Pinback button promoting Stuart Symington for president, 1960. Litho.
A successful business executive, Symington came to Washington in 1945 to accept a job offer from his friend and fellow Missourian Harry Truman, later serving at the cabinet level as the first Secretary of the Air Force. Elected to the Senate from Missouri in 1952, Symington announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960, with the strong backing of Truman. Dropping out when it became clear that John F. Kennedy would be the nominee, he is known to have been Kennedy's first choice as a running mate, but the nomination for VP was instead given to Lyndon Johnson out of political expediency. Symington later advised Kennedy, serving on Excomm during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He remained in the Senate until 1976.