1969 – 1971: Background The Front Runners in 1971 Senate Majority Whip Ted Kennedy, the younger brother of former president John F. Kennedy and former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, had been the favorite to win the 1972 nomination, but his hopes were derailed by his role in the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident. After Kennedy’s disgrace, the establishment favorite for the Democratic nomination was Ed Muskie, the moderate who acquitted himself well as the 1968 Democratic vice-presidential candidate. In August 1971 Harris polling amid a growing economic crisis, Muskie came out on top of incumbent Nixon if the election had been held that day. The McGovern-Fraser Commission Formally known as Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection, the commission was created in response to the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention. Soon after Nixon's electoral victory in November 1968, the 28-member commission was selected by Democratic National Committee Chair Senator Fred R. Harris (D-Oklahoma). Senator George McGovern (D-South Dakota) initially chaired the commission, until he resigned in January 1971 to run for President. The manner in which Vice President Hubert Humphrey had been selected as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 1968, together with the disorder and violence that had surrounded the 1968 Chicago convention, left the party in disarray and unable to unite behind its nominee and platform. What took place in Chicago went well beyond party leaders’ ignoring candidate Eugene McCarthy, who could claim to have demonstrated his appeal to voters in the primaries (and a general disregard of the delegates representing the late Robert F. Kennedy, who had won a number of primaries before his murder). Humphrey was nominated despite not having entered a single primary with the assistance of party bosses and the background lobbying of President Lyndon Johnson, who dictated who his successor would be. Disgust with the nominating process led Democrats to create a commission that would improve the conditions under which future nominees would be selected. Specifically, the commission set about reducing the ability of back-room party brokers to wield hidden power in the selection process. One of the unintended consequences of McGovern-Fraser reforms was an enormous surge in the number of state party presidential primaries. Prior to the reforms, Democrats in two-thirds of the states used elite-run state conventions to choose convention delegates. In the post-reform era, over three-quarters of the states used primary elections to choose delegates, and over 80% of convention delegates were selected in these primaries. This had the effect of opening up the nominating process to a candidate who could exploit the new primary system to circumvent the old power establishment in the Democratic Party. Since state laws governing primaries covered both parties, the Republicans were effected by these changes as well. However, in President Richard Nixon they had a popular incumbent. He only faced challenges from two fringe candidates: Rep. John Ashbrook of Ohio who campaigned against the President with a charge that Nixon was not conservative enough, while Rep. Pete McCloksey of California challenged Nixon from the left as a sort of Republican McGovern. Neither challenger won any primaries or seriously threatened Nixon’s re-nomination. The 1972 Democratic Primaries: A Dark Horse emerges One of the longest of long shots in American political history unfolded in the form of the 1972 campaign of the former Louisiana governor, Democrat John Julian McKeithen for the Democratic nomination for President. At a time when the Democratic party was shifting to the left, McKeithen – who, if he was known at all outside of Louisiana, was known for shady politics and some violent confrontations with organized labour - came from the right wing of the Southern Democratic party. At first he seemed like an unlikely candidate for the Democratic nomination. Like 1968 and likely 1972 candidate, Alabama governor George Wallace, McKeithen was the governor of a Southern state where the conflict between old line segregationists and federally imposed civil rights programs was still a political and social flash point. McKeithen’s political career had been the product of a Southern Democratic political machine which had held sway in Louisiana (like most Southern states) since the end of Reconstruction nearly a century earlier. From this one-party dominance had come Jim Crow racial segregation laws and a very conservative attitude toward governing, often mixed with a populist appeal for winning elections. Southern Democrats were quick to protect their sectional interests, and had developed an antipathy to Northern “intellectual” solutions that looked down on the South as backward. This was a direct contrast to the socially liberal and activist national Democratic Party, which had lead to sectional splits within the party. Southern Democratic leaders had created their own “Dixiecrat” Presidential ticket in the 1948 Presidential election to protect segregation and, more recently, many white Southern Democrats had supported Republicans Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon in the previous two presidential elections. Like Alabama’s Wallace (and Louisiana’s [in]famous Huey Long a generation earlier: Long, had been a populist demagogue who used state government as his personal political