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At a U. S. presidential nominating convention in Los Angeles, the leading presidential candidates are William Russell, former Secretary of State, and Joe Cantwell, an unscrupulous conservative senator. To avoid scandal, Russell and his estranged wife have reconciled for the duration of the campaign. Cantwell, however, plans to exploit Russell's past history of mental illness. Both candidates seek the endorsement of Art Hockstader, a devious former president, who dies during the convention. Although he is told that Cantwell was an active homosexual in the Army, Russell refuses to divulge this information to the press. Sickened by such slander, Russell ends his candidacy, throwing his support to a third contender. In so doing, he regains his wife's love.