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. Go Obama

    WOW I am impressed!!

    May 7, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Right wing conspiracy

    It’s high time that the Party consolidate and gear up for Mr McCain.

    May 7, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Sharon Minnesota

    Being the ultra liberal that he is, I don't understand why he wasn't supporting Barack Obama all along. He didn't fit into the Clinton campaign message of moderation in government anyway.
    Just an old cronies who should have stayed in the past with all the rest of the radicals of his day.

    He'll make a good vice president for Obama. That's if Obama gets nominated after all his shenanigans

    May 7, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Joshua

    The first of many to come, this thing is over.

    May 7, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Oregon Dave

    She needs to drop out gracefully. Oregon will be a huge upset for her.

    May 7, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Why can't the DNC get it thru their heads. It is not so much about supporting Hillary but the fact WE DO NOT WANT A PIECE OF FLOTSOME LIKE obama get the nod. He will really really sink the party and he has splintered it already....


    May 7, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. Veterans for Obama

    Democrats Unite!

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. sozzi

    As the saying goes, turn out the lights the party's over.

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. T. MacIntosh

    . . . Hillary, you chose McGovern as your mentor, and now it is time to
    listen to him. He is teaching you the greatest lesson you will learn.
    You have to know when its time to accept defeat, and bow out gracefully
    for the good of your team, if its the team that you really care about.

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Gil

    The writing is on the wall. Mrs. Clinton bow out gracefully. You have ZERO chance of winning unless you resort to cheating. You ran a hard fought race now it's time to throw in the gloves.

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Jamaal Kansas

    Time to go Hillary give it up it is over there is no way she can win this is getting pathetic everyone should send a email to the DNC urging the supers to make a Choice!

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Herman in LA

    What will it take for her to stop and drop out? Her own supporters who are close to her are leaving.

    My goodness what is it, power, money, wanting to control the world, the fear of losing, divorcing Bill Clinton?

    So much turmoil in the white house with Bill, lobbyists, and all the others that would have control over her administration.

    Please Hillary leave so we can unite the party so that we can take on McCain.

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. west palm beach, Hawk

    I agree enough said.

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Jack, NC

    No, don't give up. Don't give up America.

    Hillary or nobody!

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Sean

    And it begins...

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Kel in Auburn, AL

    Obama 08! Yet another defection to the winning team!

    I'm predicting the diehard Hillary supporters to drop in and declare this momentous endorsement as being "totally irrelevant" in 3...2...1...

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Jeannie Cousins

    McGovern is a former SOUTH Dakota senator

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Jay Shah

    we are welcome to have your support Mr. McGovern. Thank you

    God bless america!

    Obama 2008

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Adam, Plano, TX

    expect a LOT more of this kind of thing to happen now.

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Kareem from Hampton VA

    "We've come to it at last....the board is set and the peices are moving!" – Gandalf "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. steve mack

    That should be former SOUTH DAKOTA Senator.

    May 7, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Tom Swift, Shopton


    Don't listen to him, Hillary! You MUST take this fight all the way to the convention floor... and beyond. Do not be denied what is rightfully yours.

    McCain '08



    May 7, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Bibek

    They'll all slip away one by one... Hillary can do nothing about it.

    Obama '08

    May 7, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. its Over

    wohoo!!! Welcome President Obama!

    May 7, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Buckeye

    Interesting and astute, but I'm afraid Obama's candidacy is going to be a replay of McGovern's own debacle. Remeber what happened when the college kids and ultra-liberals supported him. I do because I was one of them.

    May 7, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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