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McGovern Library Dedicated in S.D.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

MITCHELL, S.D. —  George McGovern may have lost the 1972 presidential election, but he inspired many others to work for justice, decency and a better life for poor people around the world, former President Bill Clinton said Saturday at a ceremony to dedicate a library in McGovern's honor.

"I believe no other presidential candidate ever has had such an enduring impact in defeat,"said Clinton, who directed McGovern's presidential campaign in Texas."Senator, the fires you lit then still burn in countless hearts."

Clinton was the keynote speaker at the official dedication of a library and study center honoring the legacy of the former Democratic senator and his wife, Eleanor. Several thousand people, including McGovern; both South Dakota senators, John Thune and Tim Johnson; and former Sen. Tom Daschle gathered at Dakota Wesleyan University.

McGovern, 84, was remembered not only as an anti-Vietnam war candidate who lost by a landslide to President Nixon, but also as a three-term U.S. senator, war hero and tireless worker for programs aimed at ending world hunger.

McGovern, a three-term senator who was defeated in a 1980 re-election bid, said he is pleased the library was built, but is sad that his wife of nearly 63 years had to stay behind at their Montana cabin and miss the event. The two met at Dakota Wesleyan when both were students.

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"She's critically ill, and as the old song goes, she's in the hands of the Almighty at this time,"McGovern said.

McGovern said he intends to continue his work to provide food to needy children around the world.

"I want to live long enough to see all of the 300 million school-age kids around the world who are not being fed be given a good nutritional lunch every day,"McGovern said.

The $8.5 million George and Eleanor McGovern and Center for Leadership and Public Service includes books and documents from the McGoverns'careers, a museum that covers their lives, and a study center for students interested in going into public service.

Clinton said he got his start in politics when he signed on as a campaign worker in McGovern's 1972 presidential bid.

"George McGovern has taught us that politics is not about power or position, but about people and progress and principle,"Clinton said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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