8 episodes

"In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson" presents a surprising and original portrait of Lady Bird Johnson, told in the former first lady's own words -- from over 123 hours of her White House audio diaries, heard here largely for the first time ever. It recasts Lady Bird's role in the Johnson White House as her husband's closest advisor and most trusted political partner and provides history-making revelations about LBJ's time in office. It's the story of how one vastly underestimated woman navigated the power, politics and polarization of her era to become one of the most influential members of the Johnson administration... even if we never knew it. An eight-part series from ABC Audio & Best Case Studios. Hosted by New York Times bestselling author Julia Sweig.

In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnso‪n‬ ABC News

    • History
    • 4.4 • 10 Ratings

"In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson" presents a surprising and original portrait of Lady Bird Johnson, told in the former first lady's own words -- from over 123 hours of her White House audio diaries, heard here largely for the first time ever. It recasts Lady Bird's role in the Johnson White House as her husband's closest advisor and most trusted political partner and provides history-making revelations about LBJ's time in office. It's the story of how one vastly underestimated woman navigated the power, politics and polarization of her era to become one of the most influential members of the Johnson administration... even if we never knew it. An eight-part series from ABC Audio & Best Case Studios. Hosted by New York Times bestselling author Julia Sweig.

    No Exit

    No Exit

    Lyndon Johnson has been talking about escaping the presidency almost since the day he took office. But finally, on March 31, 1968, he stuns the nation with an announcement that he won’t seek reelection that fall. This episode presents a beat-by-beat account of the day, through Lady Bird’s perspective -- it’s a moment she’s been planning with Lyndon for four years. But there’s just a brief bit of relief following Lyndon’s speech. Just four days later, Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, and violence erupts across the nation. Riots rock Washington, DC. Both Lyndon and Lady Bird seem besieged in the aftermath of this tragedy: neither attends the funeral for Dr. King in Atlanta, ceding it to a constellation of ‘60s stars like Stevie Wonder, Harry Belafonte, and Diana Ross, as well as members of congress, and presidential candidates.

    • 40 min
    Blindsided

    Blindsided

    By the mid-60s, you can hear a growing distance between Lady Bird and the protest movement that’s sweeping the country. Bird’s a true believer in progressive causes -- civil rights, environmentalism -- but she’s also the product of her own generation and background. On a trip to two New England colleges to give speeches supporting their new environmental studies programs, Lady Bird is confronted by outspoken dissent from both students and faculty who walk out of her speeches, picket her presence and circulate letters denouncing the war in Vietnam. Lady Bird feels increasing under siege, even as she vows not to retreat into a bubble in the White House. But then dissent comes to lunch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, when singer, actor and activist Eartha Kitt participates in one of Lady Bird’s “Doers Luncheons,” and delivers a fierce critique of the war and its effect on young Black men. The resulting media backlash, fueled by the White House PR machine, is swift and brutal, effectively derailing Kitt’s career for decades to come.

    • 42 min
    California

    California

    Riots, uprisings and protests rock the country in the summer of 1966, and despite their progress with civil rights legislation, the Johnsons can’t seem to move fast enough. And an increasingly unpopular war in Vietnam begins to overshadow just about everything else. Luci Johnson’s wedding in Washington, DC becomes the setting of dramatic anti-war protests, and Lady Bird herself is the target of a bomb threat. Feeling the urgency, Lady Bird is looking for ways to make beautification have more impact for the people who need it most. And she finds inspiration and an unlikely collaborator in San Francisco. But just as their most ambitious, controversial project is about to get underway, tragedy strikes.

    • 37 min
    Entangled

    Entangled

    Network television comes calling for Lady Bird, as the president of ABC News convinces a reluctant first lady to host a documentary about her beautification work in DC. Lady Bird decides to use the opportunity to launch a full PR blitz to take her message to America. She’s on her way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to talk to a group of privileged conservationists about the need to bring access to nature to the inner city, when Lyndon has another health scare. Though it’s not a heart attack, he’ll still need surgery. Recovering in the hospital, Lyndon is once again gripped by crippling anxiety and depression — and this time it threatens his presidency.

    • 34 min
    Renewal

    Renewal

    Fresh from landslide victory in the 1964 election, Lyndon and Lady Bird shuttle back and forth between Washington, DC and Texas as they make plans for their first full term in office. But despite all that public support, it’s clear there’s trouble ahead. The civil rights movement is confronting a violent backlash, especially in the South, and despite LBJ’s public stance, Lady Bird knows they have “a small war on our hands” in Vietnam. Amid this turmoil, Lady Bird’s ideas about her own work are changing -- what started as planting flowers in underserved DC neighborhoods is growing into an agenda that brings environmentalism and social justice together in America’s cities. And yet, after nearly two years in office, the Johnsons still find themselves in the shadow of the glamorous Kennedys, when a high profile event at the White House brings the Johnsons their first taste of public protest and bad press.

    • 41 min
    Thank You, Mrs. Vice President

    Thank You, Mrs. Vice President

    There are moments in Lady Bird’s audio diaries that truly re-write the known history of LBJ's presidency. This episode includes one of the most consequential. In a memo to Lyndon just five months into his presidency, Lady Bird predicts how the Vietnam war will derail his administration, and proposes a clear end-date for his time in office -- fully four years before he shocked the nation with his announcement in March of 1968 that he wouldn't run for reelection. We hear Lady Bird’s growing sense that Bobby Kennedy will become LBJ's political rival, and RFK’s bring-down-the-house performance at the Democratic Convention in the summer of 1964. In the run up to the ’64 election, Lady Bird makes a Whistle Stop tour of the South — her home turf — to try to keep Southern Democrats from defecting over Civil Rights. But she’s met with open hostility, and worse. And on her return to Washington, a sex scandal involving Lyndon’s closest aide presents an October surprise that could easily upend the election.

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

Wendy LG ,

A must listen

I’m a longtime student of presidential history but this really opened my eyes to Lady Bird’s experience. How great is it that she left behind such a treasure trove of recordings. I was a kid when LBJ was president and this deepens my understanding of their imprint on America.

Mochuntass ,

So interesting

Glad to have listened to this podcast, it is so interesting to hear all the background info and what a wonderful person she sounds. Definitely would be a first female presidential candidate in my eyes!

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