Johnson the candidate has grave and probably decisive drawbacks as he, despite the hopes of Lis supporters, well knows. He has little support in organized labor. He "smells of magnolias," i.e., is a Southerner.
--Life, May 21, 1956
One day in the late 1950s, Lyndon Johnson and the Senate Republican Leader, William F. Knowland, were summoned to the White House from the torpor of a slow Senate debate. A domestic political crisis had blown up on some issue important enough for President Eisenbower to call in the congressional chiefs for urgent consultation.
Side by side they left the Senate; Knowland a stolid bull, bead thrust forward and face set in painful concentration; Johnson relaxed, pantslegs flapping at the ankles, eyes on the floor in front of him. Johnson turned to Knowland and invited him to ride the seventeen blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue in Johnson's limousine. In the car with them was a Washington lobbyist, a friend of both men, As the Cadillac nosed under the porte-cochere, swung left away from the Senate wing of the Capitol onto the broad plaza and headed down toward the famous avenue, Johnson asked Knowland if he knew the reason for the sudden summons from the White House. Knowland wasn't certain. Johnson replied he knew.
"I know why we're being called down there," he told Knowland. "He's in trouble and he wants us to bail him out. Did you ever think what you'd do as President?"
Knowland said no, he never had.
"Well, I have," Johnson said.