July 25, 1972 – Only days after the Democratic Convention celebration in Atlanta, questions rose to the surface about George McGovern’s choice as running mate, Thomas Eagleton. Reports surfaced that Eagleton had been hospitalized three times for what was termed “nervous exhaustion and fatigue “, between the years 1960 and 1966. In some of his hospital visits, Eagleton was treated by a Psychiatrist and given electro-shock treatments. At a press conference, Eagleton said he was in fine health and his hospital visits had nothing to do with what he called “false charges of an alcohol problem” early in his career. Eagleton and McGovern gave a joint press conference at McGovern’s Vacation Headquarters in South Dakota, where he had flown in the night before and held an emergency strategy session with McGovern before addressing the issues to the press. After the press conference, Sen. McGovern flew to Los Angeles where he was to begin a five-day campaign swing through the West Coast. He was met by reporters at the airport, where he reiterated that he was not going to replace Eagleton on the ticket. Eagleton was again asked questions about the hospitalizations, despite his adamant appeals to drop the issue. It would be an item guaranteed not to go away.
In other news – The House Foreign Affairs Committee reversed its previous position on “end the war” language. It approved a directive for withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Indo-China by October 1, 1972, in return for release of American prisoners and a ceasefire limited to safe U.S. withdrawal. The directive was written into a Foreign Aid bill.
And the White House charged Hanoi with fabricating stories of U.S. airstrikes on dikes in North Vietnam, creating widespread flooding and potential drowning of thousands of civilians. Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler repeated that the dikes were not military targets and the Hanoi story was a fabrication. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim said he had received information that confirmed the dikes were being bombed.
And that’s a small slice of what went on, this July 25th, 1972 as reported by the audio version of NBC Nightly News.