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. KD

    He is right. We need Al Gore, Jimmy Carter and Edwards to do the same thing to prevent further damage on Democrat's winning.

    A question to Senator Clinton: Would she annihilate North Korea
    if North Korea attacks either South Korea or Japan ??

    May 7, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. mimi de la cruz for OBAMA

    SISTER NOT ALL THERE.

    May 7, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Dale in VA

    Political view point, not a voter view point. Both candidates are excellent, however i think i think the rebulican party will eat Obama alive and they want him to be the nominee. Hillary will be the one to give them the challenge and know she is the best contender for the white house. The polls told the story last night.

    Keep in there Hillary. you have been the challenger through all this. there are rules in place, and the DNC and superdelagates will come through.( i wouldn't want to be a superdelagate – especially those whom are in an elected position)

    May 7, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. cantputheraway

    Why is it up to her to quit, why can't he put her away. He has lost all the big states, where if he would have won only a few of those, this wouldn't be an issue. Stop looking at her, and start wondering why he can't do it on his own.

    May 7, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Richard spanish supporters, wake up

    lets call a spade a spade....Hilary, thank you for the great fight......now graciously bow out...huckabee rackedout some wins in he end....but hs saw the light and graciously bowed out.
    You think clinton can now carry carlifornia and texas I mean, she fried Richardson!!!!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. maxxim

    Yes,It's time for Clinton to quit. Asta la vista Clinton...

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. mike concerned democrate

    DEMOCRATES — STOP THIS NOW !!!!!
    The only reason Hillary made Indiana close was the Rublican "Chaos" factors it's clear, yet no one wants to publically admit this….. it makes a mockery of the system and shows Rublicans are in control of the Democratic race. Wake Up make a decision NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Chelsea

    If Hillary loves her party, this is the time for her to quit the race. She doesn't have to endure broken legs as happened to her horse in Kentucky recently. We love you Hillary!

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. kisha - Duncanville, TX

    Considering the Clintons' responses to the last 2 who jumped ship, McGovern had better watch his back...

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Democrats Rule

    Ok – somebody needs to tell her it is over. If she won't listen to someone of McGovern's age and stature then who???? Superdelegates – DO SOMETHING NOW – Please – Pretty Pretty Please

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. Sam

    There are reports that fFormer President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton have hired an investigative staff to dig into the past of Sen. Obama to retrieve anything negative and damaging to use against him over the next six weeks.

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Bob of VT

    McGovern is right...Hillary should drop out now to help the Democratic party come together as the party needs to start the healing process and let the Republicans know the have come together to back Obama.
    However, we know that she is only concerned with her own wants and she doesn't care whether her party is hurt or not. I wonder if she is really a Republican at heart since she is always quick to adopt any plan the put out...and she using all of their negative attack methods?

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Ed from VA

    Although he is not a superdelegate, he is still a popular member of the Democratic Party. HRC and the supers need to take note. Someone please give Hillary a towel so she can cry into and then throw it in!

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. ltd1974

    Its been time for Hillary to drop out and support Obama.

    Obama/Hillary ticket

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. legare

    Eventhough I am not a Hillary supporter and I am glad for his support but come on now. What kind of pull does he have.

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Change Agent

    It is time for Hillary to except that it is time to unite the party and move forward. This race is about the American people. If she had started her campaign beleiving in that fundamental concept she would probley be the democratic nominee...

    Obama 08- 09

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. No Hillary

    Thank you for your great advise and your wisdom. However, I am afraid that Hillary is such a great fighter that little things such as LOOSING will not stop her from running for President.

    May 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Chris in Cali

    Billary thinks they are entitled to return to Washingtion. Even if the cost is the destruction of the Democatic Party.

    No one is bigger than the party. If the stituation was reversed, Billary would be saying that Obama is damaging the party and needs to drop out.

    If the superdelagates hand Obamas nomination to Billary it will be the end of the Democatic Party and McCain will win in 08'

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

    smart!!! it is time.

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. George from Minneapolis

    HILLARY.. are you listening... GET OUT NOW

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. broadstreet buddy

    Ouch!

    "McGovern also remains a popular figure in the Democratic Party and especially in the State of South Dakota, which holds its primary June 3."

    Double Ouch!

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Dr. Cocteau

    Sen. McGovern is correct.

    It is time for Mrs. Clinton to exit graciously and support Senator Obama.

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. TF, CO

    Is this guy a Superdelagate. That's like a slap in the face from her political father. Here comes the wave of Superdelagates to Obama.

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. David Goldman for OBAMA

    SHE HAS PRETENDED SO LONG TO BE PRESIDENT,

    SHE PROBABLY CAN'T RECOVER.

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. NY RICAN American

    NICE!!! – Obama '08

    Would have been better if it were a Super Delegate....
    BUT
    Drip, Drip, that's the sound of support!

    Si Se Puede, Yes We Can.

    (Support the Troops not the cause) bring my Brother home safe!!! ASAP

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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