The Center for Grassroots Oversight

This page can be viewed at http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a0731080572eagletonquits&scale=0


July 31-August 5, 1972: Vice Presidential Candidate Leaves Democratic Ticket over Controversial Medical History

Thomas Eagleton.Thomas Eagleton. [Source: Wally McNamee / Corbis]Democratic vice presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton withdraws from the campaign. A week before, anonymous (actually Nixon campaign) sources leaked information to the press about Eagleton’s history of “nervous exhaustion” and “depression.” Between 1960 and 1966, Eagleton had been hospitalized three times, and had twice undergone electroshock therapy. Eagleton acknowledges that he lied to McGovern aides about his medical history when they asked him about any potential skeletons in his closet. Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern says that although he knew nothing about Eagleton’s medical history, he would have chosen Eagleton as his running mate regardless. (“They nominated a crazy man!” former Treasury Secretary John Connally exclaims upon hearing the news.) After several leading Democrats turn down the position, McGovern finally lands a replacement running mate in former Peace Corps chief Sargent Shriver, the brother-in-law of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA). (Reeves 2001, pp. 518-519)


Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike