Nixon's rival McGovern dies aged 90
Published 21/10/2012 | 12:52
Former US senator George McGovern, the Democrat who lost to president Richard Nixon in 1972 in a historic landslide, has died at the age of 90.
Family spokesman Steve Hildebrand said that Mr McGovern died at a hospice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, surrounded by family and friends.
Mr McGovern was a bomber pilot in World War Two who became an early critic of the Vietnam War and a leader of the Democrats' liberal wing.
He was elected to his first of three Senate terms in 1962.
Mr McGovern ran for president three times, also making a try for the nomination in 1968 and 1984.
Despite the 1972 Watergate break-in, Mr Nixon won a second term in one of the biggest landslides in modern history.
"We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer," a family statement said.
Mr McGovern said he learned to hate war by waging it. In his disastrous race against Nixon, he promised to end the conflict in Vietnam and cut defence spending by billions of dollars.
He helped create the Food for Peace programme and spent much of his career believing the United States should be more accommodating to the former Soviet Union.
Never a showman, he made his case with a style as plain as the prairies where he grew up, often sounding more like the Methodist minister he had once studied to be than a long-time US senator and three-time candidate for president.