In this episode of Slate's podcast about presidential campaign history, chief political correspondent John Dickerson examines George McGovern's hasty selection of a vice-presidential running mate during the 1972 campaign.
Dickerson describes how McGovern tapped Missouri Sen. Tom Eagleton for the ticket with minimal vetting. Then, after Eagleton was compelled to reveal his history of hospitalizations and electroconvulsive therapy.
McGovern vowed to back his running mate "one thousand percent," but Eagleton withdrew after just 18 days. Described by McGovern strategist Bob Shrum as "one of the great train wrecks of all time," the so-called Eagleton Affair left its mark on liberal politics for generations to come.
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