LBJ, Civil Rights and Obama's Legacy

Hosted by

book.JPGPresident Obama hasn't talked much about Lyndon Johnson, perhaps because of the legacy of Vietnam. Today, at LBJ's presidential library in Austin, on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, Obama left no doubt about his own debt to the former president and his mastery of the legislative process. "You come with me on this bill," he would reportedly tell a Republican leader during the fight for civil rights bill, "and 200 from now school children will remember only two names -- Abe Lincoln and and Everette Dirksen... And he knew that senators would believe things like that." Todd Purdum is author of the new book, An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.