instrument, serving as an inspirational model for both Wallace and McKeithen), McKeithen was rural populist, a political type that could be successful in the South and the Midwest farming states, but which was regarded with more scepticism in the urban and industrial areas of the country. Wallace had given Southern populism a bad name among the liberal elites during his 1968 third party campaign for the presidency. More than a few establishment (Northern) Democrats harboured the belief (whether true or not) that Richard Nixon had won a very close race only because Wallace had undermined the Democratic Party’s traditional support in the South and among blue collar Democrats in the North (whose voting habits were becoming increasingly conservative). Unlike Wallace and Long, McKeithen was not a firebrand, rather he was a consensus builder, and that was to work to his advantage. Many national politicians were slow to recognize the impact of the changes brought about by the McGovern-Fraser Commission. But McKeithen together with his supporters – notably Louisiana attorney and former State Senator and banker William (Billy) Boles; Louisiana State Senator Benjamin “Sixty” Rayburn and Louisiana newspaper publisher Sam Hanna sr. – recognized that these primaries resembled Louisiana’s jungle primaries. In a Louisiana jungle primary (where all candidates for an office ran together on a single ballot) it was only necessary to win a competitive proportion of the vote (rather than over fifty percent) to be viable in the run-off election. The art of the game was to stand out enough to place in the top two in a diverse field of candidates. The delegate selection process in many states appeared to have a similar structure. The system would favour a candidate who started early and who could attract enough interest to gain momentum early on and gain name recognition, so that he might appear to be winning, or at least doing well, every time a caucus or a primary was held. McKeithen, at least partially inspired by Huey Long’s example (McKeithen was a member of Long’s political faction in Louisiana) believed he had a shot in such a contest, and that he could position himself as a more likeable populist than Alabama Governor George Wallace, expanding upon Wallace’s base of blue-collar Democrats to include middle class Democrats who felt disenfranchised by the national party’s swing to the left. McKeithen particularly believed that they would react to voice more moderate than Wallace’s that defended their interests against the activist wing of the party. The anti-war activist and student support had propelled McCarthy’s 1968 candidacy to the point where he undermined the candidacy of then incumbent President Lyndon Johnson, all over the issue of the Vietnam War. By the spring of 1971 this group along with other party liberals were being courted by the only declared candidate, South Dakota Senator George McGovern, who had quickly grasped the significance of the grass root reforms (in part because he was the first chair of the McGovern-Fraser Commission). John McKeithen believed his post-1966 record of moderation on race relations, along with his record of economic and educational accomplishments, as Louisiana governor would work in his favour. The least a primary challenge could do was raise his national profile (for a possible run for the U.S. Senate in the future, or a position on the Democratic national committee, or even as a potential Vice Presidential pick at the national convention). So at the end of 1970 he decided to start a campaign for the Presidential nomination. In late 1970 and early 1971 McKeithen was able to raise sufficient money from Louisiana donors to begin campaigning. In particular he picked-up some money from Louisiana’s oil industry, with which he had close ties. He also had an ally in fellow Louisiana Democrat, U.S. Senator Russell B. Long (son of Huey Long), a favorite of the oil and gas industry, who was also concerned about the leftward swing of his national party. What Senator Long initially expected of a McKeithen candidacy is unclear (other than perhaps a message to the national Democratic leadership) but he proved a valuable ally for McKeithen, who had few influential national contacts. As McKeithen’s candidacy progressed, Senator Long was able to persuade Louisiana Representative and House Majority Leader Hale Boggs and others wary of George McGovern in the national Democratic Party leadership to endorse McKeithen. McKeithen officially resigned from the Louisiana governorship on August 9, 1971 (9 months before his term ended) so that he could devout his time to five months of campaigning before the 1972 Iowa caucus. His friend Sam Hanna arranged for some press coverage on McKeithen’s achievements in the “New South”, likening him to other reform minded Southern Democratic governors such as Terry Sanford of North Carolina, Leroy Collins of Florida and Carl Sanders of Georgia. This was done to set him apart from Wallace in the minds of Northern Democrats. His early campaigning in Iowa, Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin in August and September of 1971 were not taken very seriously: few people there knew who he was. At the time Governor McKeithen travelled around these states with his sons Jesse and Fox and one or two volunteer aides, addressing gatherings of Democrats in rural or suburban settings. Mostly he introduced himself, and spoke of a program of returning honesty to Washington. He ran as an outsider