May 1st, 2008
12:12 PM ET
7 years ago

Major Clinton backer switches to Obama

CNN

Joe Andrews said he wants to see an Obama-Bayh Ticket.

(CNN) - Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew - who was appointed to that post in 1999 by then-President Clinton - is withdrawing his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and backing Barack Obama instead.

Andrew, who made a Thursday morning appearance at Obama's state headquarters in Indianapolis, said the time had come to "heal the rift in this party and unite behind Barack Obama now."

On a conference call with reporters and Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, Andrew said superdelegates need to make their decisions "now." He added that he'd like to see Obama pick Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh - a strong Clinton backer who has said the Jeremiah Wright controversy would pose general election problems for the Illinois senator - as his running mate.

"I'm going to be an advocate for an Obama/Bayh ticket," he said. Andrew will be doing local media interviews Thursday, and appearing at campaign events Friday.

Andrew released a letter Thursday morning explaining his decision. "Many will ask, why now? Why, with several primaries still remaining, with Senator Clinton just winning Pennsylvania, with my friend Evan Bayh working hard to make sure Senator Clinton wins Indiana, why switch now? Why call for super delegates to come together now to constructively pick a president?"

"The simple answer is that while the timing is hard for me personally, it is best for America. We simply cannot wait any longer, nor can we let this race fall any lower and still hope to win in November. June or July may be too late. The time to act is now."

The Indiana superdelegate served as party chairman from 1999 through 2001. He had endorsed Hillary Clinton last year, on the day she officially announced her White House bid.

With the switch, Clinton's lead over Obama among the party's superdelegates stands at 19.

Indiana voters head to the polls on Tuesday.

In response to Andrew, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, "We have seen record turnout in state after state because Democrats are excited and enthusiastic about this primary process."

"On Tuesday, Hoosiers will have their turn to come out in record numbers and support their candidate. We support that Democratic process and think that every American should be able to weigh in and support the candidate of his or her own choosing."

(updated with Andrew comments)

soundoff (650 Responses)
  1. Kelley

    Welcome aboard Mr. ANdrews, I believe with all of my being that Obama is the person to heal this nation.

    May 1, 2008 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  2. ray

    Welcome aboard sir and Thank you.
    Thank you also for the courage and confidence .
    Obama '08

    May 1, 2008 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  3. antler

    It's on!

    May 1, 2008 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  4. MovingOn

    Queue the traitor comments and gnashing of teeth from Clinton backers.

    May 1, 2008 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  5. Spider

    This is exactly why neither candidate should withdraw from the race. These superdelegates can change their minds right up to voting time at the convention.

    May 1, 2008 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  6. Michael in Ohio

    OBAMA!!!!
    OBAMA!!!!

    WE NEED A PRESIDENT WHO IS GOING TO MAKE THE "RIGHT" DESICIONS!!! OBAMA WAS 100 PERCENT CORRECT ABOUT THE GAS TAX WHILE HILLARY WAS WRONG AGAIN!!!! HOPEFULLY THE VOTERS GET IT THIS TIME!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  7. Hattie / Chicago

    NICE !!! CLINTON IS TOTALLY UNELECTABLE AND THE SUPERS KNOW IT.. THATS WHY EVEN WITH THE REV. WRIGHT STUFF... THE SUPERS DID NOT FLOOD HER WAY !!

    May 1, 2008 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  8. Vikas

    First post.

    Beginning of end for Hillary – even her appointees are abandoning her.

    May 1, 2008 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  9. LISA

    Smart man.. at least someone is thinking of the DEMOCRATIC PARTY!

    May 1, 2008 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  10. Indiana voter

    well said-- anyone who really wants the real story on hilary should pick up a copy of GLOBE in the supermarkets or newsstands now.
    i was also a hilary supporter until i read the real story on her.
    now if she is the nominee in november i will either not vote or vote for mcsame..

    May 1, 2008 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  11. Go HRC

    President Clinton 2009! Winners never give up. If Obama wants Clinton out of the race. Defeat her!

