Abraham Ribicoff

Speech Nominating George McGovern for the U.S. Presidency

delivered 28 August 1968, Democratic National Convention, Chicago, Illinois


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio (2)]

Ribicoff: George McGovern is a man full of goodness. He is a man without guile. He is a whole man. And because he is a whole man, he can bring a sense of wholeness to a divided nation that so desperately needs its parts put together.

George McGovern is a man who has peace in his soul. And because George McGovern has peace in his soul, he can translate that peace to our cities, our states, the nation, and this world.

The basic problem that we face here tonight is an indivisible peace -- peace abroad and peace at home -- and here was a man, long before it was a cause that was popular to espouse, George McGovern in 1963 called attention to the great problems of Vietnam, and its significance and meaning to the United States of America -- at home, abroad -- in its relationship with all the people of the entire world.

George McGovern understood from the very depths of his being that napalm, and gas, and 500,000 Americans in the swamps of Vietnam was not the answer to the people of Vietnam or the people of the United States.

George McGovern, ladies and gentlemen, had another solution for Vietnam. I served with him in the Kennedy Administration. And there, George was in charge for President Kennedy of the Food for Peace program. And George's concept for underdeveloped countries is food; his concept is shelter, education, health, opportunity, and to bring a sense of brotherhood to submerged billions of people, wherever they may be.

I'll tell you why I'm for George McGovern. George McGovern is one of the few men in public life today any place in the world who has passion in his heart and a commitment to the very depths of his soul. And what this nation lacks, lady [sic] and gentlemen, is a sense of commitment and a sense of passion for all the people of this entire nation and the entire world.

George McGovern is not satisfied that 10 million Americans go to bed hungry every night. George McGovern is not satisfied that four and a half million Americans -- families -- live in rat infested and roach encrusted houses. George McGovern is not satisfied that in this nation of ours -- in this great nation of ours -- our infant mortality is so high that we rank 21st in all the nations of the world.

George McGovern brings out of the prairies of South Dakota a new wind, a wind that will be able to lift the smog of uncertainty from throughout our great land of ours. We need unity; and we can only have unity with a new face and new ideas and new ideals. The youth of America rallied to the standards of men like George McGovern like they did to the standards of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

And with George McGovern as President of the United States we wouldn't have to have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago! With George McGovern we wouldn't have a National Guard. You bet. You bet.

[Prolonged cheers and boos from various quarters of the audience, including shouts of "You faker...." from Mayor Richard Daley, among others around him]1

Ribicoff: How hard it is --

How hard it is -- How hard it is to accept the truth.

How hard it is to accept the truth, when we know the problems facing our nation. 350 years ago, some 350 years ago, a handful of Englishmen came to the rock-bound New England coast, and millions more followed them. And they crossed the Connecticut River, and they crossed the Hudson River, and they crossed the Ohio River, and they crossed the Mississippi and the Missouri and the Rocky Mountains, and they went to the Pacific Coast. And at no time, as they built a nation of 200 million people, did they think they had crossed the River Jordan into the Promised Land. And we built that kind of a nation; and this nation now is beset at [sic] problems and there are those, because of our affluence, who think we have crossed the River Jordan and the Promised Land.

But George McGovern is the kind of a man that knows there are obligations and duties that come, and there are burdens that must be carried on the shoulders of all mankind.

And George McGovern in his peaceful soul and his wholeness as a man -- George McGovern is a candidate that I am proud of. And I come here, lonely from my own state, without support in my own state, to espouse the cause of one of the greatest of all Americans, and it is a great honor to nominate for the presidency of the United States: George McGovern!   

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

1Accounts vary as to what Daley actually shouted to Ribicoff. In reviewing the video footage, it appears that "You're a faker...Go home...." seems to capture what Daley's mouth and lip movements appear to convey.

Text Note: Transcribed from audio of entire address

Page Updated: 1/9/22

U.S. Copyright Status: Text and Audio = Uncertain. Images (Screenshots) = Fair Use.






















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