trying to inject “the concerns of ordinary Americans like yourselves into the race.” He was a “fresh face” offering a contrast to “the Washington crowd.” “I’m John McKeithen, former governor of Louisiana, and you don’t know me from Adam. So, you ask, why should I listen to this fella rant about running for President? Well, friends, I may not be from (location where he was speaking), but I’m a father who loves his family; I’ve worked hard for all I have, my parents were working folk, just like you. I’m a veteran, I love my country and I’m concerned about the future. That’s why I’m in this race. As governor of Louisiana I did three things; I brought jobs, I improved education and I invited blacks to join us in creating a better State for everyone. I want to bring honesty and hard working values back into the government of the United States. To borrow an old riverboat expression, I want to cut the cards before that Washington crowd deals the next hand. As a hard working father I want to say my peace about how this country should be going, and what’s gone wrong under Mr. Nixon, and why the lefties aren’t doing much better. I want to leave our country a better place for all of our children. I’m running for President. Won’t you he’p me?” This pitch was one of the most unusual heard in recent presidential elections; at first the Democratic faithful didn’t know what to make of it – and it quickly became the center of discussion, which guaranteed that McKeithen’s profile rose quickly in national awareness as grass root members talked about him. Initially, McKeithen spoke before rural and working class audiences, his folksy populism began to catch on, in part because – accent aside – the Louisiana governor sounded closer to them than many established politicians. In the months leading up to January 1972 he spoke about “kitchen table” concerns (“we discuss our family’s concerns at our old kitchen table, and believe me, that’s when I get an earful from my wife.”) more than big policy considerations, and cemented himself in the minds of many as a candidate who spoke in their terms about their issues. McKeithen did address wider issues, such as the Vietnam War, by expressing his support for the troops but saying that the country needed a new plan. “Mr. Nixon’s secret plan to win the war was so secret he forgot to tell himself about it,” McKeithen would remark, often to ripples of laughter from his audience. “And the boys in Hanoi, they haven’t seen too much of it either. But our boys, they’re the ones suffering for want of a honorable end to that mess.” Working the crowds in the mid-west and the South paid off for McKeithen as the relative unknown started to become known, and was receiving invitations to be a featured speaker at various settings. At the same time his relatively modest war chest began to receive contributions, especially with Billy Boles aggressively beating the bushes for contributions. It was during the primary campaign that McKeithen first attracted attention with his Earned Income Tax Credit and his Education Investment Credit plans. Both ideas would allow low to middle income taxpayers to maximize deductions directly from their payroll tax, a boon to those who had little investment income and depended on a pay check to make ends meet. The Education Investment Credit would allow parents to deduct money from their payroll tax and contribute it directly to a tuition fund for their children. In addition he wanted to add a tax-free federal contribution to each holder’s EIC, thus increasing the amount of tax-free interest earning value of this saving and education vehicle. He also spoke of a Small Business Incentive program that would make capital available to small businesses in need of investment but unable to meet the cash flow requirements of direct bank loans. He pitched it as a way for the small businessman to gain access to investment dollars without having to give up control of their business or mortgage their home. Gaining support from organized labour was crucial for any Democratic candidate: Humphrey’s 1968 nomination had in part rested on the support of the labour unions. McKeithen was no more favoured by the leadership of organized labour than was George McGovern. While union leaders disliked McGovern’s leftward direction and anti-establishment leanings, in McKeithen they saw a right-wing enemy who could just as easily been one of their Republican detractors. As Louisiana Governor, McKeithen had favoured right to work legislation and placing limits on union power. His anti-labour stance had even led to an assassination attempt when someone planted a bomb at the Louisiana state capitol in an effort to kill him. At the same time McKeithen had a close working relationship with Louisiana State Senator Benjamin “Sixty” Rayburn, a long time friend of the labour movement in the Louisiana legislature. While Governor McKeithen had been busy promoting his “right to profit” program, he and Senator Rayburn had quietly worked on compromises that aided organized labour’s growth in membership and influence in Louisiana. Rayburn reminded his contacts in the unions of this fact, and implied that McKeithen was not nearly so hostile to organized labour as he first appeared; rather he was playing the Southern dislike of unions for political advantage. Rayburn, through his contacts, arranged for McKeithen to meet with George Meany, President of the AFL-CIO, and Leonard Woodcock, President of the UAW. During those meetings McKeithen persuaded