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Yesterday in La Crosse

Four years later, he’d be a presidential nominee, but in 1968, it was “George who?”

Brad Williams



George McGovern was the Democratic nominee to face Richard Nixon in the 1972 election…but four years earlier, in 1968, McGovern was a little-known Senator from South Dakota who came to La Crosse State
for a speech about foreign policy. McGovern was billed as a “liberal critic” of President Johnson’s policies. The Senator recently had visited Oktoberfest. At the ’68 convention in Chicago, McGovern was proposed as an alternative to Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy, and finished a distant third in the balloting.

A dorm at the college caught fire in ’68. Flames were seen in a 4th floor window of Drake, by students living in neighboring Wentz Hall. It started in a wastebasket and spread to the window, but it was doused quickly.

“Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” was the hottest show on TV in 1968, making stars out of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin. Network shows which ended in 1968 included “The Monkees,” “Batman,” and “Lost in Space,” but there were ads for new fall series called “Land of the Giants,” “The Mod Squad,” “Adam-12,” and “Hawaii Five-O,” 51 years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.

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