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Apr 28, 2020 Washington, D.C.

Today, The White House Historical Association released the April episode of its monthly The 1600 Sessions podcast: “Presidential Leadership in Times of Challenge: FDR and LBJ.” Throughout history, presidents have faced challenges that have gripped both the nation and the world. In this episode, Association President Stewart McLaurin speaks to Paul Sparrow, Director of the FDR Library and Museum, and Mark Updegrove, President & CEO of the LBJ Foundation, about the unique challenges these two presidents faced, and the leadership skills that helped them navigate crisis.

“Franklin Roosevelt was confronting the greatest economic crisis in American history when he uttered those famous words, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," said Sparrow. “His eloquence and his ability to convey his optimism for the future helped settle a country that was in deep unrest. He did a fireside chat just a few months after Pearl Harbor. And he points out the complexity of fighting a global war. And he creates the sense that the Allied forces are going to win this war, no matter how bad it looks.”

Mark Updegrove adds, “Lyndon Johnson sees what Franklin Roosevelt does, how he uses government to do the greatest good for the greatest number during a period of unprecedented economic crisis. Several days after the assassination of President Kennedy, he said, "Yesterday is not ours to recover but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. When you hear him pushing for legislation for a civil rights bill, an immigration bill, an education bill, you can hear his empathy, he’s translating that legislation into how it will lift somebody up from their current plight and allow them to succeed.”

The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher. To hear the full episode, visit

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The 1600 Sessions

In this podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians, and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office—the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.

P.D.F. Resources

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About the white house historical association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit

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