For Obama, frustration in comparisons to LBJ

Lyndon Baines Johnson, Everett Dirksen, Clarence Brown, Hubert Humphrey, Charles Halleck, William McCullough, Emanuel Celler

WASHINGTON (AP) — Perhaps no historical analogy irks the White House more than the comparisons between Presidents Barack Obama and Lyndon Johnson, two Democrats who occupied the Oval Office a half-century apart.

Obama’s advisers bristle at suggestions that the current commander in chief could break through congressional gridlock if only he could emulate Johnson’s hands-on approach to wrangling votes on Capitol Hill. They argue that both the Republican Party and the broader political landscape has shifted so significantly since the 1960s that there is little use in harkening back to Johnson’s tactics.

Johnson’s mastery of congressional deal-making is getting a fresh turn in the spotlight as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act. Obama will pay tribute to the law Thursday during an event at Johnson’s presidential library.

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