Sen. Humphrey’s space shuttle campaign stop
June 5, 1972: Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey inspects a mockup of the engine section of a space shuttle during a visit to the North American Rockwell plant in Downey. Humphrey, running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, reminded workers that he was protecting their jobs by backing the space shuttle and said Sen. George S. McGovern was against the shuttle.
Times political writer Carl Greenberg reported in a June 6, 1972, article:
Hubert H. Humphrey made a last-hour whirlwind trip through California’s three major population centers Monday during which he:
–Accused Sen. George S. McGovern of not knowing “anything” about the space shuttle program.
–Chided the South Dakotan for avoiding a fourth, televised debate between the two men.
Humphrey began his final day of campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in California at the North American Rockwell space division plant in Downey.
There he accepted a model of the space shuttle from Mrs. Bobbie Johnson, an engineer, then told workers and plant executives:
“The man I run against voted to take away your jobs–he voted against it (the space shuttle)–because he doesn’t know anything about it.”
At another point on his tour of North American, the Minnesotan said, “I suggest it might be a good idea for Sen. McGovern to come here and see what’s going on.”
Sen. Humphrey lost the nomination to Sen. George McGovern, who in turn lost the 1972 election to President Richard Nixon.
In 1972, North American Rockwell built a full-scale mock-up of the shuttle. It’s not known if this engine section in the photo above was part of the final mockup.
Times writer W.J. Hennigan reports in this June 15, 2012, story that the full-scale mockup will again be set up for public viewing. Accompanying Hennigan’s story is this photo gallery of the Downey space shuttle mockup.
The above photo by Times staff photographer John Malmin was published in the June 5, 1972, Times Late Final edition.
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