The Nation: Five for George: the McGovern Offspring

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AT the moment there are five McGovern children, two in-laws and three grandsons scattered about the U.S. Should George McGovern win the election, jokes Ann, the eldest, there will be none. Why? "Because we're all going to take off for Australia."

Remote though it may be, the prospect of living under glass for the next four years has thrown the normally open, easygoing McGovern family into a state of tension. The public scrutiny that attends public figures has already proved painful. In 1968 one of the McGovern daughters was arrested for possession of marijuana. The charges were dropped, but not the story. And that was when George was still a relative newcomer to the spotlight. "We're all very private people," says Ann, "and the idea of being the President's son or daughter is a very overwhelming thing." But in spite of their qualms, the four daughters are presently campaigning in their own way, and the son is expected to pitch in at headquarters. The lineup:

— Ann, 27, is married to Wilbur Ray Mead, 27, who served 13 months as a Marine in Viet Nam and is now a senior at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S. Dak. They have two boys, the youngest one born the day of the California primary four months ago. A sometime grade-school teacher with a B.A. in history, Ann recently set off on a successful campaign tour, spending four days at church gatherings, nursing homes, old-age centers and campuses in Nebraska and Kansas. But things do not always go so well. Last month she gave her speech, stepped back and began applauding herself. "Can you imagine?" she asks, incredulous at her own blunder (Pat Nixon made a similar mistake once in 1968).

— Susan, 26, is married to Freelance Writer Jim Rowen, 26, son of Hobart

Rowen, financial editor of the Washington Post. Jim is currently writing a piece on the campaign for Nation magazine. They have one son, aged eight months, whom Susan is still nursing. An accomplished piano player and enthusiastic Women's Liberation advocate, Susan received a B.A. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin and went on to a year of graduate study in history. In a single day last week she managed to open a campaign headquarters, speak before two college audiences, and field questions at a kaffeeklatsch.

— Terry, 23, has lived in Charlottesville, Va., since 1969, working at an assortment of jobs, including tutor for

Head Start and secretary in the pathology department of the University of Virginia. She has one year of college behind her, and hopes to finish up "somewhere." For now she is stumping for her father. She is soon scheduled to begin a Southern campaign swing, accompanied by Lady Bird Johnson's former press secretary, Liz Carpenter.

^Steve, 20, mustachioed, with brown hair down to his shoulders, is considered by his sisters to be the brightest of the offspring. Steve recently went through rigorous soul-searching about the draft. He considered applying for conscientious-objector status, but did not have to because he drew a high lottery number. At the moment he is boning up on his classical guitar and piano while he decides where, or even whether, to go to college.

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