President Lyndon B. Johnson brought his campaign for the nation's highest office to a final?
President Lyndon B. Johnson brought his campaign for the nation's highest office to a final climax with the traditional appearance in New York's Madison Square Garden Saturday night (31 October). A crowd of 18,000 jammed the sports arena while five to ten thousand more milled outside, matching the crowd that had turned out for his opponent, Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, earlier in the week.
Mr. Johnson predicted a future "society of success without squalor" and "rewarding leisure" for all, while promising moderation rather than extremism in conducting the affairs of the United States.
The President was delayed an hour and ten minutes by conferences on the Viet Cong attack on a big air field near Saigon which resulted in American casualties and damaged planes.
Mr. Johnson branded the opposition as "radical", rather than conservative, saying "they" wanted to tear down institutions, not preserve them.
Then he drew loud applause when he said: "extremism in the pursuit of the presidency is an unpardonable vice...moderation in the affairs of the nation is then highest virtue."
Mr. Johnson thus sought to turn against the Republicans, Senator Goldwater's famous quotation from his acceptance speech at San Francisco: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice...moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."