(CNN) – Former Sen. George McGovern urged Hillary Clinton Wednesday to drop out of the Democratic presidential race.
McGovern, who had endorsed Clinton, told CNN he was switching his support to endorse Barack Obama.
“It certainly was not out of any less respect for Senator Clinton,” McGovern told CNN in a telephone interview early Wednesday afternoon about his decision to switch his support to Barack Obama. “I think she has waged a really courageous and valiant campaign. She will have my affection and admiration for all of my days.
“But I think mathematically the race is all but won by Barack Obama and the time has come for all of us to unite and get ready for the general election in the fall.”
McGovern also told CNN he had just spoken to former President Bill Clinton about his decision to back Obama – a conversation he described as “very good.”
“I have had many conversations with him over the years, none better than today," McGovern said. "He did me the honor of talking to me about this. There will be no hard feelings with him or Senator Clinton.”
McGovern said he has not spoken to Sen. Clinton today, because he thought she would be too exhausted after Tuesday’s primary but plans to talk to her in the future.”
McGovern is not a Democratic superdelegate, though he is the first major Clinton supporter to publicly suggest the New York senator should abandon her presidential bid following Tuesday night's results.
Responding to the news, Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said "Senator Clinton appreciates Senator McGovern's friendship, but believes the voters in the upcoming states should have their voices heard in this process."
McGovern formally endorsed Clinton last October, saying then, "I think that if we can elect her president, she'll be a greater president even than her brilliant husband."
McGovern is a longtime friend of both Clintons and his decision is a personal blow to the New York senator and her husband. The couple's long political career has its roots in McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign, during which both Clintons were dispatched to Texas to run the candidate's operation there.
McGovern also remains a popular figure in the Democratic Party and especially in the State of South Dakota, which holds its primary June 3.
Josh, thanks for your vote of confidence. Here's your sign.....
Josh, why does the man have to be a Judas? He is a realist and has the best interests of the party at heart UNLIKE HILLARY
Why she should quit. i think the votes tell u that almost half of the people want Hillary
i will never vote for Obama, i will vote for MacCain before i vote for Obama
so, please stop this comments and let her continue the battale till the end
He isn't a superdelegate so shut up McGovern. An Obama presidency would be worse than Bush-Cheney. I hope Obama supporters are happy that they will ruin this great country. And, no we will not apologize for slavery.
Thanks to the Obama supporters for giving us President McCain
Enjoy the lasting impact on the Sprm. Court, etc
I agree 10 fold with Alexandra, it is time to stick a fork in Hilary and tell her that she is done. She has no money and she does not have the time nor the supporters to get the money. It is time to unite as a party and back Barack Obama as the 2008 democratic presidential candidate.
Hillary Clinton is on the receiving end of what she and her husband have given out for years. If you feel badly about how she is being treated you need only examine her own behavior to find out why.
The first of many Clinton backers to come to their senses. Also to Josh, how do you explain Obama winning states where the African American population is incredibly small and makes up only a tiny portion of total votes? Keep dreaming.
She should listen. If this is really about the democratic party and not her selfish need for power, she will do the right thing.