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“We will not win our war against poverty until the conscience of the entire Nation is aroused,” LBJ told an aide. But how to do that when most Americans were doing reasonably well and barely knew poverty was an issue?
Somehow LBJ would have to convince a risk-averse and price-sensitive congress to back a costly, new government program aimed at solving a problem many voters barely knew existed. Johnson's solution: the 1965 Poverty Tour, a blitz campaign that would take the president into the country's poorest and most neglected communities in a bid to make the American electorate aware of the largely hidden poverty in their midst, and to rally their support behind his ambitious plan to do something about it.
Commentary and analysis: Joshua Zeitz, author of “Building the Great Society: Inside Lyndon Johnson’s White House.” Learn more at LBJsGreatSociety.org.