    May 1, 2008 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  12. Kim, Dallas, TX

    It's nice to know that there are some who have been within the Democratic Party that can see what this long, drawn out, negative campaigning is doing to our party. If left to go all the way through the convention we will end up losing to the Republicans. Our country cannot afford another year of a Republican government.

    May 1, 2008 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  13. Obama is da truth

    Checkmate?
    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  14. Tanya Kujath

    I am a Hillary supporter, but I am a Democrat. I will support Obama if he Is the Democratic nominee. Our Country will have a hard time surviving a third bush term.

    Hillary or Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    DEMOCRATES UNITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  15. NC for OBAMA

    Welcome to the movement!

    May 1, 2008 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  16. Ephy

    Joe Andrew: yours is a perfect, profound and clear thought Democrats should follow.

    May 1, 2008 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  17. Peter

    This says a lot. He endorsed Clinton early and was "loyal" to Bill Clinton BUT has changed his mind and moved to Obama camp to help end the race and because Obama handled the Wright-case well AND because Obama has a better solution to the gas-price crisis.

    May 1, 2008 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  18. Rosemary

    Well, winning versus the voters of all states to come. That is honorable? I thought most presidential candidates came out of the Democratic convention. Guess the Democratic leadership has forgotten what that word means? Go figure....

    May 1, 2008 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  19. Itoldyouso

    Why are the people who know Clinton the best distancing themselves from her? Is it that they know the true Hillary?

    May 1, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  20. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    I think a lot of folks are seeing the possibility of real honesty and integrity.

    Unless we can get away from lies, deceit, "games for personal gain", and the "king george" way of life icurrently n the white house, this country is lost.

    I'm happy to see some people actually think. So many live in fear and bias

    Barbara

    May 1, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  21. bill

    Mr. Andrew, have a seat next to Governor Richardson. The Clinton's will most likely start their attack on you. The kinder and gentler side of the Clinton's is now in play, so you may only get a firm spanking and not a kick to the face like the Governor did. They may unleash Carville on you as well.....

    Anyway, you have made the right decision. It must feel really nice to smell the good clear air oh the higher ground with Obama after all that gutter slime the Clinton's have made you edure.....

    May 1, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  22. Really I Mean Really

    The time has come for all men & women to wake up out if this nightmare and rub their eyes and say it was all a bad dream. Now we can move on to bigger and better things. Unite the DNC and let's get this thing done. The White House belongs to the Dem's if we just come together. Hillary must see the writing on the wall once again when you step on people to get to the top in politics it comes back to haunt you.

    The time has come to call this one. "The time now is 7:35am the patient is gone" as the Doc pulls the cover over the HRC campaign for 08

    May 1, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  23. simple thought

    this is why i'll vote republican in nov. the dem. party is a bunch of back stabing yagoos with no merit in honor. go ahead and nominate obama, he'll get the carter treatment from at least 30% of the democrat base, they like me will vote for mccain, were at war and exsperience counts...
    obama has none......... thats a simple fact..... live with your choice democrats, America wont elect this man president..............
    missouri

    May 1, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  24. Joe Schmo

    THIS IS A CLINTON BACKER FROM 1999!
    WHY DOES THE PRESS MAKE IT SOUND LIKE HE IS FROM THE PRESENT!
    CNN AND OTHER NEWS ORGANIZATIONS KEEP THE DRAMA GOING!
    THE FACT IS THAT OBAMA IS SLIPPING IN THE POLLS!
    HILLARY HAS PROVEN THAT SHE IS IN FOR THE LONG HAUL!
    SHE CAN TAKE A PUNCH AND COME RIGHT BACK!
    SHE HAS SOLUTIONS RIGHT NOW!
    OBAMA IS NOT CAPABLE OF HANDLING THE STRESS OF QUESTIONS CONCERNING HIS PAST!
    HILLARY IS THE SUPERIOR CANDIDATE!
    SHE GETS MY VOTE!

    May 1, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  25. girlscoutnut

    Hillary is winning...many voters yet to express their opinion. Gee, its so nice our democratic leadership can't follow the democratic process.

    May 1, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
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