On 30 April 1968 Nelson Rockefeller, the moderate Republican governor of New York, stepped before a podium in the state capitol of Albany and announced that he was throwing his hat in the ring for the Republican presidential nomination. The announcement, however, came a mere six weeks after Rockefeller had announced in midtown Manhattan, after a “realistic appraisal” of his standing within the Republican Party, that he would not be running for president in 1968.
By late March 1968, President Lyndon Johnson’s presidency lay in tatters. Anger over the war in Vietnam and Johnson’s growing credibility gap had created a full-scale insurgency at home, within the Democratic Party. Things soon went from bad to worse.
Eugene McCarthy made first stop in New Hampshire on January 25, 1968, only six weeks before the state’s March 12 primary. When he did arrive, his presence sparked little excitement. He cancelled dawn appearances at factory gates to meet voters because, as he told staffers, he wasn’t really a “morning person.” A photographer hired to take pictures of the candidate quit after five days because the only people in the shots were out-of-state volunteers.