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damned debates!” [laughs] Because I had been active again, just before Kennedy was
assassinated at trying to get legislation through to insure the debates in the following year.
Let's see, that was 1963. Yes. So he was sensitive to the fact that I had been active on the
I already had the House side locked up. I say “locked up.” They had passed legislation
that would extend the temporary resolution that we had in 1960. And I had support from
John Pastore and, of course, President Kennedy had said he would support the legislation.
So I was already rolling, and President Johnson knew that and that's why he gave me that
The two of us went on out to Perle Mesta's, or the vice-president's house, and there must
have been six or eight people there. Mrs. Johnson was there. Bob [Robert S.] McNamara
was there. Walter Jenkins was there. I don't know whether Jack Valenti was there or not.
I don't think he was. I believe there was somebody else from his personal staff and there
was somebody else from the Cabinet. I can't now recall who it was.
At any rate, it was a mixture of sadness and excitement about what he was going to do and
so forth. I remember he turned to Bob McNamara and said, “We got to get some savings in
the military budget. What can we do?”
And McNamara said: “Well, we got a lot of bases we don't need.”
At that point the President said: “Get me a list of them, and we'll decide which ones we're
going to close.”
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