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197 Inspiring Quotes by Lyndon B. Johnson

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Lyndon B. Johnson.

Wikipedia Summary for Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was an American politician who served as the 36th president of the United States from 1963 to 1969, and previously as 37th vice president from 1961 to 1963. He assumed the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A Democrat from Texas, Johnson was also a United States representative and later majority leader in the United States Senate. Johnson is one of only four people to have served, at various times, in all four federal elected positions.

Born in a farmhouse in Stonewall, Texas, Johnson worked as a high school teacher and a congressional aide before winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1937. Johnson won election to the United States Senate from Texas in 1948 after narrowly winning the Democratic Party's nomination. He was appointed to the position of Senate Majority Whip in 1951. He became the Senate leader of the Democrats in 1953. He became known for his domineering personality and the "Johnson treatment", his aggressive coercion of powerful politicians to advance legislation. Johnson ran for the Democratic nomination in the 1960 presidential election. Although unsuccessful, he became the running mate of the nominee Senator John F. Kennedy and they went on to win a close election. On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson succeeded him as president. In the 1964 Presidential election, Johnson won in a landslide, defeating Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. With 61.1 percent of the popular vote, Johnson won the largest share of the popular vote of any candidate since 1820.

In domestic policy, Johnson's "Great Society" and "War on Poverty" programs led to legislation to expand civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, aid to education and the arts, urban and rural development, and public services. Assisted by a strong economy, the War on Poverty helped millions of Americans rise above the poverty line during his administration. In foreign policy, Johnson escalated American involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted Johnson the power to use military force in Southeast Asia without having to ask for an official declaration of war. The number of American military personnel in Vietnam increased dramatically, from 16,000 advisors in non-combat roles in 1963 to 525,000 in 1967, many in combat roles. American casualties soared and the peace process stagnated. Growing unease with the war stimulated a large, angry anti-war movement based chiefly among draft-age students on university campuses. Unlike the majority of southern politicians, he opposed racial segregation, signing civil rights bills to ban racial discrimination in public facilities, interstate commerce, the workplace and housing. The Voting Rights Act ended the mass disenfranchisement of African Americans in the South, and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 permitted greater immigration from regions other than Europe. Johnson's presidency marked the peak of modern liberalism in the United States.

Johnson faced further troubles when summer riots began in major cities in 1965 and crime rates soared, as his political opponents raised demands for "law and order" policies. While Johnson began his presidency with widespread approval, support for him declined as the public became frustrated with both the war and social unrest. In 1968, he ended his bid for renomination after a disappointing result in the New Hampshire primary. He was succeeded by Richard Nixon in January 1969. Johnson returned to his Texas ranch, where he died of a heart attack four years later. Johnson is ranked favorably by many historians because of his domestic policies and the passage of many major laws that affected civil rights, gun control, wilderness preservation, and Social Security, although he has also drawn substantial criticism for his policies in the Vietnam War, and conservative criticism for the growth of the federal government and Great Society programs.

rainbow

Reporters are like puppets. They simply respond to the pull of the most powerful strings.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

person sitting on black surface looking to sky

Jerry Ford is so dumb he can't fart and chew gum at the same time.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


dew drops on glass panel

This is a moment that I deeply wish my parents could have lived to share. My father would have enjoyed what you have so generously said of me-and my mother would have believed it.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



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We must not only protect the countryside and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

Longer Version:

We must not only protect the country side and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities ... Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.


purple flowers under sunny sky

The great society is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goods than with the quantity of their goods.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

yellow and black striped background

The best way to begin disarming is to begin-and the United States is ready to conclude firm agreements in these areas and to consider any other reasonable proposal.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

icy mountain scenery

This nation, this generation, in this hour has man's first chance to build a Great Society, a place where the meaning of man's life matches the marvels of man's labor.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

blue mountains at daytime

The Russians feared Ike. They didn't fear me.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

purple and blue light illustration

There is nothing that exasperates people more than a display of superior ability or brilliance in conversation. They seem pleased at the time, but their envy makes them curse the conversationalist in their heart.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



galaxy

Education is the key to opportunity in our society, and the equality of educational opportunity must be the birthright of every citizen.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

closeup photography of brown and gray concrete bricks

I'm tired. I'm tired of feeling rejected by the American people. I'm tired of waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the war.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



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It's too bad, but the way American people are, now that they have all this capability, instead of taking advantage of it, they'll probably just piss it all away.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


silhouette photo of person holding flashlight under milk way

We did not choose to be the guardians of the gate, but there is no one else.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

purple lavender flower

The separation of church and state is a source of strength, but the conscience of our nation does not call for separation between men of state and faith in the Supreme Being.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


blue and white abstract painting

We decided that our first job was to help the schools serving the children from the very lowest income groups. Those families constitute the number one burden, the number one burden in this Nation on the school systems.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



silhouette of off-road car

If we quit Vietnam, tomorrow we'll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week we'll have to fight in San Francisco.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

pink and green flower painting

As man draws nearer to the stars, why should he not also draw nearer to his neighbor?

