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. Richard

    Maybe now the rest of you can understand that difference between determination and insanity, between toughness and stupidity, between, a bull and a matador, between Obama and Clinton.

    May 7, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. JohnnyU, WA State

    Please listen to him Hillary. What could possibly be your motives for continuing?

    May 7, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Janet

    Time for Hillary to do the gracious thing and unite the party. Also time for Barack to make it easy for her to do so. They both need to present a united front for the sake of the party and this country. It's also time to revisit an Obama/Clinton ticket. Even Bill knows they would be unstoppable!

    May 7, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. Mark Colegrove

    E-mail addrees on previous commnet was incorrect. See correction.

    May 7, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Erik


    He can add his name to the chorus that Joe Andrew started last week. I hope to see a steady stream of Clinton defectors just like this all week long. Then maybe WVA will realize that she's a sure loser and vote Obama...and THEN maybe she'll understand that she's lost.

    May 7, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Dave in VA

    Hillary's fought harder for the nomination than any candidate I've ever seen, but to quote Kenny Rogers, you gotta know when to fold 'em.

    It's time to fold 'em.

    May 7, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. USAF Sr. Airman

    All the Clinton drones shout in unison:


    Haha! Welcome aboard, McGovern. Another person with a sense of reason.

    May 7, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Derrick in Houston, TX

    and so it begins..

    May 7, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Annoyed

    Eat that you back country, blue collar, illiterate, corn eating, inbred, clinton supporters!

    Get a freakin education!

    May 7, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. R.I.F.


    Maybe you should take his advise as well. Stop trying to keep Clinton's campaign on life support for ratings.

    Obama '08

    May 7, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. JT

    Well another one just want to be in the news.

    He is one of the looser trying to sobotage Hillary.

    Hillary will win in the end. Because superdelegates should know that the general election is different to the primary.

    Hillary can not really beat Obama because some democrats will accuse her being a racist.

    Hillary will win!!

    May 7, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Floridian for Obama


    May 7, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. B. SIMPSON

    wHY Don't she give it up. It's over sweet. You have tried, tried and now it's over. Sen Obama has withstood the punches.

    May 7, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Afrezy

    Time for Clinton to drop out!

    May 7, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. gem

    completely agree.

    But it seems she wants to ruin obama

    May 7, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Way Far Away

    Enough said. Just Do It!!

    May 7, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. Amy


    May 7, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. Russell Tunes - Portland, OR

    I agree. She needs to go home.

    May 7, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Sam

    Seems like all the old losers are chasing after Obama....

    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Suzanne

    Yes, Hillary. You put up a good fight. But please stop hurting the rest of us and Obama by not reading the writing on the wall. Please, have some dignity and self respect. Pride cometh before the fall.

    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Clayton from Atlanta

    Now... if that's not writing on the wall!

    But, face it... Clinton is staying in the race to raise money. She will never leave this primary in the red.

    Come on, Clinton supporters! Mama needs a dollar.

    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. Lisa

    Hillary is not dropping out until they count those votes in Florida and Michigan. Once the votes are counted and she loses fair and square we will bow out gracefully. Until then we will continue on the campaign stump.

    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. Shelly from WI


    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. MI 4 Barack

    Now here's a man with some sense!

    Mr. McGovern, please call the superdelegates and encourage them to throw their support to Obama.

    Hillary is going to totally rip the Democratic Party apart with her lunatic ranting!

    Barack Obama for our future!

    OBAMA 08!

    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Its okay to be right

    Hillary Just stop it already!!!!!!

    obama 08

    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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