Former Presidential Candidate George McGovern has died at age 90. The former Senator and Democratic nominee had been placed into hospice as his health declined.
FOX's Bret Baier has more on the career of George McGovern:
(McGovern) "I love the United States, but I love it enough so I want to see some changes made. The American people want to believe in their government, they want to believe in their country and I'd like to be one of those that provides the kind of leadership that could help restore that kind of faith."
George McGovern will long be remembered as an orator for peace and the 1972 Democratic nominee for President who lost in a disastrous landslide to Richard Nixon, but his 22-year career in Washington was marked by massive improvements for rural Americans in farming and an increased awareness in the devastations of world hunger.
(McGovern) "If you grow up out in the Great Plains, you have to live with the philosophy that next year's gonna be better. You can't survive any other way."
Hailing from the Plains state of South Dakota, McGovern was a quiet kid who found his voice on the high school debate team. His award-winning speeches would serve him well when he was sworn in as a United States Representative in 1957.
After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, McGovern became a Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy. He focused intensely on Kennedy's high-priority "Food for Peace" program, which would operate in more than a dozen countries by the time McGovern left to run again for the Senate in 1962. He won this time, and as a Senator, McGovern would become known for his growing contempt for the Vietnam War.
(McGovern) "The first time I spoke against Vietnam, my son was then nine years old. He's now 19 and faced with the draft. It never occurred to me when I started speaking out against that war that it would someday catch my own son 10 years later."
McGovern voted in favor of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution - which essentially authorized military action in Vietnam - and would regret it bitterly. As the years dragged on, he would become more and more adamant that the solution for Vietnam was political and not military. In fact, in 1972, as McGovern accepted the Democratic nomination for President - at 3am - his platform revolved around an appeal of withdrawal from Vietnam.
But what was little known until years later was that McGovern himself was a decorated veteran who flew 35 B-24 bombing missions during World War II. He never really spoke of those years, neither using the events as reason for opposing the Vietnam War or to cement his position as an expert.
After Nixon brutally defeated him in the general election, McGovern lost his Senate reelection bid and left Congress in 1981. A failed run for the Democratic nomination in '84 saw him return to private life for good, but he remained politically relevant as he moved in and out of different think tanks and served as an Ambassador to the U.N. Food Program.
McGovern said politics was an act of faith, and while he joked his political timing was off, he strove to deepen that spiritual relationship with a country he loved until the day he died.
In Washington, Bret Baier, FOX News.