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Yesterday in La Crosse

Nixon’s party throws a party, 59 years ago

Brad Williams



In the summer of 1960, Republicans nominated Richard Nixon for president at the party convention in Chicago. It was just two weeks after Democrats met in Los Angeles to choose a ticket of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Republican Dwight Eisenhower had to retire after two terms, under the new 22nd Amendment. Nixon had a long list of potential running mates to select from, including his 1970’s vice president Gerald Ford, and Bush family patriarch Prescott Bush. He eventually chose former Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.

An editorial in the La Crosse State college paper, the Racquet, had declared that Nixon was ‘no great talent,’ but he would probably win. The paper joked that if Catholic Kennedy won, then Pope John the 23rd would become secretary of state.

The Summer Olympics happened in Rome during August and September. They were the first Summer Games shown on TV in the U.S. by CBS. And American gold medal winners included runner Wilma Rudolph and boxer Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali…in 1960, yesterday in La Crosse.