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. Blayze Kohime

    Its time for Hilary Clinton to put the nation ahead of herself, though I realize that's hard for any politician to do.

    Still, I think if positions were reversed, Obama would have bowed out gracefully by now.

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Lisa

    It's not time to quit until ALL voters have had a chance to participate in their primary or caucus. That would be a violation of American voters' rights. How can you justify that some states are more important than others just because their primaries were held earlier?
    I am amazed at the stupidity and blatant nerve of these politicians to suggest this.

    American isn't a democracy unless all voices are heard.

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Carolyn Rose

    It is time for her to go. She is depleting our energy. It most likely has not occurred to her that for how many people support her, there are just as many and more who do not. She seems to forget that we favor Senator Obama and places no value on our wishes. She is also making the democratic party look desperate with weak leadership. She is burning bridges. What little interest I had in her is long gone.

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Lana

    Listen to him Hil

    The writing is on the wall.

    Stick a fork in it. You're done

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. Ambrose

    It's a wise decision. No need for Clinton to stay in the race except she has not finished cutting all Obama's tail so he can run faster with no more tail for any one to hold come November.

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Super D

    We'll now see if other prominent Dems step up to the plate and finally tell Hillary...."enough" "game over"

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Bitter

    He was irrellevant when he ran, still is. But he's correct.

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. MC, Pa

    It's coming!

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. slindsley

    Wise advice from a wise man...

    When people like McGovern who aren't even superdelegates start doing this sort of's pretty obvious where things are heading.

    Obama 08

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. faboomama

    I'm still floored by this. Clinton was supposed to campaign in SD with McGovern by her side. That'll be awkward.

    May 7, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Al

    The Republicans are not talking about letting every vote be counted. They have McCain all ready to go. McGovern seems to be trying to unite the party for a hard fight with McCain. Brave man in my book.

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. peter

    Hi everyone. I have to make it clear after everything we ve been through and all the unfair treatments Hillary has to encounter from Obama and the press, I frankly cannot bring myself to vote for him. Everyone from my family and I will only vote republican if Obama gets the nomination. Ok, he can use all the dirty tricks to get the normination; but I will see how he can win when half of the Hillary votes go republican. Furhtermore, if Obama loses, Hillary can try again in 4 years. I would rather that than to handle our country to a pretentious liar who has no experience and only knows sweet talking.

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. meg

    It's OVER!!! stop scaife/fox/abc/cnn conspiracy most votes most states most delgates Momentum, BIG state! Unite and show u in DNC not RNC let rush/billo/hannity/dobbs rub that salt in their wounds bunch racist kkk geeks. BHO all the way he killed her in NC.

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. bill in nyc

    drip, drip, the dam finally ready to break?!

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. APS in Hawaii

    This election year is not about letting the people decide. It is about letting the news media and elitists tell the people what to do. So much for every vote counts. Disgusting!!! I will never vote for Obama, and the DNC has just let McCain win. Unbelievable, Obama so substance, all slogans. This election process has been a SNL special.

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. kris

    good job..we running out of time.

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. park more

    He can decide for himself. After what happen in Indiana even with a lot of irrigularity of vote process (similar to Florida) Hillary did very well. We cannot let this happen and Obama is not the right one

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. CLS

    McGover is from the Mount Rushmore state - South Dakota.

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. Indiana man

    She wont drop out until she completely divides the democratic party so the rebuplicans can stay in the white house
    barack has been the nominee for two months now .
    its time for the superdelegates to back up what the american people has said by there support for obama.
    hilary has done way to much damage already to the party

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Rebecca

    This is the first of many. Time wake up Hill-Billys. Your negative bashing got you nowhere.

    May 7, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Countdown...

    It has started...

    Time to unite, time to heal the party, time to defeat McCain.

    Yes we can and Yes we will!!!!

    May 7, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. GeCnn

    Let her finish the line she wants. It is ironic that the party set the rule and right now they want to change it because they dislike the current situation. This is why we cannot trust any politician, since every single one of them is a typical flip-flop either explicitly or implicitly inside out.

    May 7, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Terry from VA

    Yeah Baby! Turn out the lights that party is over.

    May 7, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Peter

    Thanks, Senator McGovern, but there's no reason that Senator Clinton, the better qualified, more experienced candidate, should drop out prior to the convention.

    May 7, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. deborah

    And to think I voted for this guy in 1972. If Sen Clinton isn't at least on the ticket in November, I'm writing in Mickey Mouse and Scrooge McDuck, at least Mickey will make sure the line at the unemployment office keeps moving and Scrooge will do something about the deficit.

    May 7, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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