Former Missouri Sen. Eagleton Dies at 77

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Missouri's governor ordered flags to half-staff in honor of former Democratic Sen. Thomas Eagleton, who died Sunday at 77. Eagleton served as George McGovern's running mate in 1972, until it was discovered that he had been hospitalized for depression.


Senator Thomas Eagleton was well known for his stepping down as George McGovern's vice presidential running mate in 1972. The Missouri Democrat died yesterday at the age of 77. Eagleton was replaced on the Democratic ticket after it was revealed that he had been treated for depression.

Mr. THOMAS EAGLETON (Former Senator, Democrat, Missouri): On three occasions in my life, I have voluntarily gone into hospitals as result of nervous exhaustion and fatigue. As a younger man, I must say that I drove myself too far, and I pushed myself terribly, terribly hard - long hours, day and night.

MONTAGNE: On July 31, 1972, just 18 days after he was nominated, Eagleton made this announcement.

Mr. EAGLETON: I will not divide the Democratic Party, which already has too many divisions. Therefore, tomorrow morning, I will write to the chairman of the Democratic Party, withdrawing my candidacy.

MONTAGNE: Tom Eagleton, who died yesterday, didn't consider his withdrawal a defeat. He said being vice president ain't all that much. My ambition since my senior year in high school was to be a senator.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from