the two labour giants that he was not their enemy, and that they should at least have an open mind about his campaign. By the time of the Iowa caucus on January 24, McKeithen’s wooing of Iowa Democrats paid off. He tied with George McGovern for second place behind Maine Senator Edmund Muskie, an impressive showing for a dark horse candidate with little national following to this point. Following a previous plan, McKeithen skipped the New Hampshire primary, where he was sure that Muskie would win, and instead concentrated his efforts on defeating Wallace in Florida. Between March 14 and April 4 McKeithen beat Wallace in Florida (a small margin of white Floridians were more attracted to his folksy style over Wallace’s firebrand), came third to Muskie and McGovern in Illinois and beat McGovern, Hubert Humphrey and Wallace in Wisconsin. Until March 4 Edmund Muskie had been the perceived Democratic front runner, but the "Canuck Letter" incident made hin drop out of the race. Prior to the New Hampshire primary the Manchester Union Leader published a letter which purported that Muskie had used derogatory language in describing New England inhabitants of French Canadian origin (the so-called “Canuck letter”). Since this was a sizeable group of voters in the northern New Hampshire states, the matter could have had an effect on Muskie’s presidential campaign, if believed. On March 4, three days before the New Hampshire primary, Muskie gave an impassioned rebuttal to a smear written about him in front of the offices of the Manchester Union Leader. During that speech it was reported that Muskie was crying (it was actually falling snowflakes landing on his face); these reports damaged Muskie’s image as a cool and reflective man. The effect was seen in a drop-off of support for Muskie in the New Hampshire primary. This damaged Muskie’s campaign against McGovern, to the point that he withdrew shortly after. Subsequent investigation revealed that staffers at the Committee to Re-elect the President had manufactured the “Canuck letter,” which the conservative publisher of the Union Leader had published without questioning its provenance. Once McKeithen defeated Wallace in Florida, attention began to focus on the Louisiana governor and his folksy style. McGovern began to attack McKeithen as a segregationist, while Wallace attacked him as a “soft soaper”. McKeithen may not have been able to stand-up to an attack by one, but being attacked from both sides gave McKeithen room to position himself as a centrist and consensus candidate. Prior to the Illinois primary on March 21, the McKeithen campaign, aided by Senator Long, approached Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to curry support from one of that state’s most powerful Democrats. Dailey at first re-buffed the Southern candidate, writing him off as an unlikely prospect. McKeithen joined with McGovern in attacking Nixon’s continuation and seeming expansion of the Vietnam war (but he was always careful to express his support of the U.S. soldiers fighting it; expressly reminding audiences that he had been an infantry solider in the Pacific during World War II). McKeithen even discussed ending the draft. He also adopted Wallace’s get tough law and order platform, but he removed some of the venom or “meanness” from it (less about “beating radicals”, more about stopping problems before they started). Since Govenor McKeithen had defused several tense situations in Louisiana in the late 1960’s through negotiation, and proved to be tough when necessary, he had a record from which to speak on the issue in “law-and-order” terms. To Wallace’s taunts of “soft soaper” McKeithen countered “I use soft soap every day to keep myself clean. I’m afraid that Mr. Wallace will have to use a lot of that soap in his mouth to say the same.” That drew some laughs, which was part of a wider strategy of turning Wallace’s taunts into one-liners that at the same time played-up McKeithen while putting down Wallace. When McGovern supporters called him a segregationist and a “gumbo Wallace”, McKeithen would be equally as robust in pointing out that he was no liberal by their definition – as was most every other “normal American” by his reckoning. McKeithen pointed out that he was a product of the segregated South – he didn’t run from that - but that he had learned from his experiences to “put away the bad from our past,” and “move ahead with the good.” The good: an appreciation of the needs of ordinary Americans and an understanding that even if they disagreed with the Vietnam war and other problems, they were not ready to burn down the country in opposition. McKeithen’s slogan became “a time for truth” and “less shouting, more elbow grease.” ”The time is for the government had to return to serving the people, and for this country to turn toward the industry and good sense of the hard working Americans.” This theme plaid well among rural and suburban Democrats, especially those nostalgic for the New Deal and Truman years, when the government had been seen as for “the little man,” and not dictating social change. These were the people who felt that McGovern and his supporters wanted to take the party in a direction they didn’t understand and didn’t want to go. To counter McGovern’s specific charge that he was a segregationist, McKeithen pointed out that the allegation wasn’t fair since he had appointed Louisiana’s first African-American judges and worked closely with the black community during his tenure; McKeithen