On this day in 1972, Senator George McGovern, the Democratic nominee for the presidency, booted his running mate, Senator Thomas Eagleton, off the ticket.

Just a week earlier, Eagleton had traveled to the Black Hills in South Dakota, where McGovern was on vacation with his family. At a joint news conference, Eagleton had revealed that he had undergone extensive psychiatric treatment in the 1960s, including electroshock therapy. Both McGovern and Eagleton had insisted that, despite the disclosure, they would soldier on together to victory. But as the week had worn on, McGovern had begun facing enormous pressure from within the party to sever ties with Eagleton. And on this day in 1972, he explained to the press that:

In the joint decision we have reached tonight, health was not a factor. But the public debate over Senator Eagleton’s past medical history continues to divert attention from the great national issues that need to be discussed…

Continued debate between those who oppose his candidacy and those who favor it will serve to further divide the party and nation. Therefore, we have jointly agreed that the best course is for Senator Eagleton to step aside.

Evan Bayh would be a really lousy choice for a running mate. And to be honest, I’m not all that high on Tim Kaine, either. Health was not a factor in my decision.