I'll Be Interviewing Former Senator George McGovern on February 4th


The People Speak with host David Swanson
AIRDATE: 2/4/08 Monday 7-8pm ET
Guest: George McGovern
Info: George McGovern has never forgotten his roots. He was born in Avon, South Dakota, on July 19, 1922, the son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister. The family moved to Mitchell, South Dakota, in 1928, and George graduated from Mitchell High School in 1940. He was an outstanding student, and his proficiency in debate won him a scholarship at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, where he enrolled in the fall of 1940. There he met fellow student Eleanor Stegeberg of Woonsocket, South Dakota. George and Eleanor were married on October 31, 1943, and their five children were all born in Mitchell.

As a college student, McGovern was twice elected class president and won the state oratorical contest with the topic “My Brother’s Keeper,” an avowal of his belief in one’s responsibility to humankind.
World War II interrupted McGovern’s education in 1943. He flew 35 combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot in Europe, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war he returned to Dakota
Wesleyan University, graduating in 1946. McGovern then attended Garrett Seminary for one year before enrolling at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in
American history and government.

McGovern returned to Dakota Wesleyan
University in 1950 as a professor of
history and political science, where he
became a beloved and respected faculty
member. He left the university in 1955 to
reorganize and revitalize the South Dakota
Democratic Party, from which his
illustrious political career was launched.
He was elected to Congress in 1956 and
reelected in 1958. As a congressman, he
was an advocate for the American farmer
and represented the nation’s heartland
with distinction.

After McGovern lost his first bid for the
U.S. Senate in 1960, President John F.
Kennedy named him the first director of
the Food for Peace Program and Special
Assistant to the President. In this
position he oversaw the donation of
millions of tons of food to developing
nations. McGovern was then elected to the
Senate in 1962 and reelected in 1968 and
1974. As a member of the Senate committees
on agriculture, nutrition, forestry and
foreign relations, and the Joint Economic
Committee, he led the way in expanding
key nutrition programs.

In 1972, Senator McGovern was selected as
the Democratic Party nominee for president,
the only South Dakotan so honored by any
major political party.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford named
McGovern a United Nations delegate to the
General Assembly, and, in 1978, President
Jimmy Carter named him a United Nations
delegate for the Special Session on
Disarmament. After leaving the Senate in
1980, McGovern was a visiting professor at
numerous institutions, including Columbia
University, Northwestern University,
Cornell University, American University
and the University of Berlin. He served as
the president of the Middle East Policy
Council from 1991 to 1998, when President
Clinton appointed him ambassador to the
United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization in Rome. In 2001 he was
appointed the first United Nations global
ambassador on hunger. In this position,
McGovern continues his leadership in the
battle against world hunger.

A prolific author, McGovern has lectured
at more than 1,000 colleges and
universities around the world. He has
also received many honorary degrees and
distinguished awards, including the
Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United
States’ highest civilian honor, which was
bestowed upon him by President Bill Clinton
on August 9, 2000.

A war hero, 22-year U.S. Congressman and
1972 Democratic presidential nominee,
George McGovern will long be remembered
for his courage in speaking out against
U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, his
friendship and respect for the common man,
and his work on behalf of American farmers
and hungry children throughout the world.

On January 6, 2008, the Washington Post
published a major op-ed article by McGovern
entitled, “Why I Believe Bush Must Go:
Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse.”,
expressing his support for impeachment
efforts against President George W. Bush
and Vice-President Dick Cheney:

Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of
numerous impeachable offenses. They have
repeatedly violated the Constitution. They
have transgressed national and
international law. They have lied to the
American people time after time. Their
conduct and their barbaric policies have
reduced our beloved country to a historic
low in the eyes of people around the world.
These are truly “high crimes and
misdemeanors,” to use the constitutional

He characterized impeachment as “…a way
to signal to the American people and the
world that some of us feel strongly enough
about the present drift of our country to
support the impeachment of the false
prophets who have led us astray. This, I
believe, is the rightful course for an
American patriot.”

In closing, McGovern opined:

I believe we have a chance to heal the
wounds the nation has suffered in the
opening decade of the 21st century. This
recovery may take a generation and will
depend on the election of a series of
rational presidents and Congresses. At age
85, I won’t be around to witness the
completion of the difficult rebuilding of
our sorely damaged country, but I’d like
to hold on long enough to see the healing

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