In 1972, on this day Walter Cronkite departed CBS News with the final words "Ladies and gentlemen, for the last ten years, I've had the honor of giving you the day's news and events, some of the world's greatest triumphs and worst tragedies. I have always tried to present the news in a way that you - the American people - can relate to. But now I have been asked to serve in a far more important role. I have been asked by Senator George McGovern to step in as his Vice-Presidential candidate for the upcoming election, and I have decided to accept. Although I may seem to be an unusual choice, I will do my utmost for the ticket. This will be my last broadcast as CBS Evening News anchor. Again, it has been an honor. Thank you, and good night".
Balanced Ticket by Zach TimmonsIn what has come to be regarded as one of the biggest political bombshells in US history, one week prior to the newscast, McGovern, tanking in the polls due to the Eagleton fiasco, had (almost as a joke) put forward the idea of asking Cronkite, the "most trusted man in America", to be his VP candidate. Cronkite heard about it through various contacts and called McGovern to see if he was serious; when McGovern responded that he was, Cronkite allegedly said, "When do I report?".
"The most trusted man in America". Rumors had been swirling around Washington and the Democratic and GOP election headquarters; within minutes of Cronkite's announcement, the White House issues a press release denouncing the move as a "gimmick" and ridiculing Cronkite's total lack of political experience. Privately, though, Nixon is very worried; his entire strategy against McGovern had been to hammer him as a radical left-winger. The addition of the highly-respected establishment figure Cronkite to the Democratic ticket makes this a very dicey plan.