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Eugene McCarthy, R.I.P.

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Many know McCarthy as the former Dem Senator who brought down LBJ in the 1968 New Hampshire primaries. But he was much more than that. McCarthy ran for President five times and was an author several times over.

Brainster has some recollections of his ’68 campaign:

My first involvement in presidential politics came with the Gene McCarthy campaign in 1968. My parents were active in the antiwar movement and they volunteered early enough to become county coordinators. We had a fundraising party at our house at which the celebrities were Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss. I remember wondering if anybody was going to show up in our very Republican area; as it turned out there were cars parked up and down the block for a quarter mile.

More from the AP:

Although he supported the Korean War, McCarthy said he opposed the Vietnam War because “as it went on, you could tell the people running it didn’t know what was going on.”

“I admired Gene enormously for his courage in challenging a war America never should have fought,” Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said Saturday. “His life speaks volumes to us today, as we face a similar critical time for our country.”

Former Sen. George McGovern, D-S.D., said McCarthy’s presidential run in 1968 dramatically changed the antiwar movement.

“It was no longer a movement of concerned citizens, but became a national political movement,” McGovern said Saturday. “He was an inspiration to me in all of my life in politics.” McGovern won the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, when McCarthy ran a second time.

Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., who ran for vice president in 2004, said McCarthy “was a remarkable American, a man who spoke his conscience, and he was a great leader for my party.”

You will be missed Eugene.