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. really

    its about time someone come out and say something

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. joe

    Another loser like Richardson for Obama...imagine that.

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. Caryn, Washington DC

    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!
    Obama '08

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Terrence (Winston Salem, NC)

    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..

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. Nora, FLORIDA

    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.

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. HC

    Ouch, that hurts!

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

    Hillary had a good run but she do the right thing and quit the race so there is time to reunite the Democratic Party.

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Berat (Pronounced buh-RAHT), Park Ridge, IL

    McGovern for President!!!

    Oooh wait... riiiight...

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Independent Voter

    Correction....its been time to go!!

    Obama for President 2008

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Thank You, George

    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.

    May 7, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Val

    The superdelegates could end this today if they wanted to.

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. OB

    Someone said the begiining of the end for the Clinton's era

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. This side of the Mississippi

    He's right – time to go.

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. Evie

    PLEASE Hillary.......

    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!

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Boyan

    That is greta news,keep them comming

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Enrique, Chicago

    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.

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Brian

    Yes, George. It's time to euthanize Eight Belles' campaign.

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Obama 08

    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.

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Lisa

    I'm not a Clinton fan by any means, but good for her for staying in the race.

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Boyan

    That is great news,keep them comming

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. atypical white person

    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.

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. Richard

    Obama please step down. There is more issues that will be displayed with more proof of your lack of respect for this country.

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Northern View

    Bye Bye Clintons!...Look out McCain!
    Obama '08

    May 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. NY RICAN American

    Super Delegates hear a WHO!!!

    it's Iron Man......

    May 7, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. angelina

    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.

    May 7, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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