The Presidential election of 1972 had two strong candidates,

President Richard Nixon and George McGovern. There were many issues

which had a great deal of importance to the election. The Vietnam war and

the stability of the economy at the time were two main factors. The election

ended in one the largest political scandals in U.S. history, being the

break-in, and cover-up, by President Richard Nixon.

The Democratic party had a large selection of candidates from which

to choose for the primary elections of 1972. There were many well known

candidates who entered the race for the nomination. The leading contenders

were Edmund S. Muskie of Maine, Senator George McGovern of South

Dakota and Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota. Other candidates who didn\'t

receive quite as much recognition were Alabama governor George C.

Wallace, Mayor Sam Yorty of Los Angeles, Rep. Wilbur D. Mills of

Arkansas, Sen. Vance Hartke of Indiana, former Senator Eugene J.

McCarthy of Minnesota, Mayor John Lindsay of New York City and Rep.

Shirley Chisholm of New York. Chisholm was the first black to run in a

series of presidential primaries." (Congressional Quarterly, "Guide
to U.S.

Elections", Third ed., 1994, pg.603-605.) 5

Governor Wallace had a devastating moment in his campaign while in

Maryland. "In early May a sick young man named Arthur Bremer altered the

politics of 1972. As Governor Wallace campaigned toward certain victory in

the Maryland primary, Bremer stepped forward out of a shopping-center

crowd and shot him four times. Wallace survived, but at the cost of being

paralyzed from the waist down. Maryland\'s voters surged out on election day

to give Wallace a huge victory, his last of 1972. While Wallace recuperated,

the millions who would have voted for him as a Democratic or independent

candidate began to move in overwhelming proportions behind the candidacy

began to move in overwhelming proportions behind the candidacy of Richard

Nixon." (Benton, William. "U.S. Election of 1972."
Encyclopedia Britannica

Book of the Year. pg.12-13, 1973 ed.)1

When the California primary was approaching, Humphrey tried to

save the nomination for himself. "Humphrey excoriated his old senate

(McGovern) for his expensive ideas on welfare and his desire to cut the

defense budget. It almost worked. But McGovern won all of California\'s

giant delegation, and beat Humphrey 44.3% to 39.1% in the popular

That loss spelled out the end for Humphrey\'s Democratic nomination.

Many felt Edmund Muskie was sure to win the Democratic

nomination for the election of 1972. "All political observers agreed on

certainty that Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine would be the Democratic

party\'s nominee."1 "As the front-runner, he wanted to snare the

early and so was committed to running in all of the first eight presidential

primaries. Prominent Democratic politicians lined up eagerly to endorse him.

Among them: Gov. John Gilligan of Ohio; Leonard Woodcock, President of

the United Auto Workers; Iowa Senator Harold Hughes; and Pennsylvania

Governor Milton Shapp."1 Muskie had many supporters, and a good chance

of receiving the nomination, perhaps even becoming the next President of the

United States. President Nixon knew that Muskie had a good chance of

winning and felt he had to do something to get Muskie out of the race. Nixon

had seven men who were loyal to him make up false press releases about

Muskie, and his wife. These press releases claimed that Muskie had had

affairs with both men and women, that he beat his wife, and then the topper

which claimed that Muskies\' wife was an alcoholic. These false statements

destroyed Muskies\' campaign and reputation of being a calm trustworthy

candidate. Then one day "mounting the bed of a truck parked outside the

offices of the archconservative Manchester Union Leader, Muskie launched

an attack on the paper\'s publisher, William Loeb. As he spoke of Loeb\'s

unflattering remarks about Mrs. Muskie, the senator\'s voice cracked, and the

crowd saw tears form in his eyes."1 This incident badly dented Muskie\'s

image. After that event, people saw Muskie as a weak person. They didn\'t

want a weak person running the country. "Muskie had finished fourth in

Pennsylvania, behind winner Humphrey, Wallace, and McGovern, and a

distant second to McGovern in Massachusetts. He then withdrew with

dignity." 1 Muskie later said of this incident: "It changed
people\'s minds

about me, of what kind of a guy I was. They were looking for a strong,

steady man, and here I was weak." " (Congressional Quarterly,

of Presidential Elections", Fourth ed. 1994, pg.329-330)6

After a long primary campaign, and all the primary elections, Senator

George McGovern won the nomination for the Democratic party in the 1972

presidential election. "McGovern did not get to deliver his acceptance

speech--perhaps the best speech of his career--until 2:48 a.m.,