May 1st, 2008
12:12 PM ET
6 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. LucyAndAl

    yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay,

    May 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  2. sakki

    Excellent Move, Mr. Joe Andrew. I hope Hillary Clinton will quit soon, so as to stop the negativity and division she is creating in democratic party. Her intention is clear, if she is not elected, she is trying to get every possible way to make Senator Obama not to win the gneral election.

    May 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  3. B

    This is great !!! Barack is Back!!!!!

    Barack 08!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  4. Rashawn

    All of her superdelegates are finally seeing the light. Her strategy of letting the super delegates as well as pledge delegates to rethink their vote and that their vote isnt locked in stone isnt working for her.

    May 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  5. Tone

    Im glad people are noticing that Hillary is the candidate that is simply words, not Obama, she will say anything and do anything including destroying the party to get what she thinks is owed to her. Hillary is more of a republican that john mccain and the fact that she voted for the war with him, said that he was a better choice for president than Obama, backed mccain on the Gas Tax when everybody in their right mind knows better.

    Hillary you cant win this election with just the Beverly Hillbillie vote, no more than Obama can win it with just the African amerian vote.

    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  6. LeeRoy

    The principle of the traitor is that he has no friends. If he betrayed Clinton, he will also betray Obama some day. The team of the traitors: Bill Richardson and all the others.

    May 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  7. carlo

    Well, at least one of Clinton's superdelegates has the foresight and common sense to see where this race is headed. He sees Hillary's shameless pandering of the electorate, which should be an insult to every voter, but people can't get past their own hatred and closed minded philosophies so they continue this sharade.

    I hope his common sense is contagious.

    May 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  8. Doc

    Its nice to see that america isn't as dumb as the media would want to make us out to be. With all this Wright stuff circulating one would get the idea that he was signing the stimulus checks, making the banks forclose on our houses, raising gas prices, and responsible for our food shortages to come. Thereby being a factor in this campaign, but that's not the case nor is the Rev an issue not now or was he ever.

    The Chairman Joe Andrew seems as though he sees that. Hopefully we will get back our government.
    OBAMA 08'

    May 1, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  9. GMan

    Joe Andrew is an IDIOT wonder how much $$ he got paid to switch. All Dems can thank him if Obama gets the nomination, cause I will vote republican.. Way to go!

    May 1, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  10. bigben

    Democratic party is a bunch of back stabbers time for a 3rd party

    May 1, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  11. Robin

    Mrs. Clinton finds more and more Judas around herself. I used to have respect for her. I don't trust her anymore.

    May 1, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  12. Peter

    Great, it seems Hillary is losing a lot of support from the superdelegates. Why can't she step down for the sake of the Democratic Party.

    May 1, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  13. BS

    The only thing sustaining Hillary and that is keeping her in the race up till today is simple – RACISM which is still being harbored by a significant number of Americans. Nothing to do with elecability!! Nobody has come forward with any solid reason why Obama is not considered electible.
    Racism is the reason why insignificant and irrelevant issues like "bitter", Revered Wright's remarks, etc is good enough to slow down the move for a true and constructive change in America!!
    Based on her messages, her mudslinging tactics, inferior policies, etc she should have lost long time ago.
    We'll see how many racist are left in the superdelegates....

    May 1, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  14. Girl 2

    Good, he finally sees Obama as the Best candiate for this country... Thank you Lord!

    May 1, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  15. Iron from Texas

    This is the right thing to do. Most of us are tired. If Hillary had been leading Obama by 10 delegates for a period of one month, Obama would have been forced out of this race. The shoe is however on the other foot. Thanks Joe Andrew for your vision and decision.

    May 1, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  16. LifeLongDemocrat

    Why go with an unvetted candidate? Makes no sense to me. We Dems will surely lose in November.

    Hillary is vetted and ready to go on day one!

    Hillary 2008/2012>>>>>>>>>>>>>>!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    May 1, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  17. Norisha

    WOOOOOWWWW!!!! I'm Loving it!!!!

    OBAMA 2008!!

    May 1, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  18. MARCI

    WHO CARES? WILL THE REAL BARRACK OBAMA PLEASE STAND UP.
    HE IS DIVICIVE AND IS RUNNING AS A BLACK PRESIDENT WHILE ALL THE TIME TRYING TO HIDE HIS PASTOR AND MENTOR OF 20 YEARS.
    I KNOW YOU WILL NOT POST MY COMMENT BECAUSE IT DOES NOT FAVOR YOUR CANDIDATE OBAMA, BUT I AM SORRY. I HAVE TO PUT OUR NATIONS INTEREST 1ST AND ABOVE OBAMAS BLACK MOVEMENT. BY THE WAY I AM BLACK ALSO.

    May 1, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  19. Th3rdpwr

    These people, clearly, know something that Clinton supporters refuse to accept, or pay attention to.

    May 1, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  20. Brewster From OC Texas

    wow... again someone else is showing incredible fortitude in the midst of all the diversions set in place. Clinton is looking more and more O'Reilly\Hannitylike each day. Her talking points are starting to mirror Fox News. Then again, she was raised in a conservative family!

    May 1, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  21. tonybama

    Yes the time is now. As Hillary continues to try to recast herself as a champion of the right, Barack has stayed true to his beliefs.

    Once the press stops focusing almost entirely on this Wright story, the truth will be obvious.

    May 1, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  22. arts traveler

    I am an artist that tours all over the country that has been to three states since Saturday alone. Everywhere I go, patrons of the arts and colleagues alike have recently made donations to Obama in the wake of the Wright controversy.
    Why support Obama when Clinton is clearly gaining momentum? I think it just simply comes down to the fact that folks (real people and superdelegates alike), just don't like Clinton as a person.
    They are taking a stand and backing Obama, not only because of his message, but because they LIKE him as a person and sympathize with him as he takes punches from both the GOP and Clinton's campaign.
    People just don't like hillary, and her persistance is increasing the number of folks who can't stand her.

    May 1, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  23. Craig

    Even though I am a life-long observer of politics and politicians, it never ceases to amaze me how litle loyalty or honor there is among the group. Regardless of party or person, their ability to simply say "oh well" and cast someone aside speaks to a set of character flaws in our politicians that runs deep.

    True character and honor means you stand by the person you have said you would support – maybe this is just a symptom of the times when more than 50% of marriages end in divorce...

    Clearly folks like Joe Andrew are cast in the mould of Benedict Arnold....

    May 1, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  24. JEN 4 HILL

    JOE ANDREW IS NOT CREDIBLE!! WHO CARES WHAT HE DOES. STICK TO ONE PERSON! STOP FLIP-FLOPPING BACK AND FORTH. HILLARY DOES NOT NEED SOMEONE WISHY-WARSHY!

    May 1, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  25. scdem

    UH OH Hillary. I am glad the superdelegates are finally waking up and seeing Hillary for the wicked woman she is. I used to be a HUGE Hillary supporter last year and I can't even stand to hear her shrill voice. If she wants to run her campaign and put forward proposals that sound just like John McCains why doesn't she just drop out of the race, and ask to be his VP? The writing is on the wall Hillary, IT IS OVER!!

    May 1, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
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