May 7th, 2008
11:43 AM ET
6 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. Wayne

    McGovern is from SOUTH Dakota! I am from SD as well and am proud of him for doing what is right for the party. It is time to unite behind Obama!

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. NC Voter

    So, you are planning to 'remain a good friend' of the Clintons? I hope they feel the same way towards you... Good Luck with that! :)

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. Tony Z- MD

    Thank you!

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. Twinkie

    NOVEMBER HERE WE COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! COME ON DEMOCRATS, TIME TO GO AFTER MCSAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO MORE FIGHTING, NO MORE SCRAPING BETWEEN US!!!!!
    Iraq, Jobs, Economy, Education, HealthCare, etc, etc, etc!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Obama 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Liberty

    Don't make that phone call, George. Trust me- you don't want to hear the shrill bitterness come out of the Clintons' mouths.

    Just send a nice email.

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    I could not agree more. For the sake of the democratic party and the country Clinton needs to come to grips with reality and drop out now!

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Vee

    I personally feel Hillary should stay until the end of the race

    May 7, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. jay

    Thanks at least someone is using there head..

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Jackson

    I expect more of the same in the coming days. It's time Hillary. Fantastic run, but it's time.

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Fabienne

    Finally some wisdom comes out of all this! it was about time that someone close to the Clintons tell Hillary to step aside. And it's better she does it now. She should endorse Obama the earliest possible in order to unite the democratic party.

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Marty

    These super delegates need to decide if they want a democrat or McCain in the white house. Clinton is the only one that has a chance to win the election. The black vote will NOT carry the general election.

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Gail

    Who cares what he says? He is not even a super delegate? Then sit down and shut up.

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Brian

    At this point it appears clear that Hillary is simply staying in the race to try to get back some of the money she has lost in "loans" to her campaign. After her last ditch gutter politics and pandering have not worked she just has to hang in long enough to make her money back.

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. Marie in California

    McGovern was a joke in 1972....and he still is. Obama is the 2008 version of "McGovern".....and he'll suffer the same fate as George should he get the nomination.

    Go Hillary! All the way to the White Hosue!

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. RJK

    And on que... Open the flood gates!

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Xavier, St. Louis, MO

    Smart MAN! Please try and talk some sense into this psychotic politician's head.

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Mary, North Carolina

    SPLASH!!!!

    The Tide Has Turned!! As Hillary Would Say!!!

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Lorna, NY

    Will the super delegates come out today?

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. bob in L.A.

    He said this 2 months ago- must be the dementia that made him repeat himself

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. mike, texas

    Welcome to winning team !

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. NC for Obama

    We plead with HRC to come on board so that the party can be united against McSame.

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. bob

    Its over hilary

    May 7, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Jeff

    Come on Hillary, do the right thing.

    May 7, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Jon

    Obama is ready to McGovern this country!

    LOCK IT UP!

    May 7, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. LT for Obama

    The best argument to support McGovern is to get the superdelegates to finally overwhelmingly support Barack Obama and end this travesty.

    May 7, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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