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. Sly in Seattle

    it's time... IT'S TIME!!!

    You have fought a good race Hillary, I think you are a great woman with a great vision, but let's get together and move American forward.

    Obama '08

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Michele, WV

    This is EXACTLY what her "supporters" (superdelegate or not) need to be doing!! GOOD JOB!!


    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. JC

    Looks like evryone but Billary sees the inevitability of he losing. Another super for Obama.

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Davkat

    another one bites the dust...stay tuned; more to come

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. King of NJ

    The end!

    Democrats 08!

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. Erik

    Let's see. . .

    Her campaign is in debt. She's behind in delegate count, number of states won, and popular vote, and she's statistically unlikely to gain the total required number of delegates to secure the nomination. Meanwhile, John McSame sits back and watches the Democrats play "Gotcha" until we're all so sick of it we'll consider supporting an honorable has-been just to get some resolution.

    Yes, she should withdraw. "Supreme Court Justice Clinton" is a decent consolation prize, right?

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. Robert

    Here is comes! Swooosh!

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. David J

    Unfortunately, it's too late for her to bow out gracefully, and she's far too delusional to realize it's been over for quite some time now. People will continue to line up behind Obama, and she'll continue to loan herself money and waste all of our time. Sad.

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Elizabeth

    GET RID OF THE CLINTONS – NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. DCL

    Senator Clinton will leave the race only after retrieving the millions she is owed by her campaign. Where will the money come from? The funds will come out of the bank accounts of the remaining hardcore, blue-collar, Clinton supporters. These people need to save their money for the tax increases to come from Obama's presidency.

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Phil Newton, Murphy OR

    McGovern is right: it is time for Mrs. Clinton to bow out gracefully.

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. michael

    as a clinton supporter, i am disappointed. but everyone has a right to how they wanna go, and so it should be no different here. respect his decision, but am disappointed by it.

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. right source

    I agree with McGovern that she should give up the race now, and bow out with some dignity. Hiliary just hold onto you 6.4 million or give it to these families that are in desperate need of some insistence on these raging gas prices. Instead of that $28 we get in your so-called plan, they can get a lot more. What do you think about that Hiliary?

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Independent

    Well, it isn't the fat lady, but it is close.

    Time to give up the good fight – let's all give Clinton her due, though – she worked incredibly hard and ran a really good campaign. To all Clinton supporters – I'm sorry for how this must feel, because I know I would feel bad if Obama didn't win.

    And now I think it is time that all democrats start treating one another a little better and focus on the most important thing – a democratic president in November!

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. Lillian Lee

    Wow, do you really mean we might be moving forward, what a novel idea. The tide is turning and another Clinton supporter jumps ship. It's time to bow out gracefully and allow Obama to get his due!

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. S

    She is helping Obama get recognition so that when he runs in the General election all 50 states will become familiar with him. And it's working. Good stradegy Hillary. Your negativity and help the voters get to know Barack and the true man of Faith, Hope, and Change. Barack name means "Blessing". Therefore, she has lead an open door for Blessing to spread through out our country. President Barack Obama 08-2016

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Jennifer, CA

    CNN Obama won NC by 15% – .5668 rounds to 57% OBAMA

    just as .4187 rounds to 42% CLINTON

    Accuracy in reporting is critical in a race this close.

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. TJ

    Enough already Hilary. If your statements about not tearing up the Democratic Party are true, prove it through action at this point and withdraw from the race. Everyday from this point on just proves her critics right, that she is in it for political glory and not for the objective good of the country.

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. DCsilb

    McGovern is right. The longer this drags on, and it is a drag now, the more time McCain has to position himself and bring in the money. I don't care how fast Obama can rasie funds, this is not baseball people. Having this much "time off" helps a contender, not hurt them.

    As a general question, WHEN Obama is offically the democatic nominee, and by the numbers is 90% likley that will happen, will Clintion be graceful enough to throw, not push slightly, but THROW her support and supporters behinde him? That, I'm really not sure of and neither are the Republicans.

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Jose'

    How is this news?

    A has been lefty wingnut is following marching orders?

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Tejano

    The kiss on the cheek from the Godfather of the left wing of the party.

    Further proof that the leftist are out in force and have now taken over the Democratic party.

    Say No to the Obamaination of America.

    McCain is the only choice left to Freedom loving Americans.

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Jeff in Saint Paul

    He's entitled to his opinion, but I agree with Hillary's response.
    It does no harm for her to stay til the primaries are done. You've come this far, lets finish the game.

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. Allen deLuca - Florida

    McGovern, a far-left liberal like Obama, says "quit when the going is tough".

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. Larry

    The fat lady has sung. Hill can't catch up in Delegates or Pop vote after the Molly whooping she took in NC and the basic tie in Ind. not enough votes in low pop states like W. Virginia, Kentucky it is time for the Dem superdelegages to man up or woman up and tell Hill it is time to wrap it up and give it a go in 2012

    OBAMA 08

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. Mika- NC

    Why is it that people who've endorsed her in the past can see that it's time to call it quits but Hillary refuse to see it? She's going to seriously damage the Democratic party if she doesn't get off her pride and drop out. I voted for Obama, despite her low and unfair attacks I would like to see a joint ticket Obama (top) and Clinton (vp). Based on the ratings and percentages this would be the only way they'd win in Nov, unless Gore will run as VP w/ Obama which he has no interest in doing......

    May 7, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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