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Inside Politics

McGovern endorses Clark

General donates much-maligned sweater to veterans shelter

Wesley Clark talks with George McGovern at a pancake breakfast in Keene, New Hampshire, on Sunday.
Wesley Clark talks with George McGovern at a pancake breakfast in Keene, New Hampshire, on Sunday.

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Wesley Clark
George S. McGovern

KEENE, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination picked up an endorsement Sunday from former Sen. George McGovern, the Democratic nominee in 1972.

"I am here to endorse with all my heart and strength General Wes Clark," the three-term senator from South Dakota told about 500 people gathered at a pancake breakfast at Keene Middle School.

McGovern said it was "important" for Democrats to "recover" the White House from President Bush, a Republican.

McGovern, 81, took second place to Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine in the 1972 New Hampshire primary -- a finish many viewed as a win because Muskie was considered a native son.

Nationwide polls show Clark in second place behind Howard Dean, a former governor of Vermont, another of New Hampshire's neighbors.

In 1972, incumbent President Nixon trounced McGovern, who won only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

After a standard stump speech, Clark was asked whether he would close the School of the Americas -- the Army facility at Fort Benning, Georgia, that some peace activists say has contributed to human rights abuses in South America. He said he would not.

Clark said the school is the primary vehicle for teaching proper human rights to police in South America, and likened closing the school to proposing to close the Harvard Business School, which he said has turned out several people now under fire for corporate corruption.

Clark flipped a few pancakes at the event, wearing an apron bearing the slogan, "Wes Clark: Rhodes scholar, Supreme Allied Commander, Master of the Short Stack and 4-Star General."

He also told the crowd that he had donated the gray argyle sweater he last wore in Keene -- which drew several critical comments in the media -- to Liberty House, a transitional shelter opening for homeless veterans in Manchester, which put the sweater up for auction on the Web site eBay.

With a little more than six days before the auction ends, the bidding for Clark's much-maligned sweater was at $3,249. All of the proceeds will go to Liberty House.

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