George McGovern served 18 years as Senator from South Dakota and ran as the Democratic presidential candidate against Richard Nixon in 1972. His campaign is covered in what many consider to be the best campaign account of all time, Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72." McGovern is currently the U.N. global ambassador on hunger.
[Hunter] decided early on to cover every aspect of my bid for the presidency. He started as early as January of '71, even though none of the primaries were held before '72. He started following me around way ahead of the schedule, which indicated the degree of interest he had in the campaign.
Page 2 contacted several of Hunter S. Thompson's closest friends for their recollections:
He always told me he was looking for an honest man, meaning me. So he gave me something to look up to. Throughout his life when he was asked about politicians he only had good things to say about me -- the one person he trusted in politics.
With one exception. He said I went in the tank once. His phrase. When I said good things about Richard Nixon after he died. I attended Nixon's funeral. His view, as he expressed it at the time, the only reason to go to Nixon's funeral was to make sure that the son of a bitch was dead. To give you one of his rare quotes.
Hunter could be pretty harsh on his judgments on people. He was uncompromising.
[During the campaign in 1971 and 1972], we used to talk both during the day and sometimes late at night. I always found him a stimulating guy. He said exactly what he thought about the high and mighty and the low and lowly. I didn't agree with some of his observations on life, but who did?
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The Hunter S. Thompson Foundation
A few months ago, a fellow by the name of Steve Vittoria, who just completed a documentary on my public life ("One Bright Shining Moment -- the Forgotten Summer of George McGovern"), wanted to interview Hunter, among many other people, so he asked if I would call Hunter. And without a moment's hesitation Hunter said yes. By the time the film producer got [to Thompson's house] with his cameras and technicians Hunter was not in shape to do an interview. The film is done now. I'm sorry Hunter's not in it, because he certainly was a part of the period when I was bidding for the presidency.
I was shocked. I knew that Hunter had problems, and he tried to feed some of the demons with booze and nicotine and other drugs and so on, but more recently he had physical pain, problems with his back. But I didn't think he'd do anything like that. He's always been such a battler. I didn't expect it.