Tuesday, June 19, 2012

the last book I ever read (The Passage of Power, excerpt five)

from Robert A. Caro's The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson:

The elevator in this section of the hotel was located near the far end of the line of bedrooms at the end of the corridor farthest from the corner suite. That morning what one reporter referred to as the "pushy, sweaty mass" of the press--newspaper and magazine reporters and photographers, television cameras, cameramen and correspondents--was clustered around the elevator's doors. Kennedy had arrived at his suite very early, before any reporters had arrived, and it was assumed he was still at his apartment and would come up in the elevator, and might emerge and provide them with a clue as to the identity of the vice presidential nominee.

There was another connection between the two sets, however: a back staircase almost directly across from the 9333 door in the floor's corner, not a narrow back stairway but a broad one, with a broad open landing on each floor, as dimly lit as the corridors. If someone stepped out of the 9333 door of the Kennedy suite and walked almost straight across the hall and down the stairs, he had a good chance of avoiding the press, and that was what Jack Kennedy did, successfully, at about 10:15 that morning. Descending down the two flights of stairs, he knocked on the door of 7333.

Johnson opened it. The corridor outside was empty. Reporters and photographers had been stationed outside the rooms of the men considered likely vice presidential nominees, but Johnson was not one of them. Johnson led Kennedy into the living room, and they sat down on a couch, each at an end, half turned to face each other, two very tough, very smart men. Someone closed the door to the living room.

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