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This Day in Georgia History

July 20, 1988

Dukakis Nominated in Atlanta

To view an image from the 1988 Democratic convention, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

At the Democratic National Convention meeting at the Omni in Atlanta, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton nominated Massachusetts governor Micahel Dukakis as the Democratic candidate for president. Clinton’s rambling 32-minute nomination speech, the longest in modern history, was cheered wildly when he finally said, “And in conclusion, … ” - a response that led him later to joke, “It wasn’t my finest hour. It wasn’t even my finest hour and a half.” Even though Dukakis had 70 percent of the convention delegates, he had agreed earlier to allow Jesse Jackson’s name also to be placed in nomination for president, thus avoiding a floor revolt by Jackson’s supporters. Georgia’s delegation was headed by then-governor Joe Frank Harris and included former president Jimmy Carter and U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. Interestingly, though he cast the delegation’s votes for Dukakis, Harris considered Dukakis too liberal and did not publicly support him in the subsequent presidential campaign. Though he would later lose to George W.H. Bush in November, Dukakis easily won the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination on the first ballot with 2,876 votes to Jackson’s 1,219.