--Lyndon B. Johnson

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

We live in a world that has narrowed into a neighborhood before it has broadened into a brotherhood.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


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Our objective in South Vietnam has never been the annihilation of the enemy. It has been to bring about a recognition in Hanoi that its objective -- taking over the South by force -- could not be achieved.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

blue sky and white clouds

All of us realize that war requires action. What is sometimes harder for us to realize is that peace and neutrality also require action.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

body of water

I want real loyalty. I want someone who will kiss my ass in Macy's window, and say it smells like roses.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

white textile in close up photography

When things haven't gone well for you, call in a secretary or a staff man and chew him out. You will sleep better and they will appreciate the attention.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

red roses on book

Greater love hath no man than to attend the Episcopal Church with his wife.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


painting of man walking down a road holding umbrella

Every President wants to do right.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


blue and white abstract painting

I wake up 5 a.m. some mornings and hear the planes coming in at National Airport and I think they are bombing me.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


stars across the sky view at the desert

People do not come out to vote for a United States Senator. They come out to vote for the Sheriff or the County Commissioner.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

mountains covered with fog

Every man should know that his conversations, his correspondence, and his personal life are private.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

woman snorkeling

Presidents quickly realize that while a single act might destroy the world they live in, no one single decision can make life suddenly better or can turn history around for the good.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

blue mountains at daytime

Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


close up shot of white flower

The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and enlarge his talents.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

woman standing on cliff

I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help -- and God's.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

green leafed tree on snowfield under white cloudy sky at daytime

If you're not listening, you're not learning.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

white petaled flowers beside gray wall

For this is what America is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest that is sleeping in the unplowed ground.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

person with flashlight near lighted green tree on mountain under starry night

While you're saving your face, you're losing your ass.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

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John F. Kennedy was the victim of the hate that was a part of our country. It is a disease that occupies the minds of the few but brings danger to the many.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

leafless tree

Boys, it is just like the Alamo. Somebody should have by God helped those Texans. I'm going to Vietnam.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

boy and cat in front of moon

He's a nice guy, but he played too much football with his helmet off.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

body of water under clear blue sky painting

Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

grey sand wave

I report to you that our country is challenged at home and abroad: that it is our will that is being tried and not our strength; our sense of purpose and not our ability to achieve a better America.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

yellow and white painted wall

The United States and Israel share many common objectives ... chief of which is the building of a better world in which every nation can develop its resources and develop them in freedom and peace.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


sealion surrounded by rocks during daytime

There are plenty of recommendations on how to get out of trouble cheaply and fast. Most of them come down to this: Deny your responsibility.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

full moon in the sky

Never make a speech at a country dance or a football game.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

sunset

I don't believe I'll ever get credit for anything I do in foreign affairs, no matter how successful it is, because I didn't go to Harvard.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


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My most fervent prayer is to be a President who can make it possible for every boy in this land to grow to manhood by loving his country -- instead of dying for it.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

man in black jacket and pants jumping on white rock

We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

starry night over butte

This administration here and now declares unconditional war on poverty.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

yellow and white painted wall

Our most tragic error may have been our inability to establish a rapport and a confidence with the press and television with the communication media. I don't think the press has understood me.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

blue wall during daytime

I'd rather give my life than be afraid to give it.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

gray asphalt road

Freedom is not enough.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

white sailboat on ocean

We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

body of water during sunset

A President must call on many persons -- some to man the ramparts and to watch the far away, distant posts; others to lead us in science, medicine, education and social progress here at home.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

purple petaled flower on gray surface

Did you ever think that making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

rainbow

Victory is no longer a truth. It is only a word to describe who is left alive in the ruins.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

band performing on stage in front of people

Light at the end of the tunnel? We don't even have a tunnel; we don't even know where the tunnel is.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


close-up photography of building

Scarcely any law of our Redeemer is more openly transgressed, or more industriously evaded, than that by which he commands his followers to forgive injuries. Samuel.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

sun

If one little old general in shirt sleeves can take Saigon, think about 200 million Chinese comin' down those trails. No sir, I don't want to fight them.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

crescent moon above mountain

A man can take a little bourbon without getting drunk, but if you hold his mouth open and pour in a quart, he's going to get sick on it.

