George McGovern enters hospice care

3:07 PM, Oct 16, 2012   |    comments
1972 presidential candidate George McGovern at the funeral for Sargent Shriver in 2011. (Getty Images)
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(USA Today) -- Former senator and presidential candidate George McGovern is in hospice care near his home in South Dakota.

"He's coming to the end of his life," daughter Ann McGovern told the Associated Press.

The 90-year-old McGovern, who lost the 1972 presidential election to Richard Nixon, has had several health problems over the last year.

From the Associated Press:

"McGovern has turned his focus in recent years to world hunger.

"It was after a lecture tour last October that he was treated for exhaustion. Two months later, he fell and hit his head just before a scheduled interview with C-SPAN for a program focusing on failed presidential candidates who've had a lasting impact on American politics.

"McGovern also spent several days in a Florida hospital in April for tests to determine why he occasionally passed out and had difficulty speaking.

"His daughter said he has moved in the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, where he moved in August to spend more time near his family. He had been splitting his time between homes in Mitchell, S.D., and Florida.

"McGovern was a member of the U.S. House from 1957 to 1961 and a U.S. senator from 1963 to 1981."

From our USA TODAY colleague Chuck Raasch:

McGovern, a decorated World War II bomber pilot, became a leading voice against the Vietnam War. But he lost a landslide to Richard Nixon in the 1972 election, losing all but Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. McGovern even lost his home state of South Dakota, although he won re-election to the Senate in 1974 against former Vietnam POW Leo Thorsness.

McGovern was defeated for re-election by then Rep. James Abdnor, R-S-D., in the Ronald Reagan landslide of 1980.

Prior to being elected to the Senate in 1962, McGovern directed John F. Kennedy's Food for Peace Program. After leaving the Senate, he was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

Over the last 30 years, McGovern has written books and devoted much of his public life to anti-hunger causes, building on a Senate career in which he pushed school-lunch, Women Infant and Children (WIC) and food-stamp programs, in part to fight hunger, in part to help sop up the surpluses of American farmers.

For the last two decades, he and former senator Bob Dole, R-Kansas, have joined to push for U.S.-funded school lunch programs around the globe. Their food-diplomacy was aimed at helping raise the U.S. profile in developing countries, and encouraging children -- especially young girls -- to attend school and get a nutritious meal.

"Today, 31 million children will participate in the school lunch program, 10 million will have a school breakfast, 7 million mothers and children will participate in the WIC program and 46 million people will participate in the food-stamp program," said Marshall Matz, and adviser to both McGovern and Dole.

"Internationally, millions of the poorest children will have one meal at school and will attend school in order to receive that meal. ... (McGovern"s) legacy on food and nutrition is without equal and will be felt all over the world for many years to come."

(USA Today)

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