trotted out black Louisiana officials to defend his civil rights record. “My pledge has always been to give the average, working, taxpaying, family man and woman an even chance to get ahead; and every means every, no color line!” At the same time McKeithen used his record of economic leadership and growth in Louisiana to attract support from the business community; he spoke of business as a partner with government, not an opponent. He also lambasted Nixon economic policies which had lead to inflation and a rise in interest rates. By the time of the Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio primaries at the end of April and early May McKeithen, the dark horse, was eating away at most other centrist candidate’s support, and chopping up Wallace’s onetime hold on the blue collar vote. He beat Hubert Humphrey in Pennsylvania and Ohio, knocking the 1968 Democratic nominee out of the race. Wallace beat McKeithen in Alabama and North Carolina, but McKeithen beat him in Tennessee. He also won his home state’s primary despite a spirited challenge from New York congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (the first African-American woman to contest for the Democratic nomination). After George McGovern won the Massachusetts primary journalist Bob Novak phoned Democratic politicians around the country. They agreed with his assessment that blue-collar workers voting for McGovern did not understand what he really stood for. Two days later, on April 27, Novak reported in a column that an unnamed Democratic senator had said of McGovern: "The people don’t know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion and legalization of pot. Once Middle America - Catholic Middle America, in particular - finds this out, he’s dead." The label stuck and McGovern became known as the candidate of "amnesty, abortion and acid." At the time Novak was accused of manufacturing the quote on behalf of the Nixon campaign, a charge which Novak rebutted. However his source wished to remain anonymous. Both McKeithen and Wallace made a point of out of Novak’s comments though, painting McGovern as an out of the mainstream radical. McKeithen in particular used the “Amnesty, Abortion and Acid” charge to paint himself as an everyman when compared with McGovern. McKeithen pledged not to extend amnesty to draft dodgers, to leave abortion to the states, where he felt it belonged constitutionally, and to fight the “plague of drugs engulfing our nation.” While campaigning in Laurel, Maryland, on May 15, 1972, George Wallace was shot five times by Arthur Bremer. Three others wounded in the shooting also survived. Bremer's diary, published after his arrest as An Assassin's Diary, showed that Bremer's assassination attempt was not motivated by politics, but by a desire for fame, and that President Nixon had been a possible target. The assassination attempt left Wallace paralysed. Following the shooting, Wallace won primaries in Maryland and North Carolina. Despite the outpouring of sympathy for Wallace, McKeithen still beat him in Michigan and Tennessee, winning with a large margin of the blue-collar and Roman Catholic vote. By the middle of May the remaining primary contests became a slugfest between McGovern on the left and McKeithen on the right, with the center up for grabs. Wallace had been removed by the attempt on his life. McGovern was still leading in delegates, but the contest was getting very close in the remaining industrial and western states. McKeithen now began to worry the Nixon White House, which spread rumours about the Louisiana governor’s ties to the mafia. Life magazine had printed a series of articles about political corruption in Louisiana in 1969 and 1970, and the ties between elected officials and organized crime. McKeithen himself had not been directly tied to any of these allegations; but he was tarred with guilt-by-association. McKeithen countered these attacks by pointing out his achievements in creating transparency and ethical accountability in Louisiana state government. “Sure, I know a few crooks; I saw how they did it and then made it harder for them to steal.” He also pointed out that number of organized crime prosecutions undertaken in Louisiana since he became Governor had increased, and that he had worked with the State Attorney General to clean up his state (a compliant Louisiana Attorney General, a McKeithen ally, stepped forward to support McKeithen). Although McKeithen’s official slogan was “A time for truth,” his signature catch phrase “Won’t you he’p me?” – complete with southern inflection – caught on and became a significant cultural byword for that year, which served to help McKeithen among undecided voters. By the time of the June 6 primaries McGovern and McKeithen (“M&M” the Republicans dubbed them for “Malcontent and Malfeasant”) were nearly even. McGovern won in California and South Dakota, McKeithen took New Mexico while Shirley Chisholm won in New Jersey. The two front runners each had a substantial number of delegates, but neither had enough to win the nomination on the first ballot. This meant that the nomination would have to be brokered at the convention in Miami Beach. Watergate: The Drama Behind Curtain #2 On June 17, 1972 five burglars were arrested at the Democratic national campaign offices located in the Watergate complex in Washington DC. Unknown at the time, but discovered later, was the fact that these five were working for the Nixon White House and that senior administration figures had