May 7th, 2008
11:43 AM ET
7 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. Sweet Daddy

    Look like the Clintons are the only ones beleave that Hillary can win!!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Steve in DC

    McGovern...she dosent listen to professional economist...what makes you think she will listen to you?

    Obama 08

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Ken from Michigan

    If I were Hillary, I would listen to the elders of the Democratic Party...but of course she won't.

    It's time to begin the healing process for the good of the Party.

    This isn't good for the Democrats and it's not good for the country.

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. txgall

    Clinton cannot win the nomination through the election process. The only way for her to win is to garner the support of the majority of super delegates–which is not a likely scenario given Obama's continued strength at the polls despite horrific controversies, his fund raising ability, and this ability to bring in new voters and independents. At this point, Clinton's continued campaign only hurts the party.

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. bigben

    These back stabbers own. If i was backing a true friend . I would go down in fire with them. Clinton's really need to find better friends.

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Josh

    Yeah, it's time for Hillary to go. In order for her to win she'd have to get 63% of all remaining delegates and superdelegates. It's just not going to happen.

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Peace

    Thats wise McGovern I agree with you. We always do what works for us!

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Phil From VA

    Stop spinning and listen.

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Lawrence

    The whole world wants OBAMA 2008!!!!Let's hear them !!!They can see what we can not see!!!!!OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Let's sweep off John McBush!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. The Comet 21

    WOW

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. fred

    McGovern has always been a wuss!!!

    He could never win....he knows Obama can't either!!

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. scott

    Barrak will loose in the general...........

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Mark Colegrove

    This is proof positive that Hillary Clinton is a selfish person whose only goal is her own personal benifit. She is by herself destroying any chance that a democrat can win in November. She is running out of time, money, and support. I once admired this women but now I am starting to see whom this person really is and it's not pretty. I call on the Dermocratic Committee and Super Delagates to end this charade by asking her to quit once and for all. Maybe then, we will have a chance for a new beginning next January.

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Steve

    George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee and an anti-Viet Nam war candidate,, won only 1 State in the 4th biggest Republican landslide in history. Is history going to repeat itself?

    May 7, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. Firm Support of Obama

    AND SO IT BEGINS!!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. MW in Oregon

    Good for him! We should start hearing from the elder statesmen of the party and their voices of reason, backed by their delegate votes, should increase Obama's delegate lead and close the door on convention manuevering.

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. brian bernard

    Thanks very much please talk to the rest .But hillary wants to count flordia & mich but if we decide it should be half or nothing at all

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Dan in CA

    She "appreciates" the advice of her mentor, but Now the student becomes the Master!

    Darth Clinton 08!

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. Matt

    Time to unite the party.

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Carolyn

    Thank Gov... Another man who has seen the light. Hillary can't win and the Superdelegate are not going to hand the nomination to her. Even if she win the remaining state she still can't beat Obama. Hillary just face it...you fought a good fight....What is she trying to prove.

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Sharon - NC

    Hillary's not taking the advice of her backers and polls and superdelegates and many, many Americans has nothing to do with having voters' voices heard. It has everything to do with her enormous ego and additional contributions to pay herself back since she won't be spending nearly as much money in these smaller states.

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Steve Binkley

    North Dakota Senator?? What a horrible lack of attention to the story, and history in general.

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. Mr. Los Angeles

    Wow, united we stand. I guess this would be the time to start pushing forward. Let's go dems!!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Ernest

    I am with you, Sir.

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Albuquerque

    DON"T QUIT HILLARY! YOU GIVE US HOPE!!

    NOBAMA NOWAY

    HILLARY 08

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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