(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.
its about time someone come out and say something
Another loser like Richardson for Obama...imagine that.
WOW! I'm speechless. This in addition to Tim Russert saying that it's over for Clinton and Obama is the nominee.
I have a feeling that the superdelegates are going to start flooding over to Obama. Get your umbrellas!
Yes We Can!
I agree. It's obvious that it's over. Aside from that fact, it's obvious in the way she's run this campaign of how she'd run this country. Economy would be shot..
Hmmm I wish the Super Delegates man and woman up. What's up with Edwards. He does not have the balls to endorse the obvious winner in his state and to think that he could have been a possible candidate for President. No thank you.
Ouch, that hurts!
Hillary had a good run but she do the right thing and quit the race so there is time to reunite the Democratic Party.
McGovern for President!!!
Oooh wait... riiiight...
Correction....its been time to go!!
Obama for President 2008
Thank you, George, for trying to encourage the Clintons to accept reality.
I believe Hillary must be hoping to earn a lot of money by writing a book about her campaign, and that's why she doesn't want to bring it to a close yet.
The superdelegates could end this today if they wanted to.
Someone said the begiining of the end for the Clinton's era
He's right – time to go.
You've put up a great fight, but there's a time to say "Uncle", & that time is now. Bring your party together for the sake of the American people. PLEASE!
That is greta news,keep them comming
It's becoming clear that the Clintons are quickly losing a lot of their friends. Both Hillary and Bill have run a campaign based on fear and division. They have also lost a lot of respect from Democratic voters.
Yes, George. It's time to euthanize Eight Belles' campaign.
Its been fun Hillary...you were a great contender, but it's time to go.
Good luck with all your future endeavors. I will be a huge supporter of yours in whatever you chhoose to do.
I'm not a Clinton fan by any means, but good for her for staying in the race.
That is great news,keep them comming
maybe if we give Clinton a moment to come to that conclusion herself she'll be able to exit gracefully; otherwise you're gonna back her into a corner and her ego is likely to push her to continue in this race at all costs.
give her a moment of opportunity for pause.
Obama please step down. There is more issues that will be displayed with more proof of your lack of respect for this country.
Bye Bye Clintons!...Look out McCain!
Super Delegates hear a WHO!!!
it's Iron Man......
Lets now get ready for the general election against John mc Cain.after all the damage that Hillary have done to Sen.Obama and the democratic party.its now time for healing and reconciliation.