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. He should talk

    How many states did McGovern win in the GE, the Superdelegates better think twice, about who can beat McCain in the GE we do not want another McGovern race.

    May 7, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Democrats unite

    Once again McGovern mans up and does the right thing! Hope the Clintons will listen – we have to stop this bickering and unite the party against the real enemies, McCain & the Republicans.

    Obama 08 & 12

    May 7, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Ginny E

    Why is the total of the IN primary showing each candidate's % –
    totals 100% in IN and only 98% in NC – someone needs to check their math – get with it. GO OBAMA!!!!

    Hilary should not be allowed to buy a candidacy – the only reason she has won in the big states she keeps boasting about – is the big vote for her are Republicans taking that rat Rush Limbaugh's advice. Someone needs to take him off the air.
    I do not think Republicans should be able to vote in a Democratic primary and vice versa.

    May 7, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    It's way PAST time for Clinton go go away..... I just wish the GOP would go away too. I'm going to be sick paying their $10 trillion deficit for the rest of my life.

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. ABG

    If Obama is the Democratic nominee, then Senator McGovern's endorsement will prove to be an omen of his own failed candidacy.

    The voters went with emotion and "ideals". I was one of them. All it got us was a landslide loss in 1972.

    Barach Obama cannot win without the votes of the Clinton supporters.

    All eyes are on him and the DNC to do what is fair with Florida and Michigan!

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. Indiana man

    enough is enough- get this lady out now

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. OBAMA 08

    I totally agree. Senator Clinton is running on false hopes, and she needs to leave the race. Not only is she out of touch with reality, her supporters are obviously being mislead into believing that she has a chance. That might be the majority of the uneducated and over 65 years of age group that she based her campaign on, that seem to be following her sinking ship to the bottom of the ocean.

    Obama 08

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Derick from ATL

    That's a wise man right there, interested in the well-being of the Democratic party, more so than self-ambition.
    People keep talking about how Obama is unelectible, and how he is leading because of the black vote.
    Indiana is over 90% white, and yet he lost by less than 2%. He won so many other states that were predominantly white. So, there it is. It is Barack all all the way. Well, spoken, Mr McGovern.

    Clinton, quite and support Barack: that's the noblest thing to do

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Tom

    Where is Hillary's momentum?

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. remember her campaign fraud?


    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Alfredo Sangil

    He is the one who should go and not Hillary.

    Obama again overspent and still loses.

    Hillary won consecutively in Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvannia and Indiana while Hillary cut Obama's lead in North Carolina from 20% in February down to 14% only.

    Good job Hillary. Wake up superdelegates!

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. GCG - Austin, TX

    Okay, I'm a little disturbed by the last line, "McGovern told the AP he will call former President Clinton to inform him of his decision."

    McGovern should be calling HILLARY, not BILL. SHE is the candidate, SHE is the one that was working hard to get her message out to the American people, SHE should be given the respect that is her due for him to call her directly and not proxy through her husband.

    Regardless of who you support in this nomination process, this seems like a slap in the face and is inappropriate. I hope that the AP simply misquoted him.

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. TR

    The first of many to jump from the sinking Clinton ship and land on the Obama life raft.

    Hillary's really damaging what little of her reputation remains. Bow out now – for your sake and all of ours.

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. pat

    this is a sad time in are history, when ninty one persent of the black population only vote for the black man, who says this isn t racies, all you superdelacates don t abandon her now she is the only one that can beat mccain in the fall obama has to much baggages in his past an present that we don t know about. you can bet the gop will blow him out of the water, an win this election.

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. Marlie


    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Terry Williams

    I think it is time for Hillary supporters to work hard to make sure Obama is destroyed in the general election so that Hillary wins the presidency in 2012.

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Davkat

    .....another one bites the dust......stay tuned, more to come.

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. Obama is the man

    and so it begins... now the supers just need to step up to the plate.

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. RickytheGriff

    Everyone... it's over for Hillary. Let's work together to stop John McCain and the politics that have ruined our country for the past eight years.

    It's the decent, American thing to do.

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. Jake, California

    Brave for good Senator, I hope other patriotic Americans will see the light and follow suit. Hillary can't go any further because all the big states are done and she's behind in everthing...delegates, popular votes, national standing against McCain etc.

    I have no idea what she's looking for at the moment.

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. T Brown

    She will not go until she completely destroys Obama .

    May 7, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. mr. reality

    i dont think this willl be enought to convience her.... i think it will take God coming down and telling her to bow out.

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. Gerald in Monroe Co. WV

    Way to go George, you are the first to ask her to do the right thing. Now others will find it easier to also do the right thing.I was so proud to be a West Virginian when you carried our state.

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Peggy, Greensboro NC

    Let some more cries of "Judas!" ring out!

    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Ed, Santa Fe NM


    May 7, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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