's my little girl?

JBK: She's fine, and John just set off this awful jet plane, so it's noisy here in the background.

LBJ: [laughs] Well, tell him hello, and I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, and I wished I could do something to make it happier for you.

JBK: Oh, no, you are so nice, and you've done everything you could. ... Thank you so much.. ..

LBJ: You know how much we love you?

JBK: Oh, well, you're awfully nice.

LBJ: You don't know?

JBK: Well, no, I don't-well, yes, I do-you know.

LBJ: You better know! All the 180 million love you, dear.

JBK: Oh, thanks, Mr. President.

LBJ: And all the world, and I'll see you after Christmas, I hope. And if you ever come back here again and don't come to see me, why, there's going to be trouble.

JBK: All right.

LBJ: You don't realize I have the FBI at my disposal, do you?

JBK: [chuckles] No, I promise I will.

LBJ: I'm going to send for you if you don't come by.

JBK: Good.

LBJ: Or someday they're going to create a traffic jam out there in Georgetown.

JBK: Okay, well, that would be great.

LBJ: You have a good Christmas, dear.

JBK: Thank you. The same to you.

Wednesday, January 1,1964,6:10 P.M.

LBJ: Happy New Year!

JBK: Oh, happy New Year, Mr. President!

LBJ: How are you doing?

JBK: Oh, I'm doing fine.

LBJ: You getting some sunshine?

JBK: [chuckles] It's pouring rain today.

LBJ: We have a beautiful day here.

JBK: Oh, I see. All of Texas- It looks so successful, the Erhard thing. That really went off beautifully, didn't it?

LBJ: Yes, we had a good meeting. He's a pretty good fellow.

JBK: Gosh, I thought you'd get some rest when you went home, but you did more than you do at the White House! ... You should go to bed.

LBJ: Well, I did this afternoon. I just waked up. I'm still in bed and I just waked up thinking about you and wondering how you were getting along and what you did during the holidays. Did Santa Claus come see the kiddos?

JBK: Oh, yes. You've been so nice to me.

LBJ: I haven't been nice to you. I just, I want to see you. When are you coming back to Washington?

JBK: Ahhh- Sunday.

LBJ: Sunday?

JBK: Yes.

LBJ: Well, I'll probably come back Sunday, too. I haven't made up my mind, but that's pretty persuasive.

JBK: [chuckles] Oh, but I will come to see you. ... I'll let you know.

LBJ: Anytime, anytime! You just quit being so modest now. Did you have any fun at all? Did you get out on the water any?

JBK: Oh, I did. I went swimming every day-And your present! Gosh, that Fairfax letter!... That's a treasure!

LBJ: Well, you're sweet, you're sweet.

JBK: You know, I grew up in Fairfax County.

LBJ: Well, bless your heart. They did a good job on you. Tell me, does John like his automobile?

JBK: Oh, he loves that so. That ladder! We have to take it down to the beach, up again ... down to the living room.

LBJ: [chuckles]

JBK: He's so mad about it.

LBJ: I'm going to come see him when he gets back to Washington.

JBK: She's so cute, Luci is.

LBJ: Well, she was up to see the Navy game today. Lynda had mixed emotions. Her boyfriend was a Navy man and she was going to Texas.

JBK: Oh, who won? ... The Secret Service all were betting on it.

LBJ: Twenty-eight to six Navy. I mean Texas, Texas! Twenty-eight to six Texas.

JBK: Oh, that's the Cotton Bowl.

LBJ: Yeah, that's right.

JBK: I remember.

LBJ: You sound cheerful. I hope you are.

JBK: I'm getting so much better. It's always tough ...

LBJ: I think you are a pretty great girl, myself.... I just wanted to hear your voice and wish you a happy New Year, and I'll see you next week.

JBK: Great, Mr. President. You know, I'm so touched by [inaudible] with all you've got to do.

LBJ: Well, I've got a lot to do with you yet, dear.

JBK: Oh, I'd just do anything for you, because you've been so nice to me.

LBJ: Goodbye, darling.

Thursday. January 9,1964,11:30 AM

JBK: [laughs]

LBJ: I'll resign! [laughs] Yeah, listen, I don't like these ten o'clock nights-lights still burning over here-and these early morning breakfast appointments.

JBK: Will you please start to take a nap after lunch?

LBJ: I'm going to.

JBK: It changed Jack's whole life.

LBJ: I'm going to.

JBK: He was always sick. And when we got to the White House, he did it every day, even if you can't sleep. And you know, Churchill did that. And you just, now that you've got your State of the Union over, you just can't tear around.

LBJ: I'll start it the day you come down here to see me, and if you don't, I'm going to come out there to see you.

JBK: Oh, Mr. President-

LBJ: And I will just have all those motor-sickle cops around your house, and it will cause you all kinds of trouble, and-

JBK: I can't come down there. I wanted to tell you. I've really gotten ahold of myself. You know, I would do anything for you. I'll talk to you on the phone. I'm so scared I'll start to cry again.

LBJ: Oh, you never cried-honey, I never saw anyone as brave as you.

JBK: But I, you know-

LBJ: Or as great.

JBK: I just can't.

LBJ: You know how great we think you are?

JBK: Well, you know. I'll talk to you. I'll do anything I can. But don't make me come down there again.

LBJ: Well, I've got to see you before long. I've got to see you.

JBK: Well, any time you say is great.

LBJ: All right.

JBK: Thanks.

LBJ: I'll call you sometime and come by.

JBK: Okay.

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