McCarthy/Bond in '68

Although he never had any political ambitions, Ted Warshafsky was always interested in politics. Thus, in 1968, he stepped away from his law practice to serve as the field finance director for Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaign, and as vice-chairman of McCarthy's delegation to the ill-fated Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Warshafsky was drawn to McCarthy's support of civil rights, his advocacy for the working class and, most importantly, his position against the war in Vietnam. "I was very impressed with him," Warshafsky says. "There was a group of us who wanted to get a candidate to run against Johnson on the war issue."

In Chicago, Warshafsky found himself immersed in the chaos, tension, and mistrust among politicians and protesters. Phone lines to many delegations were mysteriously cut off and the hotel rooms of several McCarthy staff members and supporters were raided. "The authorities burst in and looked around the rooms. They didn't hit or hurt anyone. They just pushed people aside," he says. "They just went through the place, though I don't know what they were looking for."

Outside the convention hall, Warshafsky witnessed the violence on the streets and in Grant Park as police clashed with protesters. "The majority of the kids in Grant Park were just kids," he says. "Only a small minority were trashing things."

Inside the convention hall, meanwhile, Warshafsky made history. The delegation wanted to nominate a young civil rights activist named Julian Bond for vice president, making Bond the first black man nominated for the position. "We had maybe five or six minutes to prepare something," Warshafsky says. "We were all hoarse from shouting." Then the group chose Warshafsky to make the nomination speech.

"It was extemporaneous. I had no notes. I had no time to discuss it with anyone," Warshafsky recalls. "It was just off the top of my head. The reason I was picked was not because of my political influence. It was because someone said, ‘We got a trial lawyer here.'"

At 28, Bond was too young to be vice president, so his nomination was not officially recognized. Still, the McCarthy delegation made an important symbolic gesture that was seen on national television and discussed by Walter Cronkite.

Warshafsky considered himself a close friend of McCarthy, who died in 2005, though they had their differences. "He could be arrogant in a condescending way and he could do it quietly. He could hold onto a dislike. He hated the Kennedys," Warshafsky recalls. "If you attacked his personal integrity, you lost him as a friend. If you disagreed vehemently with his well-held, articulated views, you didn't." Warshafsky did the latter; they remained friends.

Even if McCarthy had made it to the White House, Warshafsky says he did not want a Cabinet position or a job in the administration. Instead, he says he would have asked for an ambassador post at some far-off island nation "where there's great weather, fine fishing and surfing."