May 7th, 2008
11:43 AM ET
10 years ago

McGovern to Clinton: Time to go

 McGovern endorsed Clinton in October.

McGovern endorsed Clinton in October.

(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.

soundoff (559 Responses)
  1. Scott ATL

    drip.. drip...whoooooooooooosh!

    May 7, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. bigben

    Another loser to the obama train. Nov lose is going be sweet

    May 7, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. marylee wagerman atlanta,ga

    Go home Hill.

    I am out of energy.

    The hating on you needs to stop.

    Do the right thing for this country.

    May 7, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. dave

    Enough said.

    May 7, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. will

    Staying in the race now is only a sign of selfishness. She knows she cannot win as she is far behind in delegates and will soon lose the lead in super-delegates. And who in the world would have $11m to lend her campaign? Surely an elitist. It's a pity half her racist supporters cannot look beyond Obama's color to take a stance for the Democratic Party's values. It is truly a sad day for America. 😥

    May 7, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Kal

    By the way, after Indiana and North Carolina Obama is ahead in POPULAR VOTE even when you include Florida and Michigan!
    Obama leads in pledged delegates, number of states won, and the popular vote. In super delegates he is only 14 behind Clinton.
    So much for Clinton's argument that she should get the remaining super delegates because of her lead in popular vote.

    May 7, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Corey, Maryland

    Thank you Mr. McGovern for seeing the light!!!

    Obama Richardson 2008

    May 7, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. jodi

    Thanks Hillary. You fought well. Let us now get behing Obama and help dems win.

    May 7, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Greg, NY

    Know what I've learned from this primary?

    When I play a game with my friends, if it's a small game and I lose, "Well, it was a small game, so it doesn't matter."

    If I play a big game with them that they normally win at and I lose, "Well, you normally win, so it was expected and doesn't matter."

    If I play a big game that I normally win and lose, "Well, if we were playing by different rules, I would have won. So, it doesn't matter."

    Thanks Hillary for being my new role model!

    May 7, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Temitayo Gidado



    OBAMA 08/12!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 7, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Darth Vadik, CA

    Until now I have said stay in, but it is time to go.

    At least do it with dignity so you can run for NY State Governor.

    May 7, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Dennis F

    YES HILLARY CAN!!! Hillary will make a 100% effort to carry on and if at the end she is not successful, she will prove to America that they have made a grave error AGAIN!!

    And then people like me will be lost to the Republican Party and will vote John McCain. We are the Moderate to Conservative segment of the Democratic Party that will and can never support Obama, not because of his RACE but because of lack of TRUST IN HIM, his lack of EXPERIENCE and his lack of GOOD JUDGMENT.

    If Colin Powell was the nominee of either party then I would vote for him because I and many of us see him as a President and Commander in Chief. I cannot vote for a person who has not demonstrated any real accomplishment in his professional life, period

    May 7, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Matthew

    Thats one more super

    May 7, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Claire, Texas

    They're jumping ship. Welcome to the Obama camp. We've got a lot of work to do before November!

    Democrats, it is time to put aside differences and unite. We don't want another Bush in office.

    May 7, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. RON



    OBAMA 08

    May 7, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Venus

    YES! It is TIME for her to go!

    Go Obama!

    May 7, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. obama supporter

    welcome aboard sir
    god bless,hillary and our troops.
    have a good day

    May 7, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Pam

    When will Carville come out with nasty comments about McGovern?

    May 7, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Darth Vadik, CA

    ...and the tide turns, watch the supers jump ship to Obama.

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Registered Independant

    and so it begins...

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Sen. George McGovern is from South Dakota, not North Dakota. Check your facts before you print

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. mama4obama

    What a gent. Hillary would have been my 2nd choice, but its time to unify and move forward.

    OBAMA 08

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Amy in Woodstock, NY

    Obama has been telling the truth since day one. And I feel confident standing behind his leadership. Because he is really representing all of us.

    Hillary thank you, but it is time to bow out for the sake of this nation.

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. JohnS

    Thank Senator McGovern.

    The America people have spoken very clearly yesterday and OBAMA is the Nominee of the Democratic Party.

    We really need to stop this and unite around OBAMA to win the General Elections in November 2008

    It is also a good time for Hillary to step out with dignity.

    GOD Bless you and GOD Bless America

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. Candace from Texas

    YES!!!! The table is turning! Even her supporters realized that she will not be able to defeat Obama!!!!!!! I am so super excited! Obama for President 2008!

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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