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McGovern Nominated as Ambassador

February 20, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate and former South Dakota senator, is poised to return to public life after a nearly two-decade absence.

President Clinton nominated McGovern on Thursday as U.S. representative to the United Nations for food and agriculture, issues that McGovern focused on during his long career in Congress. The diplomatic posting is based in Rome and carries ambassadorial rank.

In the job, McGovern would help develop and implement U.S. policy on a range of food security issues, agricultural development and humanitarian aid.

He would also represent the United States in the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

McGovern, 75, who now lives in Washington, said he did not seek the three-year post. But, he said, ``it’s ideal for somone my age because it carries full ambassadorial rank without the hassle of running a big embassy.″ He will oversee an office of 10 people.

As part of the job, McGovern will be visiting countries where the U.N. is undertaking food-relief efforts, including North Korea, a place he has never visited.

A World War II veteran, McGovern served as a senator for South Dakota for 18 years, and was a congressman from that state for four. He was defeated for re-election to the Senate in 1980.

McGovern was director of U.S. Food for Peace under President Kennedy, and was co-chairman of a Senate committee on nutrition. As co-chairman, McGovern traveled the country conducting hearings on hunger in America.

In 1972, McGovern won the Democratic presidential nomination over then-Sens. Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie.

He lost in the general election to President Nixon, who was seeking a second term.

McGovern’s new nomination must be approved by the Senate.

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