During my years in Congress and for the four decades since, I've been labeled a 'bleeding-heart liberal.' It was not meant as a compliment, but I gladly accept it. My heart does sometimes bleed for those who are hurting in my own country and abroad. A bleeding-heart liberal, by definition, is someone who shows enormous sympathy towards others, especially the least fortunate. Well, we ought to be stirred, even to tears, by society's ills. And sympathy is the first step toward action. Empathy is born out of the old biblical injunction "Love the neighbor as thyself."
-- George S. McGovern, What It Means to Be a Democrat
Via. More from the LAT.
He chose Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri to be his vice presidential running mate without knowing that Eagleton had a history of depression. When the revelation caused criticism, McGovern dumped him, only to end up looking fickle. He also fell victim to some of the transgressions of Watergate, the scandal that ultimately forced Nixon to resign. But public outrage came too late, and McGovern suffered one of the biggest defeats in U.S. history.
His campaign left a significant legacy, including his proposals, since fulfilled, that women be appointed to the Supreme Court and nominated for the vice presidency. He inspired scores of budding politicians: Bill Clinton was his Texas coordinator before becoming governor of Arkansas, then president. Gary Hart was his campaign manager before becoming a senator from Colorado, then a candidate for the White House.
And the AP.
"Tom and I ran into a little snag back in 1972 that in the light of my much advanced wisdom today, I think was vastly exaggerated," McGovern said at an event with Eagleton in 2005. Noting that Nixon and his running mate, Spiro Agnew, would both ultimately resign, he joked, "If we had run in '74 instead of '72, it would have been a piece of cake."