Awkwardness between Carter and Kennedy

In 1980, there was a fight between Jimmy Carter, the president fighting hard for re-election; and Ted Kennedy, who wanted the job. The people for Ted Kennedy tried to get a resolution passed to liberate all the delegates to enable them to vote their own way again.

"The Kennedys fought a hard but losing fight all along the way," explains NBC's Tom Brokaw, who covered the conventions that year.

Though President Carter claimed the nomination, Ted Kennedy gave the speech of his life and stole the show. "He gave one of the most electrifying speeches in modern convention history," says Brokaw. "The din afterwards… it was so emotional, you couldn’t hear yourself.  People were cheering and crying and weeping…  they had caught the magic of the Kennedy wave.”

In his speech, Carter praised Kennedy for over a minute, but the pair wasn’t quite ready to join forces afterwards. "On the platform, there was this weird, sort of negative pirouette, or mating-dance-in-reverse when Ted Kennedy was trying to avoid the grasp of Carter for the victory salute," remembers Matthews.

In an awkward political moment, Kennedy took to the stage, offered Carter three firm handshakes, and stepped aside. 

“I’m not an expert on body language, but that looked pretty frigid," agrees Brokaw. "I actually talked to all the parties, and the Carters were really hurt by that. The Carters had felt like they had done the right thing, and that they had been rejected by the senator.”