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The Eagleton affair: When a VP selection went terribly wrong

 

Before there was the controversial Sarah Palin pick in 2008, there was Thomas Eagleton, George McGovern’s ill-fated selection in 1972. The Eagleton affair, in fact, ultimately changed how vice-presidential running mates are now made.

With Mitt Romney set to pick his running mate soon, it's important to consider the lessons of 1972, the year that ultimately changed how Vice Presidential Candidates are selected.

With political watchers on veepstakes alert for Mitt Romney’s eventual VP pick, below a mini-documentary on the Eagleton affair.

A little backstory: When McGovern arrived at the Democratic convention in Miami during the summer of '72, his campaign priority was to fend off rival Hubert Humphrey's last-ditch attempt to win the nomination through an obscure rule change. Picking a running mate was relegated to the backburner. After officially gaining the nod, McGovern was left with only an hour and a half to choose a No. 2 -- and he hastily settled on Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-MO), a man with whom McGovern had only spoken twice.

"Vetting" the candidate was an afterthought, a decision that came to exemplify VP selection gone bad.