(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.
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.
Please listen to him Hillary. What could possibly be your motives for continuing?
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!
E-mail addrees on previous commnet was incorrect. See correction.
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.
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.
All the Clinton drones shout in unison:
Haha! Welcome aboard, McGovern. Another person with a sense of reason.
and so it begins..
Eat that you back country, blue collar, illiterate, corn eating, inbred, clinton supporters!
Get a freakin education!
Maybe you should take his advise as well. Stop trying to keep Clinton's campaign on life support for ratings.
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!!
YES WE CAN! I ALMOST FEEL SORRY FOR HER!
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.
Time for Clinton to drop out!
But it seems she wants to ruin obama
Enough said. Just Do It!!
I agree. She needs to go home.
Seems like all the old losers are chasing after Obama....
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hillary Just stop it already!!!!!!