Interview SummaryJames Jones, a former staffer in the West Wing of the Johnson White House, begins the interview by detailing his background in Oklahoma Democratic politics. Jones recalls his memories of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jones describes his first impressions of Lyndon Johnson when he was a vice presidential candidate in 1960. Jones explains his role in President Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign. Jones also details his involvement in the Lady Bird Special campaign tour of the South. Jones discusses his participation in organizing a 1964 whistle-stop-campaign for Fred R. Harris, who was running for an Oklahoma Senate seat. Jones describes his work in the Johnson White House. Jones remembers his initial impressions of Bess Abell. Jones also describes what Bess Abell was like as a social secretary. How the White House budget was managed in the Johnson administration is considered. Bess Abell's role in coordinating White House events is explored. Jones recalls visits to the LBJ Ranch with President Johnson. Jones reflects upon the time period in which President Johnson announced he would not seek re-election in 1968. Additionally, Jones shares what it felt like to leave the White House after President Nixon's inauguration. Jones talks of his involvement in President Johnson's transition team to assist the incoming Nixon administration, which was one of the first in presidential history. Jones evaluates his level of contact with the Abells since the Johnson administration. Bess Abell's legacy as a social secretary is explored. Jones concludes the interview with memories of his first days on the job in the West Wing, including his first conversation with President Johnson.
Interview KeywordBess Abell Politics Democrats Ed Edmondson 1960 presidential campaign John F. Kennedy Assassination Lyndon Johnson 1964 presidential campaign Lady Bird Special Whistle-stop-campaigning White House West Wing Tish Baldrige Events 1968 presidential election Lame duck Senate Abe Fortas Fred R. Harris Transition period Richard Nixon
Interview LC SubjectPoliticians Oklahoma Washington (D.C.) Social secretaries Budget LBJ Ranch House (Tex.) Legislation Presidents
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Interview UsageInterviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Jones, James R. Interview by Brien Williams. 09 Oct. 2019. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Jones, J.R. (2019, October 09). Interview by B. Williams. Bess Abell Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Jones, James R., interview by Brien Williams. October 09, 2019, Bess Abell Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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