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October 21, 2012

Former 1972 U.S. Presidential Candidate and Senator George McGovern dies at 90

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

George McGovern speaking at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum for his book tour August 26, 2009.
Image: Scott C. Clarkson.

Former 1972 U.S. election Democratic Presidential candidate and United States Senator from South Dakota George McGovern has died today at the age of 90 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He died at 5:15 am local time (1015 UTC).

In 1972, McGovern lost to U.S. President Richard Nixon. McGovern got only 17 electoral votes.

Last Tuesday, McGovern was reported to be in hospice care.

His family made a statement about his death: “Our wonderful father, George McGovern, passed away peacefully at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, surrounded by our family and life-long friends.”

Many politicians have made comments and tributes about McGovern’s death:

U.S. President Barack Obama
“George McGovern dedicated his life to serving the country he loved. He signed up to fight in World War II, and became a decorated bomber pilot over the battlefields of Europe. When the people of South Dakota sent him to Washington, this hero of war became a champion for peace. And after his career in Congress, he became a leading voice in the fight against hunger. George was a statesman of great conscience and conviction, and Michelle and I share our thoughts and prayers with his family.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden
“Jill and I are profoundly saddened to hear about George McGovern’s passing. I was honored to serve with him, to know him, and to call him a friend. George believed deeply in public service. It defined him as a Senator and as a man. And he never stopped serving for his entire life – whether it was his courage in World War II, his time in Congress, or his fight to eliminate hunger at home and abroad. Above all, George McGovern was a generous, kind, honorable man. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family today.”
Bill Clinton
“We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend George McGovern. The world has lost a tireless advocate for human rights and dignity. We first met George while campaigning for him in 1972. Our friendship endured for 40 years. As a war hero, distinguished professor, Congressman, Senator and Ambassador, George always worked to advance the common good and help others realize their potential. Of all his passions, he was most committed to feeding the hungry, at home and around the world. The programs he created helped feed millions of people, including food stamps in the 1960s and the international school feeding program in the 90’s, both of which he co-sponsored with Senator Bob Dole. From his earliest days in Mitchell to his final days in Sioux Falls, he never stopped standing up and speaking out for the causes he believed in. We must continue to draw inspiration from his example and build the world he fought for. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
John Kerry
“George McGovern was a voice of clarity and conviction at a time when America needed it most. He spoke to many of us who opposed the war but loved our country, because he was the genuine article, a soft-spoken, decent and gentle man who lived a remarkable life with humility, a decorated bomber pilot who never bragged about his own heroism, even as he ran into the buzzsaw of the negative and destructive politics that marked the Watergate era. He never stopped caring about things like peace, hunger, poverty, and fairness, whether they were in political fashion or not, and history will record, to paraphrase the old saying, that George McGovern may not have been President, but George McGovern was right.”
Newt Gingrich
“George actually was a very complicated person. He had served as a bomber pilot in World War II, he was not a pacifist and his argument over Vietnam was about that particular war. He was a citizen; I remember being with him at the U.S. Embassy in Rome for dinner one night and talking about he and Goldwater, I mean, he said, one of the nice things about losing badly enough is you don’t have lots of regrets about what one thing might you have changed. And he had a very good sense of humor and he was a very down to earth guy who, later on in life, ran a small business, a bed and breakfast and wrote a great article on all the problems we had heaped up on small business through the regulations he had sponsored.”
Bill Richardson
“I think he’ll be remembered, obviously, for his stance on the war in Vietnam.”


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