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Texas State University
Texas State University

Liz Carpenter

Author, Columnist
Thursday, October 1, 1992

Liz Carpenter has spent her lifetime as a communicator, executive, writer and 32-year veteran on the Washington scene. A graduate in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Carpenter went to Washington in 1942 and covered presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson. Her first national political convention was in 1948 when Truman and Dewey were the nominees. 

When Lyndon Johnson was nominated for vice president in 1960, he asked her "to share the great adventure of our lives." After 71 days of campaigning, she was swept up as a participant instead of an observer, serving as the first woman executive assistant to a vice president until 1963, when she returned from the Dallas tragedy aboard Air Force One. During the White House years, she was press secretary and staff director for Lady Bird Johnson and headed an informal speechwriting group to supply humor for presidential speeches. 

Carpenter is the author of numerous magazine articles and two books, Ruffles and Flourishes: the Warm and Tender Story of a Simple Girl Who Found Adventure in the White House and Getting Better All the Time. Since the publication of Getting Better All the Time, she has become an unofficial advocate of the aging American population and a frequent spokeswoman in the aging revolution.

Carpenter is a past president of the Women's National Press Club and has received many journalism awards. The University of Texas at Austin named her a distinguished alumna in 1975 and, in 1984, established the Liz Carpenter Distinguished Lectureship in the Arts and Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts. In 1990, she was honored as a distinguished alumna of the University of Texas College of Communication. She was a founder of the National Women's Political Caucus. 

Carpenter was named by President Gerald Ford to the International Women's Year Commission and by President Jimmy Carter to be assistant secretary for public affairs.

“I will tell you there was no one like Lyndon Johnson. He was the only one because nobody really could combine that mass of energy and vision that he did. And dreams, big dreams. And he believed, I think, and I like to put it this way, that in a democracy, government is the arrangements committee for the people.”

“We want to talk politics, because that’s the season. Presidents, and politics, and laughter! God knows one leads to another. One is necessary for the other. I have never met a president that wasn’t looking for a laugh, and I’ve met nine. They also work at trying to give them.”

“But I think what seems to be missing from our political scene is compassion and the kind of leadership and eloquence that rallies us together, that speaks to our hearts and spirits—that makes us recognize the truth: that we really all are in this together. That it could be an exciting adventure.”