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Michael Dukakis's Mental Health – 1988

Feeding Frenzy Rantings of Lyndon LaRouche followers about Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis's supposed visits to a psychiatrist became an especially sordid chapter of the 1988 presidential campaign.

Supporters of extremist candidate LaRouche circulated leaflets with unsubstantiated claims about Dukakis's mental health at the Democratic National Convention, where Dukakis won the presidential nomination. Within weeks the allegations found their way into print, assisted by Dukakis's refusal to release his full medical records as well as rampant speculation on the subject in a few media outlets (especially the Washington Times).

A "joking" reference to the matter by President Reagan triggered full-blown press disclosure of the rumor. The president quickly apologized for his crude remark ("I'm not going to pick on an invalid"), and the incident faded with no evidence at all emerging to confirm the baseless gossip.


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© Copyright 1998 Larry J. Sabato

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