ordered the burglary as an intelligence gathering exercise. On June 20, 1972, based on a tip from an anonymous source he named “Deep Throat”, Bob Woodward reported in the Washington Post that one of the burglars had E. Howard Hunt’s name and office number in his address book and possessed checks signed by him, and that Hunt, a former CIA officer, was connected to Charles Colson, a special assistant to President Nixon. On September 15, 1972 Hunt, together with G. Gordon Liddy, the financial director of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP or CREEP) and the five Watergate burglars were indicted by a federal grand jury. At some point during the autumn burglar James McCord, also a former CIA man, began negotiating a plea deal with federal prosecutors. Before September 15, Watergate was dismissed as “a second rate burglary” by the Nixon administration, and many in the political establishment accepted this. Only with the indictments of Hunt and Liddy did some political leaders in both parties begin to ask serious questions about what was happening and who was behind the burglary. “Deep Throat” was FBI official Mark Felt, who handled most of the investigative material related to the Watergate break-in and the subsequent cover-up at the White House. When long-time FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover died on May 2, 1972, Felt became assistant director of the FBI, the #2 spot in the Bureau hierarchy. Soon after President Nixon appointed an outsider (and Nixon partisan), L. Patrick Gray, as acting director of the FBI. Felt believed he was slighted by this move, and harboured a personal grudge against President Nixon for being passed over for the top job (which Felt believed he deserved due to his thirty years of service in the Bureau). As a political appointee, Gray was expected to do Nixon’s bidding. Felt believed this compromised the Bureau and as such was a betrayal of the FBI itself by the President. Felt began leaking details of the on-going investigation and cover-up to Woodward in order to get even with Nixon. The 1972 Democratic National Convention: The Tempest in the Tropics The 1972 Democratic National Convention was held from July 10 – 13 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida. The convention was unusual because of the number of activist and grass root members seated as delegates (and the number of traditional party leaders excluded) and because of the overall contentious nature of what was supposed to be an event to unify the Democratic Party behind its Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. This convention was the first to be held under the rules established by the McGovern-Fraser Commission which set guidelines ordering state parties to adopt explicit written Party rules governing delegate selection and implemented eight procedural rules and safeguards, including the prohibition of proxy voting, the end of the unit rule (winner-take-all primaries) and related practices such as instructing delegations, a new quorum requirement of not less than 40 percent at all party committee meetings, the removal of all mandatory assessments of delegates and the cap of mandatory participation fees at $10. Among the most significant of the changes were new quotas mandating that certain percentages of delegates be women or members of minority groups. As a result of the new rules, subjects that were previously deemed not fit for political debate, such as abortion and gay rights, now occupied the forefront of political discussion. The new rules for choosing and seating delegates created an unusual number of rules and credentials challenges, which became a battle ground between the McKeithen and McGovern campaigns. Many traditional Democratic groups such as organized labour and big city political machines, which backed McKeithen, had smaller representation at the convention than they were used to. Their supporters challenged the seating of relative political novices, causing open disputes with the supporters of McGovern, who during the presidential primaries had won the most (but not a majority of) delegates to the convention. The matter was complicated by a large number of grass root “novices” in both delegations, who were decidedly put off by the people who represented the other campaign. Many traditional Democratic leaders and politicians felt that McGovern’s candidacy was an outright risk to the Democratic party 's chances in the November election against Nixon, because they did not reflect the wishes of most Democratic voters, especially in the South and Mid-west. Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter helped to spearhead a "Stop McGovern" campaign which coalesced around the challenger with the next highest delegate count, John McKeithen (although Washington Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson was Carter’s first choice). The stop-McGovern group tried unsuccessfully to alter the delegate composition of the California delegation. California had a winner-take-all format for its 1972 primary, and McGovern’’s victory gave him all 273 delegates. The stop McGovern group tried to get California’s delegate composition altered so that it would reflect a distribution of delegates in proportion to each candidate’s popular vote. The McGovern campaign protested that this was an attempt to change the rules after the election, and as such it was not only unfair but also illegal. McGovern won on this point. At the start of the convention the McGovern campaign