--Lyndon B. Johnson




red and blue light digital wallpaper

It is the excitement of becoming -- always becoming, trying, probing, falling, resting, and trying again- but always trying and always gaining.

--Lyndon B. Johnson




leafless tree on snow covered ground

If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



white and blue building under clear sky

Art is a nation's most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

blue and white water surface

For the primary and secondary school years, we will aid public schools serving low-income families and assist students in both public and private schools.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

The CIA is made up of boys whose families sent them to Princeton but wouldn't let them into the family brokerage business.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

brown mountains under blue sky

In a thousand unseen ways we have drawn shape and strength from the land.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

gray cactus plant on white pot

I am going to build the kind of nation that President Roosevelt hoped for, President Truman worked for, and President Kennedy died for.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



brown rock formation on body of water during daytime

Doing what's right isn't the problem. It is knowing what's right.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


two person standing while watching sky

The crotch, down where your nuts hang, is always a little too tight.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


sunset

Not merely a nation but a nation of nations.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

red and black logo

True poverty does not come from God.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


green ceramic mug on wooden desk

All that Hubert needs over there is a gal to answer the phone and a pencil with an eraser on it.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

pink and white abstract painting

In 1790, the nation which had fought a revolution against taxation without representation discovered that some of its citizens weren't much happier about taxation with representation.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

woman riding on skateboard during daytime

For the college years we will provide scholarships to high school students of the greatest promise and greatest need and guarantee low-interest loans to students continuing their college studies.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


clear wine glass with red wine

If you have a mother-in-law with only one eye and she has it in the center of her forehead, don't keep her in the living room.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

white wall tiles

Above the pyramid on the great seal of the United States it says in Latin: "God has favored our undertaking." God will not favor everything that we do. It is rather our duty to divine His will.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


green and blue chevron textile

I seldom think of politics more than eighteen hours a day.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

stars on outer space

For me, it is a deep personal tragedy. I know that the world shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy and her family bear. I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help -- and God's.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

sun

The debris of civilization litters the landscapes and spoils the beaches. Conservation's concerns now is not only for man's enjoyment-but for man's survival.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

brown mountains under blue sky

If we are to live together in peace, we must come to know each other better.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


green ceramic mug on wooden desk

I believe the destiny of your generation -- and your nation -- is a rendezvous with excellence.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

brown grass field near gray rocky mountain during daytime

I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her own way. And second, let her have it.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


low-angle photo of white daisy

A President's hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

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A clear stream, a long horizon, a forest wilderness and open sky -- these are man's most ancient possessions. In a modern society, they are his most priceless.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

white petaled flower

Only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. One is to let her think she is having her own way, and the other is to let her have it.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

red textile

When the family collapses, it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale, the community itself is crippled.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

bird in the sky

There's something special for everyone to do. Remember, no experience is a bad experience unless you gain nothing from it.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


four person standing beside wall

Emancipation was a proclamation, but not a fact.

--Lyndon B. Johnson




calm ocean

I believe in the American tradition of separation of church and state which is expressed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. By my office -- and by personal conviction -- I am sworn to uphold that tradition.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

red textile on brown wooden table

Americans have always built for the future. That is why we established land grant colleges and passed the Homestead Act to open our Western lands more than 100 years ago.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

None

If we become tow people-the suburban affluent and the urban poor, each filled with mistrust and fear of the other-then we shall effectively cripple each generation to come.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

silhouette of woman hugging mna under starry night sky

There are two kinds of speeches: the Mother Hubbard speech, which, like the garment, covers everything but touches nothing, and the French bathing suit speech, which covers only the essential points.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



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It will help at every state along the road to learning. For the pre-school years we will help needy children become aware of the excitement of learning.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

woman standing on forest

Any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a good carpenter to build one.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


sunset grasslands

When I was young, poverty was so common that we didn't know it had a name.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

purple and green light digital wallpaper

America has not always been kind to its artists and scholars. Somehow the scientists always seem to get the penthouse while the arts and humanities get the basement.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

castle surrounded fog

You never want to give a man a present when he's feeling good. You want to do it when he's down.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

snow covered mountain under blue sky during daytime

The future holds little hope for any government where the present holds no hope for the people.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

pink petaled flowers under trees at daytime

There is no issue of States' rights or National rights. There is only the struggle for human rights.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

None

When a person finds themselves predisposed to complaining about how little they are regarded by others, let them reflect how little they have contributed to the happiness of others.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

man standing outdoors

Let us close the springs of racial poison. Let us pray for wise and understanding hearts. Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our nation whole.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

body of water

When I was a boy we didn't wake up with Vietnam and have Cyprus for lunch and the Congo for dinner.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

Arizona landscape

Curtis Le May wants to bomb Hanoi and Haiphong. You know how he likes to go around bombing.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



silhouette of woman during sunset

This right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals, control over their own destinies.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



snow-capped mountain at the horizon viewed from lake dock

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.

