Share Your Memories: Senator George McGovern Dies at 90

The former senator and presidential nominee died early Sunday.

Sen. George McGovern—the Democratic presidential nominee in 1972—died Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D.

He was 90.

McGovern—who stood out for his liberal views and opposition to the Vietnam War—served in the House of Representatives from 1957-1961 and in the U.S. Senate from 1963-1981. He was also a decorated bomber pilot in World War II.

McGovern gained the national spotlight when he became the Democratic Party's presidential nominee against Richard Nixon. However, McGovern won just 17 electoral votes in the presidential election.

Richard M. Nixon's two surviving daughters today expressed sadness and respect for Sen. George McGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate their father beat in a 1972 landslide.

The Nixon Library in Yorba Linda issued the statement for Tricia Nixon Cox, of New York City, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, of Devon, Penn.

``Although he and our father were political rivals, they had much in common: a deep love of country; an abiding passion for the issues about which they cared; an unwavering commitment to serve the American people.

``Over the course of his long and productive career, George McGovern earned the respect of Americans around the country and across the political spectrum.

``We extend to his family and friends our deepest sympathy.''

 In a statement, President Barack Obama said McGovern "dedicated his life to serving the country he loved."

He is survived by his three daughters and 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Tell us what you think in the comments.

How did Sen. George McGovern shape the Democratic Party and the U.S.? What are your memories of the McGovern movement?

- City News Service contributed to this report.

met00 October 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I met the Senator once, in 1975 when I was working on Scoop Jackson's campaign in CT. I was a wet behind the ears dreamer who thought that the youth of America could take on the world and solve all the problems. He was talking to a room filled with youthful volunteers and staff and he looked at us and said, "You will be asked to give up a small part of what you believe in for the greater good, and you will be asked after you give up that small part to give up another. This creeping request is like being eaten by ducks, one nibble at a time. Don't give into it, the best good you can do for yourselves and your country are to stand true to all your values." What an amazing man. That was how he lived, and he attempted to get us to understand what Mike Dukakis later said to those of us still around, "You can't be a little bit pregnant." Once you start to give up your dreams and what you value, well you aren't you any more. The greater good is made that way by people that push the envelope, not those that step back from the edge to a safer position. Rest in Peace Senator, your words were not lost in the winds of time, they are part of the lesson I teach my children today.
Jim Reardon October 21, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Dan, You're right, of course. In those days, the MN guys were liberal farm populists. The WN guys were more conservative. Sadly, HHH was on the wrong side of the war question if you were under 25. In 1968, Eugene McCarthy gave HHH fits in the primaries, and George Wallace walked away with a fair hunk of traditional southern Democratic vote, The world had changed. HHH was denied and we got Nixon and his "secret plan". This really set the table for George McGovern in 72. The Tet Offensive, Woodstock, then Kent State, just to name a few. By the time we got to Watergate and the 1972 election, the old guard was really starting to lose its grip. Hoover out. HHH won the popular vote, but the Democratic party had changed and the convention awarded the nomination to McGovern. Unfortunately, it was a nomination to lead a divided party and McGovern really had no chance. A large number of Democrats defected -- or stayed home to watch the news about Watergate. "The doors of government will be opened and that war will be closed," said McGovern in 1972. For first-time voters, the disappointment that followed was profound. Disaffected by politics, I "won" the draft lottery, switched schools, changed majors (Political Economics to Computer Science), and soon joined the world I had earlier rejected. This is a backhanded compliment and expression of gratitude for Senator George McGovern.
Dan Avery October 22, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Jim, Eugene McCarthy was also from Minnesota. But while Humphrey was merely a politician and, in the words of Hunter S. Thompson, a douche bag...McCarthy was a poet warrior. Thompson had Hubert's number. We need more McCarthy's, especially today. Humphrey was a "nice" man who worked inside the system to do whatever good he could do. But as Met points out above, that's not really enough. We need the poet warriors who live near the edge in order to turn this ship in the proper direction. Yeah I know that was a mixed metaphor. But it's good to struggle with images no? :)
Dan Avery October 22, 2012 at 03:48 AM
By the way, I'm sorry you joined the world. We still need good people.
Eileen Algaze October 23, 2012 at 07:06 AM
"McGovern is the American Hotdog" -- the campaign slogan for a rally we held at Orange Coast College in 1972. There weren't many of us liberal Dems in Orange County back then (OC has come a long way). George McGovern and his presidential campaign inspired me, my family and friends to get politically active and assertively support Democratic candidates and issues. Thank you, Mr. McGovern. You will be missed. Peace.


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