Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The man who would have stopped Watergate

John Volpe and Richard Nixon are shown. | AP Photos
John Volpe as VP would have been able to head off Watergate, the author says. | AP Photos
On Aug. 8, 1968, Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon made a fateful decision at the Miami convention. In the last hour before he was to announce his choice of a running mate, he switched Secret Service protection from John Volpe of Massachusetts to Maryland’s Spiro Agnew — and lost the partner who could have prevented the Watergate scandal that destroyed his presidency.
After an all-night series of meetings with close political aides and senior GOP leaders, Nixon had narrowed his choice to Volpe and Agnew. Both Northeastern governors met Nixon’s VP criteria: (1) relatively unknown nationally, neither would divert the focus from the top of the ticket, (2) as political moderates, they would not alienate either major wing of the party, (3) they would appeal to important voting blocs and (4) both were proven vigorous campaigners.

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