tired to get Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and the delegates chosen by him, thrown out of the Democratic convention. McGovern wanted to seat a delegation lead by civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. The McKeithen campaign tired to get Daley’s delegation seated. The resulting fight ended in a draw, and a mixed delegation made up of members from both camps was eventually approved, which lead directly to a divided Illinois delegation with the two camps suspicious of one another. The first presidential ballot brought the division clearly into focus. The First Ballot George McGovern 1139 (37.8%) John McKeithen 1074 (35.6%) Henry M. Jackson 311 (10.3%) George Walace 260 (8.6%) Shirley Chisholm 78 (2.6%) Hubert Humphrey 49 (1.6%) Wilbur Mills 34 (1.1%) Edmind Muskie 24 (0.8%) Others 45 (1.4%) TOTAL 3014 needed to win 1508 A scramble now ensued between the McKeithen and McGovern forces in an effort to woo individual and blocks of delegates to their side. On the second ballot Mayor Daley brought his supporters to McKeithen’s aid. The Second Ballot John McKeithen 1424 (47.2%) George McGovern 1404 (46.6%) George Wallace 43 (1.4%) Wilbur Mills 34 (1.1%) Shirley Chisholm 24 (0.8%) Edmind Muskie 24 (0.8%) Hubert Humphrey 14 (0.5%) Undecided 47 (1.5%) TOTAL 3014 The second, inconclusive ballot now set in a feeling of panic as some began to wonder if the Democrats could settle on a candidate. The pressure was now to those who were holding out to choose a side in the McKeithen-McGovern confrontation. Union leaders George Meany and Leonard Woodcock, who up to this point had quietly favoured McKeithen over McGovern (while not necessarily liking either), now let it be known that they were definitely behind McKeithen’s candidacy. Their support was buoyed in part by polls that showed 60% support for Nixon versus 35% for McGovern among rank-and-file Union members. That number changed to 49% McKeithen versus 45% for Nixon. Whether Meany and Woodcock, who each had close working relationship with the Nixon White House, intended (or believed) that McKeithen could beat Nixon is subject to much historical debate. What does seem clear is that they found in McKeithen’s candidacy a potential Democratic challenger to Nixon whom they could use as a bargaining wedge they could use in their negotiations with Nixon over whether they would support of him in the general election. They also felt the need to keep on McKeithen’s good side in the event he actually won. At this point McKeithen picked-up the support of moderate Texas Democrat Robert Strauss and the influential party elder statesman, former New York Governor Averell Harriman. Both helped to push through McKeithen’s nomination on the third ballot. House Speaker Carl Albert and House Majority leader Thomas P. O’Neill were also key in assisting McKeithen’s nomination. Both men were from the liberal end of the Democratic Party, and ideologically they were more in sympathy with McGovern. However, both (like a number of other Democratic leaders) recognized that McGovern would be unsuitable as a candidate. They turned to McKeithen as an alternative who had a better chance of winning. The Third Ballot John McKeithen 1554 (51.6%) George McGovern 1421 (47.2%) Shirley Chisholm 12 (0.4%) Undecided 27 (0.9%) TOTAL 3014 In the small hours of the morning the delegates chose John McKeithen as the Democratic nominee. McGovern supporters and a number of liberals staged a noisy walkout in protest. McKeithen then chose Indiana Senator Birch Bayh as his running mate. Bayh, originally a Democratic candidate himself, had dropped out of the campaign in late 1971 due to his wife’s cancer diagnosis. He was talked into joining the ticket in order to provide ideological and regional balance. Bayh was reluctant, but agreed to allow his name to be entered for the second spot. The Vice Presidential Ballot Birch Bayh 1622 (51.2%) George McGovern 785 (26.0%) Hubert Humphrey 389 (12.9%) Others 128 (4.2%) Non voting 90 (3.0%) TOTAL 3014 Bayh’s endorsement by the convention was lukewarm at best. The convention featured further protests and tumult; both nominees were booed from the convention floor by McGovern delegates during their acceptance speeches. During his speech McKeithen made a hand gesture in the direction of one group of hecklers which some interpreted as the raising of his middle finger, although McKeithen and those nearest to him denied that was what he actually did. In addition to the McKeithen-McGovern contest, the convention also featured a record number of showdowns and floor fights over the contents of the 1972 Democratic platform. Many McGovern supporters and other liberals left the 1972 convention disgusted with the end result, which they considered a “watered down Republican platform.” The Democrats left their convention deeply divided, which did not bode well for their chances in the General Election. Ominously, there was no post-convention bounce in the polls for the Democratic ticket. Polls showed President Nixon with an average lead of 15%, and this was before the Republican National Convention in August. Gary Hart, McGovern’s campaign manager summed-up the feeling of many Democrats when he wrote “I just couldn’t understand how this guy nobody had heard of, from a Southern state, with no pervious national experience could have won this. Yet, here he was.” Watergate: Deepening Throats Once it became clear that McKeithen and not McGovern would be the Democratic nominee, Felt