Eighteen-Day Running Mate: McGovern, Eagleton, and a Campaign in Crisis

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Yale University Press, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
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No skeletons were rattling in "his" closet, Thomas Eagleton assured George McGovern's political director. But only eighteen days later--after a series of damaging public revelations and feverish behind-the-scenes maneuverings--McGovern rescinded his endorsement of his Democratic vice-presidential running mate, and Eagleton withdrew from the ticket. This fascinating book is the first to uncover the full story behind Eagleton's rise and precipitous fall as a national candidate.

Within days of Eagleton's nomination, a pair of anonymous phone calls brought to light his history of hospitalizations for "nervous exhaustion and depression" and past treatment with electroshock therapy. The revelation rattled the campaign and placed McGovern's organization under intense public and media scrutiny. Joshua Glasser investigates a campaign in disarray and explores the perspectives of the campaign's key players, how decisions were made and who made them, how cultural attitudes toward mental illness informed the crisis, and how Eagleton's and McGovern's personal ambitions shaped the course of events.

Drawing on personal interviews with McGovern, campaign manager Gary Hart, political director Frank Mankiewicz, and dozens of other participants inside and outside the McGovern and Eagleton camps--as well as extensive unpublished campaign records--Glasser captures the political and human drama of Eagleton's brief candidacy. Glasser also offers sharp insights into the America of 1972--mired in war, anxious about the economy, ambivalent about civil rights.

 

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Contents

The Conundrum
1
The Candidate
7
The Campaign
23
The Wrench
40
The Upstart
49
The Game
74
The Pipedream
86
The Selection
103
The Muckraker
215
The Tablehopping
226
The Sunday Shows
235
The Precedent
254
The Decision
259
The Aftermath
279
Epilogue
287
A Note on Sources
303

The Running Mate
123
The Investigation
134
The Disclosure
165
The Aftershock
183
Notes
309
Acknowledgments
367
Index
371
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Joshua M. Glasser is a researcher for Bloomberg Television in New York. He lives in the Bronx, NY.

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