Lyndon B. Johnson

JohnsonJohnson had been to the camp as Vice President several times visiting in an official capacity but one of his memorable trips to the area came a few months after he became President. He didn’t come to visit Camp David; however, he came to visit the first Job Corps Center in the country just down the road.  He spent a few hours with the young men participating in one of his Great Society programs. Later, he went to Camp David for dinner with his military and foreign affairs advisers who had made the trip from Washington.

Many historians and even Johnson claimed he wasn’t really interested in the camp at the mountaintop, but camp crew saw a different side. People close to him got the feeling he found it awkward wandering around in a rustic lodge that was more a resort than a meeting place.  Johnson even took a sampling of his staff as to whether the camp should be kept a federal retreat or not, said William White in his book. Lyndon B. Johnson, the President, put everyone on notice his first trip to the camp that he required a vast amount of energy from those around him. His energy level was surprising. The first time he bowled at the camp he knocked down seven pins, not the ten required for a strike.  Unhappy with his attempt at playing the game he carefully sighted down his arm, readjusted his stance and pointed the ball like a weapon. His second throw was a winner. “A strike Mr. President,” said the attendant. But no record remains to tell us how the game ended. In A Guided Tour of Camp David he told staff he enjoyed the place. He visited Camp David 29 times in his five years and 6 months in the White House.

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