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Frank StantonFrank Stanton
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saved, the supervisor's ego was protected, and everybody was a happy.

It takes a little time, and it takes a great deal of skill, but I see nothing wrong with that, if there's no violation of code in doing it. And if you use friends to help you, so be it. Johnson certainly did that, and understood the way to get there and accomplish the mission. He never solved the problem of Vietnam, and that was his undoing. He thought that he could carry the thing to a victory--or to a conclusion--and--

Q:

Let's talk about that in particular, for a minute. Do you think he was also following Kennedy's mandate, when he decided to continue the presence in Vietnam and increase it.

Stanton:

Yes. And Kennedy thought he was following Ike's opening relationships with Vietnam. What Ike would have done, I don't know. And what Jack Kennedy would have done, I don't know. But Johnson made another mistake, in which I think he should have used his own judgement rather than committing himself to Kennedy. He was very defensive about the Kennedys. They had style. They had money. They went to Harvard. Johnson had no money. He was a poor boy. He had no style--or he had style, but it wasn't accepted. And he went to [Southwest] Texas State Teachers College. He realized that he was not part of the eastern establishment.

When he was on the Hill, I think he got along very well being from Texas. When he moved into the White House and got into the international scene and the eastern establishment financial people and the, you know, social set--there's a better word for it than that--he was aware of the fact he had dirt on his shoes from the cow pasture.



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