Politics

Historic presidential campaign scandals

Published 6:03 AM ET, Wed April 6, 2016
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During the 1992 campaign, an Arkansas state government worker named Gennifer Flowers told reporters she had a long-time affair with Democratic candidate Bill Clinton. Clinton aggressively denied Flowers' allegation and went on to defeat President George H.W. Bush in November. Click through the gallery for more campaign scandals throughout history: RENE MACURA/AFP/Getty Images
Some presidential candidates didn't survive their scandals. In 1987, the Miami Herald reported that White House hopeful Gary Hart, a former Democratic Colorado senator, was having an affair with a young model. Hart challenged the media to prove the allegations. Soon after, the National Enquirer obtained photographs of a model named Donna Rice sitting on Hart's lap on a yacht named Monkey Business. Once the pictures were published, Hart dropped out of the race. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Democratic presidential nominee Sen. George McGovern, right, chose Sen. Thomas Eagleton, left, as his running mate in 1972. But when it was revealed that Eagleton had been hospitalized for depression where he underwent electroshock therapy, the scandal was enough to force him off the ticket. He was replaced by a Kennedy in-law and former director of the Peace Corps, Sargent Shriver. McGovern lost in a landslide to Republican incumbent Richard Nixon.
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When Nixon was running as Dwight Eisenhower's Republican vice presidential nominee in 1952, a scandal over a dog nearly got him thrown off the ticket. Nixon was accused of accepting inappropriate campaign funds. A supporter also gave Nixon a pet cocker spaniel, which the family had named Checkers. Nixon went on TV and delivered an emotional speech defending himself. In a stroke of political wizardry, the speech included Checkers. "... the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it," he said. The speech worked. Eisenhower kept Nixon on the ticket, and they won election to the White House six weeks later. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
During the 1884 election, Democratic nominee Grover Cleveland was accused of fathering a child with an unmarried women. Cleveland's campaign disputed that he was the father, but they did admit that Cleveland knew the mother, according to Smithsonian.com. Voters didn't seem to mind too much. Despite his scandal, Cleveland won his race for the White House. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The 1872 campaign of President Ulysses Grant was muddied by a massive bribery scandal involving the Union Pacific Railroad and a construction company called Crédit Mobilier of America. The scandal implicated Grant's vice presidential nominee, Henry Wilson. Nonetheless, both men easily skated into office. MPI/Getty Images
Long before he ran for President, Andrew Jackson married his wife, Rachel, in 1791. Later they discovered that her previous husband had not gotten a proper divorce. After they fixed it, the Jacksons quietly remarried in 1794. During the 1828 election campaign, Jackson's opponents spread rumors that he'd slept with Rachel while she was married to another man. Although words such as "adultery" and "bigamy" were thrown around like bombs, Jackson still managed to win the election. Kean Collection/Getty Images/MPI/Getty Images)