(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.
This is very pathetic, I think it is time for Hillary to realize that this is Senator Obama's time to change America for good after the Bush mess. Please Hillary wake up and work with Obama to change things.
Amen, George. I would love to see her appear on stage with Barack tomorrow uniting the party to support him in November.
What is the DNC rationale for George McGovern not being a Superdelegate? It seems that he would be near the top of the list!
Yep – it is time to go!
OBAMA '08 & '12
He's right, time to fold up and move on! Don't drag this out. If she MUST stay in, tone down the rhetoric! Time for the party to heal!
Senator, You took right decision. She should bow out gracefully.
Hillary, for the sake of the party please back Obama. You have to think about your political future.
"It's 3am and the phone is ringing...
Do you know where your $11.4 million dollars is?"
OVERCONFIDENCE CARRIES A HEFTY PRICETAG.
Still, there's always Secretary of State or Governor of New York.
Dang, he's still living? I thought he was old in '72.
Sounds like a reasonable request. Obama will win the nomination.
Yet another longtime friend jumps ship.
It's time, Hillary. Past time, actually, but now the writing is on the wall.
Save whatever dignity you still have left and concede.
And Clinton supporters begin calling him a Judas in 3...2...1...
McGovern of all people, can recognize a losing campaign. He knows "for whom the bell tolls!"
Hillary is done!
I agree she should drop out, come on she has already loaned herself a total of 11.4 million.
GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.
SHE IS GOING TO SOLICIT VOTES & MONEY
DURING THE SWEARING.
It's over, Hillary. You need to step out and help Barack defeat McCain.
There is no way you can win the nomination. The people have spoken.
Thank You, Senator McGovern.
thanks for joining a winning team,welcome aboard. tell others to join
Its officially time to go for Mrs Clinton. However I feel that Obama has to pick her as his VP. He winner will be the democratic nominee, however Hillary will choose the winner of the election in November depending on whether she accepts the VP seat or not.
Even though I support Barack Obama (and I am against HRC), I am not happy to see her campaign go down in flames. For her sake, I wish she would graciously withdraw from the race. It could not happen soon enough.
McGovern is facing the facts. Hopefully, Clinton will face them, too. I think she would be a much better choice than McCain any day, but this is Obama's time. She needs to accept it and hope for a chance to be Obama's running mate.
CNN, Shame on you!
McGovern has been a big loser since 1980s. Everyone knows the truth and the fact!
over 90% of Black people voted for Obama in NC. Is this not the big racial issue?
Wake up! American people. We need Hillary!
Hillary, Never give up!
Oh Good Grief!!! Enought already!! Let her take the vote to the "all" the people! Obama can handle it!!! Lets get off of the "quit" merry-go-round!!! I AM GETTING SICK OF THAT!!!