Incumbent president Lyndon Johnson had held the job for less than a year after John Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. Johnson had just kicked off his presidential campaign against Republican Barry Goldwater.
And on this day in 1964, Johnson made Reynolds Coliseum one of his first campaign stops. He was joined by his wife, Lady Bird, who was traveling through North Carolina and elsewhere in the South on a four-day trip by train. They called it the “Lady Bird Special.”
In his speech before 13,000 people, Johnson warned that if elected, Goldwater would cut the farm subsidy program from $12 billion to $6 billion. That would translate, Johnson said, into a $1,456 loss for each farm in North Carolina.
“It’s good to be in North Carolina,” Johnson said. “The people are warm-hearted.”
Johnson went on to defeat Goldwater the next month with more than 60 percent of the popular vote.