1941. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, above, was perhaps the most important ally Lyndon Johnson ever made. Rayburn served in the House for a total of forty-eight years, participating in the passage of some of the most significant legislation in American history. He and LBJ became friendly when Johnson was serving as secretary to Kleberg, and once LBJ married Ladybird, Rayburn frequently dined at their Kalorama Road house. Rayburn’s support would be crucial to LBJ’s rise in national politics.
He would prove important to the nation, too: it was Rayburn who engineered the tough victory in the House, by a single vote, that extended the military draft beyond August 1941.
This would become very significant less than four months later—when Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor.
More on Rayburn: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fra49
Image: Stone, E.. [Painting of Sam Rayburn], Artwork, n.d.; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth183488 : accessed January 19, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting SRH, [No City Listed], Texas.