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. Dave

    Thank you for saying this sir. It is all over. No more Bush/Clinton rule. Go away Clinton lies and schill. Take your stupid gas tax plan with you.

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. noemi in los angeles

    McGovern is a man of reason and a true Democrat.

    Democrats 08~

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. James (Atlanta)

    Thank you Senator McGovern! Please encourage the superdelegates and other Hillary supporters to follow your lead.

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Independent

    I hope she stays in and wins just because of this crap. This is like a slap in the face to all women and all those who voted in Florida and even Michigan. Democratic Party: Party of Disenfranchisement.

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Karen

    She really should really drop out–save the $$$$, feed the hungry or do something with the money instead of beating a dead horse. Suggestion: Obama/Clinton ticket. Could she take second place? She still would be the first female VP if that is the recognition she is after.

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. Anonymus

    Last rat of the sinking ship loans herself 6.4 mil.

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

    I know if Hillary quits the race, I will vote for McCain.

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. JR

    Thats ok...Sen. McGovern. I still have faith in HRC. Sorry to see you go!

    May 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. Brendose, Oceanside CA


    Well, let's see if Hillary goes back to the Senate and works on that tax bill..............

    May 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. david

    And it begins, the wave of delagates coming to obama camp will be large this week.

    May 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |

    Where in the hell is Al Gore!

    Where in the hell is John Edwards!

    Where in the hell is Nancy Pelosi!

    Where in the hell are these so-called "Super"delegates!

    May 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Moses, Ca.

    Thanks Mr. McGovern. We need more people like you.

    Obama 08/12

    May 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Independent

    George McGovern is a well respected member of the Democratic Party. I believe his comments will start the Super Delegate support to come over to Obama. The numbers don't add up for Clinton, and she should be working towards uniting the party, not persuing her own personal ambitions. OBAMA 08!

    May 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Brian

    While many of us Obama supportors have awaited this moment, I do beleive we should be patient over the next couple of days. After 16 months, its tough to simply walk away from something you feel you have put so much of your life toward.

    That said, I think we should stay away from negative comments toward Clinton supportors and focus on the future. Mrs. Clinton, will come to her decision soon enough. Lets let her and her constiuents be for now.

    Mr. McCain, time is up.

    Obama 08'

    May 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Tamara 4 Obama

    Finally someone form that camp has come to his senses.

    obama 08'

    May 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. time to go

    The writing is on the wall so to speak.

    May 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. bright23

    time for her to go.

    May 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. K

    While Democratic politicians may feel pressured to climb onto the Obama bandwagon, average Democratic voters like me who care about universal healthcare, strong foreign policy, balanced budgets, education, environmental protection and social progress will not find it so easy to fall in line behind a nominee that just about half of us voted against.

    May 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. bruce patras

    hillary can do far greater good by ending her run.

    May 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. The Truth

    Democrats , UNITE!! Lets form Voltron!

    May 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. Ben in Tennessee

    I surely hope that more and more prominent Dems come out of the closet and push for Clinton to step down – I cannot fathom why she thinks she's still in this race!

    May 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Shane Walker

    Indeed. If the role you seek is one of a public servant and a booster for the principles and well-being of the Democratic party, it's time to concede Senator Clinton.

    Otherwise, you betray that your mission is truly about you and your ego. The people have fought a long, hard battle and proved your mettle, but the best thing for you to do know is to turn to CONSTRUCTIVE application of your resources, not DESTRUCTIVE.

    You have a long bright future in American politics–don't spoil it now.

    May 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. Obama Girl in '08

    Welcome to the Obama train........full steam ahead!

    May 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Undisclosed

    Are we in a democratic country or what? For a true democratic setup to thrive I think there should not be just one person in the race for any type of electoral process. There needs to be more than one representative for the people to select, otherwise it becomes a type of pseudo monarchy..
    come on..for goodness sake .. we are proudly claiming to be the oldest thriving democracy..

    May 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. Truth

    Hillary is the BEST candidate to fix all the issues that we have now.

    Hillary is our NEXT PRESIDENT !

    Go Hillary ! We will be with you !

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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