Nixon’s dirty tricks and Muskie’s tears of anger during the election of 1972.

Did Crying Cost This Man the Presidency?

Did Crying Cost This Man the Presidency?

Bite-sized stories from presidential campaign history.
March 18 2015 10:39 AM

Vote for Muskie, or He’ll Cry

Slate’s new podcast about campaign history revisits the 1972 election, when Sen. Edmund Muskie washed away his presidential ambitions with tears of anger.

Sen. Edmund Muskie.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Listen to Episode 4 of Whistlestop:

Whistlestop is Slate’s new bite-sized podcast about presidential campaign history. It’s hosted by our chief political correspondent and Political Gabfest panelist John Dickerson, and each weekly installment will revisit a memorable (or even a forgotten) moment from America’s quadrennial carnival.


This week’s episode recalls one of the infamous “dirty tricks” perpetrated by Richard Nixon’s staff during his bid for re-election in 1972. The Republican incumbent attempted to undermine the Democratic primary campaign of Sen. Edmund Muskie with a forged letter and an accusation of an ethnic slur.

This week’s show is sponsored by the Great Courses and its series “Turning Points in American History.” Get it at 80 percent off the original price by visiting Whistlestop’s page at

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John Dickerson is a co-anchor of CBS This Morning, co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest, host of the Whistlestop podcast, and author of Whistlestop and On Her Trail.