began leaking material to the Democratic campaign. He later admitted that this is something he never would have done if McGovern had been the Democratic nominee, but he thought McKeithen was a candidate who could replace Richard Nixon as President (or at least make him uneasy during the election), and as such he wanted to assist McKeithen in his challenge to Nixon. Another source (for the Democrats) first appeared soon after the convention. This was the figure dubbed “Source 2” in the historical literature (or “Sore Throat” as some researchers call him) and he provided the Democrats with a great deal of useful detail about both Watergate and Richard Nixon in general. Unlike Felt, who eventually came forward before his death, “Source 2” has never been identified, in part because he dealt with operatives associated with the McKeithen campaign and not journalists. There has been much speculation over his identity: Alexander Haig (who was Henry Kissinger’s deputy on the National Security Council staff at the time) was a suspect – he was also a top suspect as “Deep Throat” before Felt came forward. L. Patrick Gray, the acting head of the FBI, was another, as was Kissinger himself. However, many speculations about “Source 2’s” identity center on CIA Director Richard Helms. Helms had been asked by the White House to use the CIA’s influence to block Watergate investigations under the blanket of “national security.” Helms refused to risk his position or that of the CIA by becoming involved in covering up what he characterized as “an amateurish mess.” When he made that clear, the Nixon administration then tried to blackmail him over undisclosed secrets involving the ill-fated 1961 attempt to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Helms, who did have many secrets to hide from that era, nonetheless became personally outraged at the blackmail attempt. He flatly refused to go along with any White House efforts to deflect Watergate investigations from that point forward, and for that he earned the President’s anger. But did he, or someone acting on his behalf (considered the more likely scenario), actively try to undermine Nixon’s re-election effort as a result of personal rancour? (Thus the name “Sore Throat” when applied to Helms). Certainly a candidate like McKeithen would have been preferable to the CIA Director than a perceived radical like McGovern, who couldn’t be trusted with national secrets. To the day he died Helms denied doing any such thing. The CIA had been very active in Louisiana in the early to mid-sixties; New Orleans and the Gulf area had become home to a community of anti-Castro Cubans, and the World Trade Mart in New Orleans became involved in a number of CIA covert activities. In 1979 Richard Helms admitted in Congressional testimony that the Trade Mart’s Director, Clay Shaw, had been a CIA “contact” operating in Latin America during this period. As a Public Service Commissioner and later Governor of Louisiana John McKeithen may well have come into contact with this activity, and proved useful. It was more than likely that he had come across their radar well before 1972. Unlike Woodward’s source, “Source 2” did not even appear in any of the current news reports or the literature about the 1972 election and Watergate until well after the fact. McKeithen campaign aids first referred to him more than a decade later in their memoirs; and then they did so guardedly for legal reasons. Since those involved would not name him, and his activities were obscured by different leads as to his identity, who exactly it was has never come to light (at least until the last of those involved dies; then perhaps a posthumous revelation will be made). What remains is that “Source 2” proved to be a gold mine of intelligence for the McKeithen campaign; something which would prove to be a game changer in the election as “Source 2’s” information helped close the net of Watergate around the Nixon White House before election day in November 1972. The McGovern-McCloskey Peace Ticket Shortly after his defeat at July’s Democratic convention, Senator McGovern held a series of meetings with California Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey, who had challenged President Nixon in the Republican primaries, running on an anti-war message similar to McGovern’s. Although the two had a number of ideological differences, they were in agreement on the need to end the Vietnam War, and in their belief that neither the Democratic nor Republican Parties had adopted policies toward that end. Out of the Georgetown Sessions (named for the district of Washington DC where the majority of the organizational meetings took place) during the summer of 1972, McGovern and McCloskey, in conjunction with a number of anti-war, pro-civil rights and anti-poverty activists who were disaffected with the McKeithen nomination agreed to form a third party, or “Peace Party” as an anti-war, anti-poverty ticket. McGovern and McCloskey presented their ticket as being a bi-partisan challenge to the inaction by the leadership of both political parties in Washington over the Vietnam War and poverty, but from the outset many of McCloskey’s supporters felt that their candidate was overshadowed by the larger group of disaffected Democrats and left-wing social activists who came with McGovern. The anti-war ticket managed to make it on to the ballot in forty-one states, and was effective at organizing the student and urban protest vote in many large cities across the country.