What convinced Edmund Muskie to run for president?
August 5, 2016 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Did Edmund Muskie change his mind about running for president while in an elevator with his wife? An anecdote in a 1970's political bio suggested that he ran because he didn't want to spend time more with family. Anyone know which book it was and what the story details were?
posted by paphun123 to Law & Government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have my copy anymore and it's not proving easy to google, but I think there might be something about this in Hunter S Thimpson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 72. It rings a faint bell.
posted by maggiepolitt at 5:44 PM on August 5, 2016

Best answer: Well, there's a good anecdote in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail about the end of his campaign:

"Midway in the final week of the campaign even Muskie himself began dropping hints that he knew he was doomed. At one point, during a whistlestop tour of small towns in the Fox River Valley near Green Bay, he fell into a public funk and began muttering about 'needing a miracle' . . . and then, when the sense of depression began spreading like a piss-puddle on concrete, he invited the campaign-press regulars to help him celebrate his fifty-eighth birthday at a small hotel on a snowy night in Green Bay. But the party turned sour when his wife mashed a piece of the birthday cake in the face of Newsweek reporter Dick Stout, saying, 'One good turn deserves another, eh, Dick?'”

Elsewhere Thompson alleges that Muskie was on (a) speed and (b) a hallucinogen called ibogaine, and that these had their role to play in the dissolution of his campaign.

Any chance this is what you were looking for?
posted by ostro at 7:13 PM on August 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the interesting anecdote, ostro, but I thought there was a story about Muskie, his wife and some others riding an elevator, possibly around the time of the Manchester Guardian mess, when his wife tried to comfort him by suggesting that he could drop out of the race and spend all his time at home with her. The storyteller implied that Muskie's decision to carry on campaigning was propelled by wanting to avoid more time at home. Since no one here has a similar recollection, I'll have to consider I've conflated some distant unrelated memories into one incorrect one. Time to get off the ibogaine.
posted by paphun123 at 6:18 PM on August 6, 2016

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