--Lyndon B. Johnson



black fawn pug playing with plush toy

In our home there was always prayer -- aloud, proud and unapologetic.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

photography of starry sky

The fifth freedom is freedom from ignorance.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

man in black pants sitting on chair

Success only feeds the appetite of aggression.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

Arizona landscape

There are no favorites in my office. I treat them all with the same general inconsideration.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

None

Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


purple flowered hedge plants

I am concerned about the whole man. I am concerned about what the people, using their government as an instrument and a tool, can do toward building the whole man, which will mean a better society and a better world.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

houses and trees during nighttime

You might say that Lyndon Johnson is a cross between a Baptist preacher and a cowboy.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

Effective law enforcement and social justice must be pursued together, as the foundation of our efforts against crime.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

group of camels walking on desert lake at daytime

The Air Force comes in every morning and says, 'Bomb, bomb, bomb' ... And then the State Department comes in and says, 'Not now, or not there, or too much, or not at all.'

--Lyndon B. Johnson


person holding white book

To conclude that women are unfitted to the task of our historic society seems to me the equivalent of closing male eyes to female facts.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

close up shot of white flower

Whoever won't fight when the President calls him, deserves to be kicked back in his hole and kept there.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

river painting

Not now, or not there, or too much, or not at all.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


empty pathway

We must open the doors of opportunity.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

Longer Version:

We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors.


pink and blue painted wall

So here is the Great Society. It's the time -- and it's going to be soon -- when nobody in this country is poor.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

white snow mountain

For the first time in our history it is possible to conquer poverty.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

closeup photography of wall

It will be controlled when the people of America, through their elected representatives, demand the right to air that they and their children can breathe without fear..

--Lyndon B. Johnson

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

I am a freeman, an American, a United States Senator, and a Democrat, in that order.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

two person standing while watching sky

The best fertilizer for a piece of land is the footprints of its owner.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

body of water surrounded with plants under cloudy sky

Jack was out kissing babies while I was out passing bills. Someone had to tend the store.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

None

The thing I would like to do most is to find somehow to bring peace to the world. It has eluded me.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


silver round analog wall clock

Men who have worked together to reach the stars are not likely to descend together into the depths of war and desolation.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

crescent moon above mountain

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: 'President Can't Swim.'

--Lyndon B. Johnson


None

We can and should have an abundance of trails for walking, cycling, and horseback riding, in and close to our cities. In the backcountry we need to copy the great Appalachian Trail in all parts of America.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


trees at sunset

I'm gonna hunker down like a jack rabbit in a dust storm.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

tilt shift lens pink fetal flowers

He's Gerald Ford a nice guy but he played too much football with his helmet off.

--Lyndon B. Johnson


blue and white abstract painting

New laboratories and centers will help our schools lift their standards of excellence and explore new methods of teaching. These centers will provide special training for those who need and deserve special treatment.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

litter of dogs fall in line beside wall

The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

sealion surrounded by rocks during daytime

Conservation is ethically sound. It is rooted in our love of the land, our respect for the rights of others, our devotion to the rule of law.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

shorebird on pier

Poverty has many roots, but the tap root is ignorance.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

brown humming bird flying in mid air

Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

purple and blue light illustration

Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

man standing on cliff under white sky

Our numbers have increased in Vietnam because the aggression of others has increased in Vietnam. There is not, and there will not be, a mindless escalation.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

white and blue building under clear sky

No national sovereignty rules in outer space. Those who venture there go as envoys of the entire human race. Their quest, therefore, must be for all mankind, and what they find should belong to all mankind.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

blue painted wall with white paint

Second, this law has become a special symbol of our Nation's most important purpose: to fulfill the individual -- his freedom, his happiness, his promise.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

leafless tree on body of water during daytime

It is a truism that education is no longer a luxury. Education in this day and age is a necessity.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

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It is important that the United States remain a two-party system. I'm a fellow who likes small parties and the Republican Party can't be too small to suit me.

--Lyndon B. Johnson

We wish you a perfect day!