Nightly News   |  February 12, 2013

An ‘impatient’ LBJ professes his love for Lady Bird

Newly released letters reveal the tender side of Lyndon Baines Johnson during the beginning of his relationship with Claudia Alta Taylor, the future ‘Lady Bird’ Johnson.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, from washington, the johnson presidential library in austin will tomorrow release the early love letters between a young lyndon and a young lady bird. he proposed soon after meeting her. and while we know him as a man used to getting his way, we may now get to know him as a great romantic as well. in the run-up to valentine's day the museum gave nightly news the first access to these letters. we, in turn, asked the johnson grandchildren to read both part aloud. here are katherine robb and lyndon nugent.

>> could i read and reread a letter from you which contained just one central idea. i want to hear you say over and over again that i love you. if all you know of lbj is what you see on the history channel or read in books, it would not occur to you that he was really a very loving, sensitive person who had fallen in love and was wooing the woman he wanted to marry. for a long time, i have a blade fire and haven't even been scorched, but every man sooner or later meets his waterloo.

>> i have to say, when i was reading through them i just found myself smiling a lot. and i was laughing a few times, because, again, it was just sort of the -- you know, they were very heartfelt emotions. october 6 , 1934 . i wish you were here this minute because i feel silly and gay and i want to ruffle up your hair and kiss you and say silly things. and that's one that makes me smile.

>> it's kind of tough to remember that they weren't always the people that the country came to know them as being, they were just two regular people trying to figure out what life was all about. i don't think he had perfected that johnson treatment yet and so i think he was really trying to figure out, have you pushed too hard? tell me soon, dear, just how you know you do feel. i don't want to go on this way. do you? will you tell me?

>> he's impatient. he wants -- he doesn't understand why the second date wasn't an appropriate time to propose. she's sort of the cam in the storm saying let's just slow down a little bit. must you have all or nothing? i love you more than anyone but we must wait until we know each other better, until there isn't any doubt.

>> quite frankly, it's very enjoyable to think about the -- how that happened back then.

>> it's less likely we will have this for future generations that will have these beautiful long letters where people are really sort of expressing themselves.

>> give me lots of letters next week. i'm going to need them. nix some i love nut lines and not between them. adios until tomorrow, lyndon .

>> our thanks to lyndon nugent and katherine robb, grandchildren of president and mrs. johnson , married for 39 years.