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Governor Connally Speaks about President Kennedy's Assassination, Part I (1965)
Gordon Wilkison
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  • Highlights
    Connally describes what he thinks about when the assassination is mentioned
    Connally talks about the lingering injury from the bullet wound he received the day Kennedy was killed
    Connally describes how the assassination has changed his life
  • Transcript
    INTERVIEWER: Governor Connally, when the assassination is mentioned to you now, what comes back to your mind?
    GOVERNOR CONNALLY: Charles, no one thing comes back to my mind, it's a moment of fleeting remembrance of all of the things that have happened: the prelude to it, the plans for the visit, the car ride, the expressions, the conversations that we had in the car, the little humorous things that occurred along the parade routes in the various cities of Texas, the moments of assassination itself, all of it passes through your mind with lightning speed, and I don't think I think of any one particular thing.
    I: Is there any physical pain now, two years after Oswald's bullet hit you?
    GC: Oh, no physical pain. There is a difficulty in the use of my right wrist. And there's also a weakness on the entire right side, which I notice. And I might say I found it necessary to start a few exercises because of the confinement of this office. And I have been trying to lift some weights and I find even though their lightweight weights when I try to lift them with my right arm, I can't raise it directly above my head as I can my left. But so far as any pain, I have none. So far as any great disability, I have none.
    I: In what other ways has the assassination changed your life?
    GC: Charles, I don't know that it's changed the course of our lives appreciably. I think the way it's changed it has been a very subtle way. I think it's given me more time to pause and reflect. I think it's made me perhaps intolerant of pettiness and petty things. I think it's made me impatient with unimportant details, I think it has forced me to lend my time and my efforts to—so far as the public affairs of this state are concerned—to matters that I think were of lasting importance and not of a political nature as such. In my own personal life, I think it has certainly made me more conscious—that I can't be sure how much time I have to enjoy my family, our association, our wonderful children. So even though I still travel a great bit and even though I'm gone more than I like to be gone, I take every opportunity I can to be with them and around them even for a meal and to enjoy their moments of joy and exhilaration, and I think this had much greater and deeper meaning for me than ever before. 
    I: Well, Governor Connally, in the past two years, have Dallas Police or Department of Public Safety officials turned up anything that strengthens or weakens the case? 
  • John Connally
    The thirty-eighth Texas State Governor, John Bowden Connally Jr., was born on a farm near Floresville, Texas, on February 27, 1917. Connally graduated from the University of Texas in 1941 with a law degree and was subsequently admitted to the State Bar of Texas. He began his political career as a legislative assistant to Representative Lyndon B. Johnson in 1939. The two retained a close but often torrid friendship until LBJ's death. After returning from U.S. Naval combat in the Pacific Theater, Connally joined an influential Austin law firm, served as LBJ's campaign manager and aide, and became oil tycoon Sid W. Richardson's legal counsel. Connally's reputation as a political mastermind was solidified after managing five of LBJ's major political campaigns, including the 1964 presidential election. In 1961, Connally served as Secretary of the Navy under President John F. Kennedy.   Wealthy financiers like Sid Richardson and a strong grass-roots network of supporters helped Connally win his first gubernatorial election in 1962. The three-term governor fought to expand higher education by increasing teachers' salaries, creating new doctoral programs, and establishing the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Historical Commission. In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed Connally to the foreign-intelligence advisory board. He was named the sixty-first Secretary of Treasury in 1971. Connally became one of the President's principal advisors and headed the Democrats for Nixon organization, finally switching to the Republican Party in 1973. Connally is also remembered nationally for being in the car with President Kennedy during his assasination in Dallas in 1963, when Connally received wounds in his chest, wrist, and thigh.    The former Texas governor announced in January 1979 that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination. His campaign was abandoned after media attacks over a controversial public speech and bank partnership. Financial troubles befell Connally by the mid 1980s after a real estate development partnership with former Texas Representative Ben Barnes collapsed. John Connally died on June 15, 1993 and is interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.