In Memoriam: Lady Bird Johnson
Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson has died at 94. Lady Bird, born Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson in Texas, was the wife of former President Lyndon Johnson. By all accounts, she was a force of political and personal inspiration to President Johnson; she was known for her environmentalism, her tenacity and her southern charm. Clearly these were easily appreciated traits--Lyndon proposed to Lady Bird on their first date.
Gould, who studied the history of first ladies, said Johnson was the first to establish her own bureaucratic power center within the White House. She had a chief of staff and two spokesmen — one assigned to work with the growing new medium of television.
Her efforts to pass the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, which regulated billboards and other commercial activity along the nation's thoroughfares, pitted her husband against the powerful highway advertising lobby and some equally powerful congressional allies.
"You know I love that woman, and she wants that Highway Beautification Act," Gould's book recounts President Johnson telling his Cabinet. "By God, we're going to get it for her."