McGovern Eagleton

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Text on Button McGovern Eagleton
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White text on red, white, and blue background. White band with blue stars separates the upper and lower portions of the button.

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After George McGovern won the Democratic nomination for president in 1972, nearly every single high-profile Democrat McGovern approached to be his running mate declined, including Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, Edmund Muskie, and Birch Baye. Senator Gaylord Nelson, after refusing McGovern's offer to run on the ticket, suggested Tom Eagleton as his running mate. With little thought, nor any background check, McGovern chose Eagleton. Unbeknownst to McGovern, between 1960 and 1966, Eagleton had suffered from severe depression, checking himself into hospitals for "physical and nervous exhaustion." Furthermore, before Eagleton was selected as McGovern's running mate, he told conservative journalist Robert Novak that George McGovern had stood for "amnesty, abortion, and [the] legalization of pot." Until the day of the election, McGovern was popularly referred to as the "amnesty, abortion, and acid" candidate. Not until a Meet the Press interview in 2007 did Novak say it was indeed Eagleton who he had quoted in the ubiquitous article.

Once it was leaked to the press that Eagleton had undergone electro-convulsive therapy and had checked himself into the hospital twice, Nixon's campaign team had a field day. Although McGovern dropped Eagleton soon afterward and recruited Kennedy in-law Sargent Shriver as his running mate, the campaign could not recover from the Eagleton fiasco. Nixon won the 1972 election in a landslide victory. 

Catalog ID PO0079