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. Tracy---Indianapolis, IN

    Thank You a Hillary supporter with sense........................

    Thank You North Carolina

    Thank You Indiana....................We really made a difference.................

    Obama "08

    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. John, OH

    Thank you for telling it how it is, Mr. McGovern. Clinton's out of money, with no big states left. As the day moves on, people will realize this and superdelegates will start endorsing Obama in the droves. And then the race will be over. It was hard-fought.

    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. mark OH

    I agree, I think it is time to go, I voted for Clinton in OH, but I think she is hurting the party more than helping now.

    H. Clinton, please drop out.

    May 7, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Aman (Toronto)

    It's about time she drops out gracefully!

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. drake

    WoW Mcgovern speaks. Contest over. Seems to me if Obama wins all the remaining states 100% he still wont have enough delegates to be declared the candidate. So this is fair how? If the Democratic party wants to just nominate who they want do away with costly elections in states. Just appoint your candidate. Of course that is not democratic now is it.

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    I concur with McGovern!!! It's time to get out once and for all!!! Accept defeat!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Marshall in Nebraska

    The voice of reason! He speaks from his own experience. I know most of us we not alive for his presidential run.

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Keith

    and it starts.........nobody believes the clinton anymore

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. kell

    He is right, she must step aside for the sake of the party. we must come together behind Obama so we can beat McCain,

    You gave a good fight Hillary..but the people have spoken and they have voted for Change


    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. hamstring

    It doesn't rally matter who gets nominated now or elected in November. None of the candidates had the courage to support same-sex marriage. It is time to overthrow the government get the nazivangelicals out of control.

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Mari

    Hillary...please bow out gracefully. Its Over, Cest Finit, Se Acabo, Hasta la vista Lady..

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. Steve Ford

    It's 3AM...

    "It's 3am and the phone is ringing...

    Do you know where your $11.4 million dollars is?"


    Still, there's always Secretary of State or Governor of New York.

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. juan

    Good News!

    Time for us to move on. Hillary is wrecking the democrat ship out of spite because she knows she is not going to win.

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Maisie2008

    Sad to say but it's time for her to bow out gracefully and let the party heal.

    May 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Charlie Raleigh

    The time is now !!! "Change"

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

    Welcome President John McCain!!!!!!!!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Cindy,CA

    Looks like our best chance to beat McCain is slipping away. Media,money and the elite have done their job to slap Hillary through this whole campaign.

    If Obama wants us to unite behind him it's not up to Hillary to do it for him. Let's see if he can unite this party by working for it himself.

    Hillary supporter...New Independent.

    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. Debby

    Congrats McGovern the more you turncoats defect to the other side the more the Clinton supportes will back McCain. LOL

    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Esther from Cuyahoga Falls Ohio


    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA






    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Arron

    Cue the shrills of 'Judas' as another person dares to speak what is plainly obvious to most.

    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Casey from Canada

    Will she listen to any other voice than hers?

    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. MM

    Thank you Mr. McGovern! Please, Mrs. Clinton, now is the time to drop out and put your support behind Mr. Obama so that we can have a democratic president. You say that you are will to fight for "us". Well, this is the best way that you can do so!

    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. gerry

    It's over now, Hillary. Just quit dear

    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Jeno

    Good! somebody needs to tell her and I believe the wait last night was not about those votes in Indiana. I believe they were telling her to bow out and she refused, because she is just that mean and hateful.


    If she was strong as she claims to be she would know how to accept defeat graciously.

    May 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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