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McGovern Talks About Last Meeting With Janklow

January 13, 2012, 6:07 PM by Brady Mallory

McGovern Talks About Last Meeting With Janklow
George McGovern

SIOUX FALLS, SD - He is nearly 90 years old, but former U.S. Senator and Representative George McGovern hardly stops to take a breath. 

"Activity has been the story of my life. And I'm finding it interesting even yet," McGovern said.

While promoting his new book, What It Means To Be a Democrat, he took the time to talk about what a certain Republican meant to him.

"Janklow did a lot of things as governor, most of them were helpful in terms of advancing South Dakota and its people. So, I mourn his passing as I know a lot of other South Dakotans do," McGovern said.

McGovern knows a thing or two about Janklow's push to better South Dakota's industry and education, among other things. McGovern is famous for his own public services, including his fight to end world hunger. This common interest in righting the wrongs of the world helped these two politicians from different sides of the aisle forget about the politics.

"I never saw him as a rival. We did have a debate at one point when he was speaking for another candidate. But, it was a friendly debate. One I will look back on with pleasure," McGovern said.

It was not unique for Janklow to cross party lines, McGovern said. Janklow sought support from both parties to make South Dakota stronger.

"He tried to present his programs to the broadest swath of people. I know he had a number of good Democratic friends from the beginning to the end," McGovern said.

In the end, the two would meet one last time at the Mayo Clinic.

"He had come in there to see if they couldn't find some way to deal with the brain cancer that took his life. I was there because I had taken a spill and cracked my head up here on the sidewalk," McGovern said.

It was a good thing they both took  the time to have this unimportant chance meeting.  

"It was just chit-chat. There was nothing profound about it," McGovern said.

For it created the opportunity to say everything that needed to be said, with words, and without.

"He gave me a bear hug I will never forget. We chatted about our participations in politics and our families and other things. It was a good visit with him. But, that's the last time I ever saw him alive," McGovern said.

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