All eyes that were open and awake, that is – the stirring acceptance speech which McGovern gave came at 3 in the morning Miami time – midnight on the West Coast and the capper to an exhausting day, was heard by relatively few people. Which was a shame as the McGovern promise of ending the Vietnam War within 90 days of his inaugural and bringing home all troops and POW’s shortly after would have been greeted with much enthusiasm.
But it wasn’t that kind of convention. It was, for all intents and purposes, different than most others, certainly different than the bloodbath which took place in Chicago in 1968. McGovern’s appeal was to the young voter, the ones who campaigned vigorously for George McGovern. And the convention was shaped in that demographic with numerous rule changes, including those that allowed all delegates time to speak, if they so wished. The result being an acceptance speech that didn’t finally happen until the wee hours of the morning.
Many observers feared it was a suicidal move on the part of the Democrats. Many also wondered how strong the youth vote was actually going to be, come November. No one could forsee the dropping out of Thomas Eagleton over claims of Clinical Depression, or the events taking place at the Watergate DNC Headquarters in Washington. That was all in the future. For the moment, it was a feast of congratulation and hope.
There was other news that day, but it took a backseat to the events which took place in Miami on Friday, July 14, 1972, as reported by NBC Nightly News.