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. OB

    Someone said the beginning of the end for the Clinton;s era

    May 7, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Sly Domber

    Swan SONG!

    May 7, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. howard

    Yes it is time to unify the party, the numbers say she cannot win. Its time to come to that conclusion and move on.

    May 7, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. SkyJamma

    Hilary...

    Do the "honorable" thing...and bow out gracefully, while you still can, with dignity.

    It really IS time.

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. edna

    Why doesn't she listen? Has she lost her mind? Why would she keep begging for money, when she's already lost? Geez, what a good thing, because her judgment is way OFF..

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. SAM2008

    Now I am sure will have another Bush at the white house,
    GOD HELP AMERICA

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. OB

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

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. mcd

    Let's unite behind the nominee and quit wasting her followers 30 dollars in gas money.

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. clintondestroyer

    way to george!!

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. John Young

    McGovern was certainly affected by this type of situation. Although he has little stroke, I am glad to see him come out. Although I prefer Obama, I would have voted for her if she had won. Now she's just being a spoiler and poor loser! I have lost respect for her and her tactics.

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Chicago Bobby Burns

    Hillary should have dropped out before Ohio and not caused the reopening of racial wounds to attempt to win a contest that she had already lost back then. She and Bill are not that stupid, they could do the math. It's too late now. She and Bill have done great harm. She has now commited herself to going to the end of the primaries and she will continue. It's sad really. She has damaged the prospects of many causes that I am sure she is for.

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Orlando

    By George, We love the Clintons and Hillary is a gem but I think you are Right on in this Race.

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. paulie_nj

    hi

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. vote4thebest

    This is a true disappointment that McGovern can stab a friend like this. Given that he is not a super delegate, there is no need for him to take such a public stand.

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Lee

    I really hope that the Clintons will come to their senses and show some party loyalty. All they are doing at this point is making it easier for John McCain to win.

    It's really sad for Democrats on either side of this to continue to send in money to watch Obama and Clinton slug it out, when that money would be so much better spent in the general election.

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Obama08

    na na na na, ey ey eh GOOD BYE... its over. Hillary needs to stop the circus act and stop the attempt to sabotage the DNC election..

    May 7, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Smart move

    Now or doom the DNC

    May 7, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    Thank you, Sen. McGovern!

    May 7, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. James BP

    It's over. Start rolling the credits.

    May 7, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. DemocracyNow2008

    Senator McGovern your honest and this is what Hillary needs to do stepdown and bring peace and unity to the party .
    Its time
    Obama 08

    May 7, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. libby

    OMG I wish George McGovern would have endorsed Obama first! Talk about landslide defeat for Obama in the fall.

    May 7, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Gordon

    What a traitor...
    My vote gos to Hillary , if she is not the Democratic Candidate then McCain gets my vote. No way will I vote for Obama!

    May 7, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    Earth to Senator Clinton: "You've lost."

    May 7, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. kyra

    I agree it is time for her to step down.

    May 7, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. JR

    What a wuss...

    anyone that tells Clinton she should drop out, while ignoring the upcoming primaries, are not true Americans. They are selfish and unpatriotic to our states who have not voted yet. Not to mention FL and MI.

    You democrats really are the worse political party there is.

    McCain '08

    May 7, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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