“By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks – or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had “blood on his hands”.”
By David Taylor | BBC
Declassified tapes of President Lyndon Johnson’s telephone calls provide a fresh insight into his world. Among the revelations – he planned a dramatic entry into the 1968 Democratic Convention to re-join the presidential race. And he caught Richard Nixon sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks… but said nothing.
After the Watergate scandal taught Richard Nixon the consequences of recording White House conversations none of his successors have dared to do it. But Nixon wasn’t the first.
He got the idea from his predecessor Lyndon Johnson, who felt there was an obligation to allow historians to eventually eavesdrop on his presidency.
“They will provide history with the bark off,” Johnson told his wife, Lady Bird.
The final batch of tapes released by the LBJ library covers 1968, and allows us to hear Johnson’s private conversations as his Democratic Party tore itself apart over the question of Vietnam.
The 1968 convention, held in Chicago, was a complete shambles. Tens of thousands of anti-war protesters clashed with Mayor Richard Daley’s police, determined to force the party to reject Johnson’s Vietnam war strategy.