Pierre Salinger, author and former press secretary to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, spoke at Vassar on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Senator George McGovern. Predicting a McGovern victory stemming from "effort and hard work" that had enrolled a record eight million new voters, Salinger attacked President Richard M. Nixon for failures to bring the war in Vietnam to an end, to curb inflation and to stem the growth of unemployment. And, he said, "Nixon must take full responsibility" for the Watergate scandal, which he called "a conspiracy by one political party to destroy another."

In the election on November 7, 1972, President Nixon carried 49 of the 50 states, with a total of votes in the Electoral College of 520 to Senator McGovern's 17 and 60.7% of the popular vote. Plagued by scandal, President Nixon resigned the presidency on August 8, 1974.