Johnson

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron spoke as a part of the Tom Johnson Lecture Series on Thursday night.

Photo Credit: Michael Baez | Daily Texan Staff

The LBJ Presidential Library hosted its annual Tom Johnson Lecture Series on Thursday, recognizing baseball Hall of Famer Henry “Hank” Aaron.

Johnson served as executive assistant to President Lyndon Johnson during his presidency and later served as chairman emeritus of the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation.

Each year, Johnson recommends a person who best represents the values of President Johnson to lecture in the series.

Aaron, this year’s honoree, is best known for breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record. During his 23-year career, Aaron won three Gold Glove Awards and the 1957 World Series with the Milwaukee Braves.

Aaron and his wife, Billye Aaron, founded the Chasing the Dream Foundation in 1999. According to Johnson, this foundation helps minority children achieve their goals.

“Both have been very active in civil rights, education, and active in the support of policies on the right side of history,” Johnson said. “They have supported many great black mayors and the legacy of President Johnson.”

Aaron said his father influenced his career path. 

“I remember getting into baseball because my father had his own baseball team,” Aaron said.

Throughout his career, Aaron said he always remembered his conversations with fellow baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. Aaron said Robinson taught him baseball was about “touching home plate.”

“For many years, I led the league in runs scored and runs batted in — or runs scored simply — because I focused about what Jackie always said,” Aaron said.

Augie Garrido, Texas baseball head coach, said Aaron’s legacy is in keeping with the University’s philosophies. 

“Walter Cronkite once said, ‘What starts here changes the world,’” Garrido said. “In addition to that statement, our goal is to educate one student at a time for better society. [Aaron] is a man of integrity that has moved mountains for this country. He has changed the world for the better.”

President Barack Obama speaks at Florida Atlantic University on Tuesday in Boca Raton, Fla. (Courtesy of the Associated Press))

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — President Barack Obama said Tuesday the choice facing voters this November will be as stark as in the milestone 1964 contest between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater — one that ended up with one of the biggest Democratic landslides in history.

The president made his comments during a fundraising blitz in Florida, and right before his general election foe was essentially decided. Republican Rick Santorum dropped out of the presidential contest, making it clear that Obama would face off against Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.

Obama used a daylong trip to Florida to call again for Congress to raise taxes on millionaires, a populist pitch on an issue that he hopes will help define the differences with nominee-to-be Romney.

“This election will probably have the biggest contrast that we’ve seen maybe since the Johnson-Goldwater election, maybe before that,” Obama told donors at the first of three campaign events in this battleground state. The events were expected to raise at least $1.7 million.

In his 1964 race against Goldwater, Johnson carried 44 of 50 states and won 61 percent of the popular vote, the largest share of any candidate since 1820.

Running on a record that included the Great Society, Johnson portrayed Goldwater as a dangerous extremist. He was aided by Goldwater’s GOP convention speech, in which the candidate proclaimed, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

Republicans said Obama’s tax proposal was aimed at dividing Americans along class lines and gave him an excuse to raise more money for his re-election campaign.

In a reception at a gated community in Palm Beach Gardens, Obama said Democrats would ensure the rich pay their fair share, while focusing on investments in education, science and research and caring for the most vulnerable.

By contrast, he said, Republicans would dismantle education and clean energy programs so they can give still more tax breaks to the rich. Obama did not mention Romney by name, but the economic fairness message was the theme of his day and aimed squarely at the wealthy former Massachusetts governor.

Obama later outlined his support for the so-called Buffett rule at a speech at Florida Atlantic University, arguing that wealthy investors should not pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-class wage earners.

The push for the Buffett rule comes ahead of a Senate vote next week and as millions of Americans prepare to file their income tax returns. The plan has little chance of passing Congress, but Senate Democrats say the issue underscores the need for economic fairness.