George Reedy

George Reedy

George Edward Reedy (August 5, 1917 - March 21, 1999) was White House Press Secretary from 1964 to 1965. Reedy served under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Born in East Chicago, Indiana, Reedy attended Senn High School in Chicago and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1938. Reedy was a reporter for United Press International in Washington, D.C. before joining Johnson's Senate staff in 1951. He worked as an aide to Johnson during his presidential campaign in 1960, term as vice-president, and early months as President. When Pierre Salinger resigned as press secretary in August 1964, Reedy was named to the position.

During the escalation of the American involvement in Vietnam beginning in March 1965, press questions over the veracity of the Johnson Administration's public assessments of the war led to charges of a so-called credibility gap. In 1965 Reedy took a leave of absence over his disagreement with Johnson's Vietnam policies. In 1968 he returned to the White House to work as a special assistant shortly before Johnson's surprise announcement that he would not seek reelection. After Johnson left office, Reedy started a supplementary newspaper serving South America and published "The Twilight of the Presidency" in 1970. The book was a critical and influential look at the modern American presidency and, in particular, at the impact that war has had on the office. While the book was not specifically critical of Johnson, the former president was reportedly unhappy with its frank assessment of the presidency and refused to speak with Reedy ever again. Early in his post-Watergate presidency, Gerald Ford asked his White House staff to read it. [John Dean's essay on The Twilight of the Presidency]

In 1972 Reedy accepted an appointment as professor and dean of the journalism school at Marquette University. Reedy resigned as dean in 1976, but continued as Lucius W. Nieman Professor of Journalism (1977-1990) and Professor Emeritus (1991-1996).

Reedy was married to fellow journalist Lillian Greenwald from 1948 until her death in 1984. He was married to Ruth Wissman from 1988 until his death in Milwaukee in 1999.


On Lyndon Johnson:
* "He may have been a son of a bitch, but he was a colossal son of a bitch."
* "Not only did Johnson get somewhat separated from reality, he had a fantastic faculty for disorienting everybody around him as to what reality was."
* "What was it that would send him into those fantastic rages where he could be one of the nastiest, most insufferable, sadistic SOBs that ever lived and a few minutes later really be a big, magnificent and inspiring leader?"
* "Hubris, as the Greeks would put it. 'Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.' Now, this was a man that was so big, that reached so far and made it and then let the whole thing crumble. I think it's one of the great stories of history."


* "The Twilight of the Presidency: An Examination of Power and Isolation in the White House" (1970, rev. 1987) ISBN 0-453-00567-5
* "The Presidency in Flux" (1973) ISBN 0-231-03736-8
* "Lyndon B. Johnson: A Memoir" (1982) ISBN 0-8362-6610-2
* "The U.S. Senate: Paralysis, or a Search for Consensus?" (1986) ISBN 0-517-56239-1
* "From the Ward to the White House: The Irish in American Politics" (1991) ISBN 0-684-18977-1


External links

* [ John Dean's essay on "The Twilight of the Presidency"]

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