Alternate History

Vice President Cronkite

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The Vice President Cronkite timeline follows an alternative history where 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee, South Dakota Senator George McGovern, choosing CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite as his running mate.

In OTL, after McGovern won the nomination in 1972, he had a Vice Presidential problem. He had asked numerous mainstream Democratic politicians, including Ted Kennedy, Abe Ribicoff, Edmund Muskie and Gaylord Nelson, and they all turned him down. McGovern eventually settled for Missouri Sen. Tom Eagleton, who, unbeknownst to McGovern, had a series of mental health problems including depression. Eagleton was added to the ticket, but was eventually thrown off because of the issues being made public. It was also rumored that Eagleton had provided the "anonymous Democratic source" in the infamous "Amnesty, abortion and acid" phrase. When journalist Robert Novak asked Democrats around the country what McGovern stood for, an unnamed Democratic senator (35 years later confirmed to be Eagleton) said that "All McGovern stands for is amnesty, abortion and acid". The phrase became a catchphrase for Nixon supporters. McGovern later said that if he knew that Eagleton had said that, he wouldn't have added him to the ticket.

After the "Eagleton Debacle", McGovern chose Sargent Shriver, the former Ambassador to France, but McGovern's image was damaged too much, and Richard Nixon won in a landslide.

McGovern later noted that during his VP selection process, a staffer had suggested McGovern offer CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite, who had recently been voted the "most admired man in America". McGovern shrugged it off, thinking Cronkite would never want to join the ticket. However, McGovern found out years later that if Cronkite had been offered the position as Vice President, he would've accepted. McGovern later described it as "one of the things I most regret about '72."

BUT WHAT IF CRONKITE HAD ACCEPTED? How would the race have turned out? This ATL hopes to tackle that.

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