“Howdy, Mr. President! "

A Fort Worth Perspective of JFK

Late Night Arrival

Arrival at Carswell Air Force Base, Fort Worth
Thursday, November 21, 11:45 p.m.

Traveling from Houston, Air Force One carried President and Mrs. Kennedy, Governor and Mrs. John Connally, Senator and Mrs. Ralph Yarborough, and Congressman and Mrs. Jim Wright. Vice President and Mrs. Lyndon Johnson and other Texas politicians were aboard Air Force Two. A patient crowd of cheering well-wishers lined the runway to catch a glimpse of the attractive First Couple. This was a “first” for Mrs. Kennedy to accompany her husband on a domestic campaign trip, although she was still recovering emotionally from the death of their infant son Patrick in August. President Kennedy had specifically requested this Texas trip to kick-start his reelection campaign. Wealthy Texas Democrats would be vital to replenish the coffers of the campaign war chest. Rumors also hinted that this visit was an attempt to repair political divisions between old-style liberals and unionist Democrats, represented by Senator Ralph Yarborough, and the more conservative party members such as Governor Connally and Vice President Johnson. JFK had won Texas by an extremely slim margin in 1960 – he felt the Texas electoral votes would be even more pivotal in the election of 1964.

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