LBJ'S NEW HAMPSHIRE SHOWING SPELLS TROUBLE
Concord, New Hampshire (JFK+50) Forty-eight years ago today, March 12, 1968, Senator Eugene McCarthy* of Minnesota shocked President Lyndon B. Johnson, and the Nation, by his close second place finish in the Democratic Primary here in New Hampshire.
While the President won the primary with 48% of the vote, Senator McCarthy's vote came in only 6 percentage points behind. This close election result for an incumbent POTUS indicated displeasure within the party with LBJ's policies in the war in Vietnam.
The Minnesota senator tapped into large numbers of American youth who opposed the war. Many of the Senator's male volunteers wore long hair and sported beards, but had been encouraged to "GET CLEAN FOR GENE!"
Another shocking event was to come on the last day of the month as President Johnson announced that he "would not run for another term as....president." After LBJ dropped out, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York announced his candidacy.
Senator Kennedy defeated Senator McCarthy in the California Democratic Primary on June 4, 1968 and was hopeful for winning the nomination at the Chicago convention. That, of course, never happened because RFK was shot following his victory speech in Los Angeles.
*Eugene Joseph McCarthy (1916-2005) was born in Watkins, MN & graduated from St. John's University in 1935. He earned his Master's degree in 1939. EJM worked as a civilian assistant in military intelligence during WWII.
McCarthy served in the US House of Representatives 1949-1959 & the US Senate 1959-1971. Upset with the presidency of Jimmy Carter, EJM endorsed Ronald Reagan in 1980. He died of complications of Parkinson's disease.