Lyndon Johnson asked if I would support him for the presidential nomination at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
During the entire conversation, he never once mentioned Jack Kennedy by name. It was always "the boy."
I said, "Mr. Leader, let me tell you something. Jack Kennedy is going to be the nominee for president. He's going to win on the first ballot for several reasons -- because of the innovative methods the Kennedys use, the untold wealth they have, their hard work, and the long arm of Joseph Kennedy. I promise you that the Kennedys are going to outwork, outspend, and outmaneuver everybody else along the line."
Johnson couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You're a professional," he said. "You know the boy can't win."
"He can and he will," I replied. "When we get to that convention, there won't even be a second ballot."
I could see that Johnson thought I was nuts, so I continued: "You have to see it to believe it. You don't know the strength they have. You don't know how quickly they can move. And you have never seen money work the way the Kennedys know how to work it. They don't get into fights they can't win."
Johnson just shook his head. "Come on, Tip, you know better than that. That boy is going to die on the vine. I'm asking you for some aid and support in New England after he fails."
When Kennedy was nominated, Lyndon must have received the shock of his life. The day he came to see me, he just couldn't imagine that Jack Kennedy was going to win the prize. But then, in March of 1960, not many people could.
-- From Tip O'Neill's "Man of the House"