KEY WEST (CBS4) – Attendees at a President’s Day Weekend fundraiser for the Harry S. Truman Little White House museum in Key West got an inside look at the some of the perks of being in the ‘First Family’.
A panel discussion Saturday evening featured Truman’s grandson Clifton Truman Daniel, Lyndon Johnson’s daughter Luci Baines Johnson, Gerald Ford’s daughter Susan Ford Bales and Herbert Hoover’s great-granddaughter Margaret Hoover.
Daniel, 53, whose mother was Truman’s daughter Margaret, told the gathering he didn’t realized the importance of his family until he went to first grade.
“My teacher walked up to me one of the first days in school and said, ‘Wasn’t your grandfather president of the United States?”‘ Daniel said. “And I brilliantly replied, ‘I don’t know. I’ll go home and ask’.”
Johnson, 63, said what she remembered most where the moment which changed history like watching her father sign a bill establishing Medicare and champion civil rights despite widespread opposition.
Johnson and Bales, who lived in the White House as teenagers, recalled watching protesters picket against their fathers and dealing with the Secret Service agents assigned to them.
“We know how to date with Secret Service and how to ditch a date, which is the advantage of having the Secret Service,” Bales said.
Bale said she fondly remembers seeing the Alaskan pipeline with her father and traveling to China and meeting Chairman Mao.
“I threw a Frisbee on the Great Wall of China,” Bales said.
As well as sharing sometimes-humorous glimpses of their presidential forebears’ personal lives, the quartet spoke about public misperceptions of them and the responsibility of their family legacies.
“I really didn’t remember when I wasn’t walking in a very significant shadow,” Johnson said. “As long as you draw breath, everything you say and do reflects not just on you and your family, but reflects on the presidency — this is the greatest privilege that any family will ever have.”
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