In President Johnson’s address to a joint session of Congress five days after JFK’s assassination, he declared, “let us continue,” an echo of Kennedy’s inaugural injunction, “let us begin anew.”
With those words Johnson began what would become a masterful use of Kennedy’s memory and his own considerable legislative skills in passing such seemingly intractable legislation as the 1964 Civil Rights bill. This is one of the greatest ironies of the assassination: it enabled LBJ to accomplish what Kennedy probably could not have.
There is little in the record of this day regarding the fate of the Presidential commission idea that LBJ had opposed earlier in the week and FBI Director Hoover had called a “regular circus.” If Johnson talked to Dean Acheson, as he had told Joe Alsop he would do two days earlier, the conversation was not recorded (Johnson and Kennedy’s taping system was manual, unlike Nixon’s).
In Congress, Senator Everett Dirksen proposed a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation of the assassination, and a separate joint Congressional inquiry was also proposed. These ideas were to be short-lived, as by the following day Johnson would settle on a presidential commission to investigate JFK’s death.