Cliff Owen, Pool, File, Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern was hospitalized Friday after he fell and hit his head on the pavement outside of a library bearing his name, where he was set to be interviewed on C-SPAN.
McGovern's daughter Ann McGovern said her father was to be treated at a Sioux Falls hospital after being flown by helicopter from Mitchell, S.D., where the interview was to take place at the Dakota Wesleyan University's McGovern Library.
"He had just walked from home to the center. He lives literally just across the street," Ann McGovern told The Associated Press.
McGovern has lived in St. Augustine, Fla., since 2008 but also has a home in Mitchell.
Friends and faculty who had gathered at the library for the C-SPAN taping said McGovern fell at about 5:15 p.m. — less than two hours before program began. A former South Dakota senator, McGovern, 89, was "bleeding profusely" but was conscious and talking as he was taken from the university by ambulance, said Donald Simmons, dean of the College of Public Service.
University President Robert Duffett said McGovern had been excited to take part in the live C-SPAN program called "The Contenders," which focuses on failed presidential candidates who changed the landscape of American politics." McGovern lost his 1972 challenge against President Richard Nixon, who eventually resigned amid the Watergate scandal.
Duffett said he had coffee with McGovern just hours before the fall and that McGovern was returning to the campus to grab dinner with faculty before the interview.
McGovern was entering a side door when he "tripped and fell and hit his head hard," said Duffett, audibly frazzled. "It's just one of those things. He's made that walk many times before."
McGovern has an office inside the library named for both him and his late wife, Eleanor.
Ann McGovern said the injury was unrelated to her father's hospitalization in late October for exhaustion. He again was being treated at Avera McKennan Hospital.
C-SPAN went ahead and aired the segment on McGovern, with program host Amity Shlaes interviewing political experts and journalists to analyze McGovern's ill-fated campaign. Shlaes said on air that McGovern had taken "a spill" and wasn't able to be on the program as planned, but she said he was fine.
McGovern was elected to his first of three terms in the Senate in 1962. Though he later lost the presidential race to Nixon, he continued to distinguish himself during his political career and was a lifelong advocate for U.S. and world food programs.
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