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Johnson had been stalled by the anti-Vietnam War candidacy of Senator Eugene Mc Carthy of Minnesota, who along with Senator Robert F.Kennedy of New York, became the main opponents for Humphrey.Prior to Humphrey's run, President Lyndon Johnson began a campaign for re-election, entering his name in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary for March 1968.Late in 1967, building upon anti-war sentiment, Senator Eugene Mc Carthy of Minnesota entered the race with heavy criticism of the President's Vietnam War policies.In 1960, he mounted a full-scale run, winning primaries in South Dakota and Washington D.C., but ultimately lost the Democratic nomination to future President John F. In 1964, Humphrey was tapped as the running mate of President Lyndon Johnson, who went on to win in a landslide victory over Republican Barry Goldwater.He delayed meetings with Indiana Governor Roger Branigin to arrange a favorite son "stand in" for the campaign, and neglected to hire the campaign's 1964 campaign manager Larry O'Brien, despite Humphrey's insistence.But Humphrey was able to convince Johnson to speak to the influential National Farmers Union in Minneapolis, ahead of the Wisconsin Primary.
Humphrey first entered presidential politics in 1952 running as a favorite son candidate in Minnesota.which led many Americans to believe that the North Vietnamese were stronger than had been reported, and that the war was not nearing an end.From this point, most Americans either believed that the war should be escalated to completely destroy the enemy or that all American troops should be withdrawn from Vietnam to prevent the use of any more resources for the "hopeless task".The Johnson campaign tried many tactics to negate the war's detractors before the New Hampshire primary, including the circulation of the slogan, "the communists in Vietnam are watching...don't vote for fuzzy thinking and surrender".Humphrey tried to encourage Johnson to be more involved in the campaign, but the President seemed uninterested.
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The contest between the men featured a battle for control of the Democratic Party, and cast Humphrey's "old politics", against the "new politics" of Mc Carthy and Kennedy.