John Kennedy's trip to Texas was a political trip needed to mend fences within the Democratic Party. Kennedy, even with Johnson on his ticket, barely won the state in 1960. The next Presidential election was less than one year away. The Democratic Party within Texas was fractionalized. The gap between democratic liberals and democratic conservatives was profound. Senator Ralph Yarborough was considered the leader of the Texas liberals within the Democratic Party. John Connally is often given credit at the time for holder of the leadership position of the democratic conservatives in Texas. Kennedy was clearly caught in the middle. Although he tried to wear two hats, he tended to be thought of as outside the boundaries by each fraction. Perceived as a liberal by the conservative block, many conservative democrats were threatening to vote republican. The liberal block was unhappy with many of Kennedy's programs and perceived him as a conservative. Kennedy was hoping that this trip would smooth the ruffles of some of these problems as his eyes were on the next Presidential race in which he felt he needed to carry Texas.
Many of Kennedy's advisors didn't like the idea of Kennedy going to Texas from the standpoint that they felt it would be a dangerous trip, especially Dallas. On April 10th, 1963, someone attempted to assassinate conservative General Edwin Walker. On October 24th, 1963 Ambassador Adlai Stevenson visited Dallas. He was spat on and hit on the head with placards. Recently, Vice President Johnson had been to Dallas and encountered a very angry crowd, but Kennedy felt that any trip to Texas must include a stop in Dallas.
The Presidential party arrived in Texas on November 21 1963 in San Antonio. Kennedy gave a speech in San Antonio and flew on to Houston. The Presidential party left Houston during the evening hours of November 21st and traveled to Fort Worth. The next morning, the President got up early and read the Dallas Morning News. He saw a copy of a black-bordered advert that appeared in the paper that was very unfavorable to the President. He remarked to Mrs. Kennedy how easy it would be for someone to assassinate a President. The time was 10:30, just two hours away from the assassination. Kennedy walked outside the hotel and addressed a small crowd. He then attended a breakfast with Mrs. Kennedy sponsored by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. The President and his party left Fort Worth in Air Force One for a very short flight to Dallas Love Field. The day was cloudy, gloomy and rainy. When Air Force One landed at Love Field, the sky had cleared and the sun was out. It was determined that the bubble top of the Presidential car would not be needed...
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