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Daschle Praises Friend McGovern



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Former senator Tom Daschle says he was blessed to call George McGovern a friend. He says the two became close over the years and he looks up to McGovern as a trailblazer who was responsible for getting many young people interested in politics.

I talked with Daschle by phone from his Washington, DC office today. I asked him about the 1972 presidential campaign and McGovern's immense popularity at the time.

“He was somebody who really came on the scene quite quickly, nobody really knew George McGovern, because he hadn't been in national public office all that long. A little bit like Barack Obama in 2008," said Daschle.

I asked Daschle if the two ever spoke about McGovern's loss to Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election. He says McGovern was not one to look back, an outlook Daschle says he adopted himself.

“He was always looking forward, he didn't talk a lot about his military career even though he was a hero in WWII, he didn’t look back on either his great victories or he great losses. He was so passionate about the future and about things he wanted yet to do, he didn't waste a lot of time on setbacks or past victories and that was also a source of great inspiration to me personally," said Daschle.

Daschle says one of McGovern’s lasting legacies changed the way presidential nominations are determined. In 1968 the McGovern-Fraser Commission established open procedures for selecting delegates. Earlier that year the national convention fractured the Democratic Party and gave Republian Richard Nixon a clear path to the White House. McGovern’s new rules meant party leaders could no longer handpick the convention delegates in secret. The system is still being used today.

According to Daschle guys like McGovern, Bobby Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy led a whole generation of young people to enter politics.
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