In 1961, Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson (pictured) was inaugurated as the thirty-fifth president of the United States of America.
All the way with LBJ in '60 by Eric LippsJohnson had faced what had potentially been a strong challenge in the primaries from popular young Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
However, many people, including former President Harry S. Truman, were nervous about the possibility of a Roman Catholic becoming president. At one point, Truman had taken the extraordinary step of telling Kennedy point-blank that he should not run because of his religion. Kennedy also had begun to develop something of a reputation as a womanizer.
His campaign was done in at last, however, when revelations regarding his physical health, something the candidate had carefully obscured behind a facade of youthful vigor, surfaced in the media. Kennedy, it was revealed, was taking high doses of painkillers for an old back injury and in addition was receiving steroid treatments for Addison's disease, a liver disorder. Several physicians suggested that the medications the Senator was on might have effects on his judgment.
Kennedy's chances had faded after that, and at the Democratic convention, he had not even been considered for the vice-presidential slot, which he had been offered by Stevenson in '56. Instead, the VP nomination had gone to Minnesota Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey, who had also made a strong run in the primaries.
This article is part of the Cuban Crisis thread.