Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Don Nicoll

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 366


George John Mitchell, Jr. was born in Waterville, Maine on August 20, 1933 to George J., Sr. and Mary Saad Mitchell. His mother was a factory worker, and his father a laborer. He attended the Waterville public schools, graduating from Waterville High School at the age of sixteen. He attended Bowdoin College, graduating in 1954 with a degree in European History. He then served as an officer in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps until 1956. In 1960 he received a law degree from Georgetown University, and worked for two years in the Justice Department. Mitchell's political career began in 1962, when he joined Edmund Muskie's Senate staff as an executive assistant. In 1965 he returned to Maine to practice law. He was the state chairman of the Maine Democratic Party from 1966 to 1968, and was National Committeeman from 1969 to 1977. He was staff to Senator Muskie's 1968 vice-presidential and 1972 presidential campaign bids. In 1974, he made an unsuccessful run for Governor in Maine, losing to James Longley. Mitchell Served as US Attorney in Maine from 1977 to 1979 before being appointed to fill the remainder of the senate term vacated by Ed Muskie's appointment to Secretary of State. He went on to win the 1982 and 1988 elections for Senate. He was chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 1984, and served as Senate Majority Leader until retirement in 1994. In that year, Mitchell was offered a seat on the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton. However, he declined. Since that time Mitchell has been active in international affairs, most notably for his role in the Northern Ireland Peace Accords. He has also been involved in Israeli peace negotiations. He has served as Chairman of the Walt Disney Company. He is also heading an investigation of past steroid use of major league baseball players.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: the end of the 1968 campaign; return to Maine after the election; Muskie's presidential campaign staff; travel from 1968 to 1970; mobilizing New England States; favorable response to Muskie; difficulties of Chappaquiddick; return to the campaign in 1971; Muskie's mood in 1971; evolution of the 1972 campaign; fifty percent problems in New Hampshire; Mitchell's take on the Manchester incident; assembling the Manchester rally; descriptions of the Manchester rally; Nixon's dirty tricks campaign; examples of dirty tricks; funding problems; and the possibility of Muskie running as McGovern’s vice presidential candidate in 1972.

Use Restrictions

Copyright Bates College. This transcript is provided for individual Research Purposes Only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.