Former Sen. George McGovern (search) says the invasion of Iraq was based on "falsehoods" and he believes the war and the economy will be the top two campaign issues this year.

McGovern, who was in town Sunday to speak at a convention of the National Farmers Union, also said he considers Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (search) a "strong contender" in the race for the White House. Kerry is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee,

"He's an articulate, eloquent speaker. He's had a world of experience. He's a balanced guy, and I think he's going to be a strong contender," said McGovern, who was the Democrats' nominee for president in 1972.

McGovern, a former South Dakota senator who is now an ambassador for the United Nations on global hunger, said he opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning.

"There was no threat to America as the (Bush) administration contended, nor were the Iraqis tied in with the 9-11 tragedy. They had nothing to do with it. So I think this war is based on falsehoods."