Novak also identifies Eagleton in his new memoir, "The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington."
You'll recall that, following McGovern's surprising victory in the 1972 Massachusetts primary, Novak called Democratic politicians for reaction. In the April 27, 1972 "Evans & Novak" column, one anonymous source said "people don't know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion and legalization of pot. Once middle America -- Catholic middle America, in particular -- find this out, he's dead."
Washington went crazy trying to figure out which Democrat had trashed talked one of their own. And, in the ultimate irony, Eagleton would later be tapped as McGovern's running mate (but would not ultimately be selected, after it became known that Eagleton had used electro-shock therapy to treat his depression).
Up until Eagleton's death earlier this year, he refused to allow Novak to out him as the author of the infamous quote. However, Eagleton's March 4 death freed Novak to reveal the source.