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. Charlie

    Looks like the people are coming to their senses and realizing this thing needs to stop.

    May 1, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. Bitter Woman in NYC

    SEE, even someone close to the Clintons are switching to Obama. What does this mean? HE would know best how dangerous the Clintons are to the democratic party.

    Thanks Joe!

    Go Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  3. Raihan Islam, PA

    Another "Judas!" And the reason it shouldn't be looked that way? This country and its government– particularly the way the government changes this whole world, matters. A friendship and support for political gain is the wrong way to go. Valuing friendship is important, but this isn't about friendship and reciprocation, this is about changing the world for the better. Supporters on either side, let's not be negative about what has happened here. Seeings things like "superdelegates don't matter" or "haha, look what just happened!" don't reflect the positive attitude we need to keep to become stronger people in this world. Negative attitudes are contagious. Simply put, it makes a huge difference that Obama got this endorsement from someone who originally supported Clinton, and as time progresses, the truth is put out there, but we realize a negative attitude is not the way to move forward.

    May 1, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  4. SR, CA

    Thank you, Mr. Andrew. Hopefully the rest of the superdelegates make the same sensible decision, before it is too late.
    SR, CA

    May 1, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  5. lol

    the dnc always backs the losers, gore, kerry, now obama. small town americans (aka biter people) will decide this election. obama is sinking fast in the polls. hillary can beat mccain, obama is to divisive!

    May 1, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  6. LeeJ

    The Clinton campaign is "circling the drain" which means this very arrogant and determined woman will start clawing and scratching like never before.
    There are few things more dangerous and careless than a Clinton with nothing to lose.

    May 1, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  7. Anthony

    This has become such a circus and the media is feeding the divisiveness. Let's all realize what is at stake for this country and stop watching this very long horror flick.

    It's time to move on and Joe Andrew is one of many ready to step up to the plate.

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

    He will be the reason McCain will win. OBAMA CAN NOT WIN IN NOVEMEBER. Look at the new polls.

    Stand behind Hillary. She is our only hope. Obama will not win and Hillarys supporters (at least half I would think) will not vote for Obama. He will NEVER win. NEVER!

    Vote smart people, Vote Hillary!

    May 1, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  9. Katie

    The Clinton's will probably try to bribe him.

    At least someone is thinking about what is best for the Democratic party AND America AND the world. OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT ALL THE WAY!

    May 1, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  10. Eric Palmer

    I think Mr. Andrew is out of line and out of touch. He states that, "We simply cannot wait any longer..." to chose a Democratic nominee but that logic is seriously flawed. The Primary Elections should be realized to the very end, that is simply the process that has been set forward by the DNC and frankly the democratic way – the people should be heard.

    If folks are concerned about the time line not allowing for a significant amount of time between the convention and the General Election then maybe they should direct their ire at Howard Dean and the other party leaders that set the Convention date so, so late in the season. Furthermore, both candidates have been very apt and consistent in their criticism of the current administration's policies and stances of the GOP nominee in their bids for a change in the direction for this Nation that they should already be well prepared and vetted for the Fall Election.

    I do not think that party officials/super delegates should act so rashly before the actual people have had their voices heard. I also believe that the DNC has a lot of explaining to do to all Americans who voted in Democratic Primaries this year as to their inability to do damage control on this Super Delegate issue and most importantly the disenfranchisement of Florida and Michigan voters.

    It is time for a rule change and certainly a time for a change in leadership in the DNC. Finally, I would urge any other Super Delegate who has already commited to a candidate to wait until the last Primary Election has been held to potentially change their support.

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

    So this guy is a liar and a coward. Last year when Clinton seemed to be unbeatable he pledged for her. Now when it looks like Obama may be unbeatable he switches. He chose the timing just to sandbag Clinton at a crucial junction in time. People like this and Obama supporters in general are what have helped me to make up my mind to abandon the Democratic Party in favor of republicans if Obama becomes the nominee. I urge all Clinton backers to do the same. Anything to defeat Obama.

    May 1, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  12. Michelle

    Obama is Carter part II.

    May 1, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  13. PA for Obama

    Joe Andrew embodies what that lapel flag pin is all about – doing the right thing for the good of the country, no matter how much heat it brings. Sen. Obama is cut from that same mold and our country has never needed this kind of political courage more than she does now.

    Meanwhile, let the Clinon Pander Bears continue their charade, including driving a big gas guzzling truck to the gas station, multiple gas-guzzling SUV's in tow, to waste fuel on a publicity stunt to garner votes. Anyone who can't see the difference between the substance Obama offers and the fluff offered by Clinton is either blind or not paying attention.

    May 1, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  14. Eric

    I feel sad for Hillary. If she would have sticked to her promise, and withdraw after a loss in Ohio and Texas (hint, hint, she lost Texas), she would have avoided those major blows. Now, as the campaign goes on, people with common sense will switch to Obama, leaving her with a bunch of lunatics who still think she can win this at the convention.

    May 1, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  15. LeeRoy

    These persons who supported Clinton to choose Obama later, I think that it's negative for the Obama's campaign. He is surrounded with the traitors. I think that he will not win in Indiana with all these manipulations.

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  16. Liz

    I think Hillary's star is rising and the show gets better every day. The longer she stays in, the better for the Dems since Obama is flaming out.

    She was awesome on O'Reilly's show last night.

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  17. Rolando Rivero

    Finally, someone has the intestinal fortitude to make a decision based on the good of the party and the county and not the good of "thyself". Senator Clinton needs to make the same decision to save her political career. Otherwise, she will be forever known as the person who brought down the Democratic Party in the year that was their destiny. I can only hope that Senator Obama wins N.C. & IN so that the rest of the Superdelegates find their fortitude.

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  18. Cee

    I am still unsure of the whole superdelegate situation. I think, in future elections, the vote should really come down to popular vote and not the superdelegates.

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  19. Obama 08

    Obama showed his judgement and honesty when he did not to take the "politically correct" stance in refusing to back the pandering "holiday" from the gas tax.

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  20. Matthew Chana

    The man can look at the candidates objectively...instead of focusing on the non-issues that are so stressed on CNN, MSNBC, etc. Obama wants to be president. Hillary wants to win. Which is better for America?

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  21. Gal

    This just goes to show that those 200 delegates that endorsed her before the race began need to rethink and re-examine their decision. Have they done what the voters are urged to do, and look at each candidate individually? If they do I think we will see many more switch. Obama has realistic views and has been honest and up front about what to expect. Out of the 2 candidates he is also the one most capable of working with both sides of the House & Senate. That is what you need to get things done.

    America loves Obama!

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  22. rachel

    these people switching back and forth just look ficle to me, no wonder nothing ever gets done in government.

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  23. Chris

    This should say something about Hillary, if her own friends, people that worked with them and people who once supported her are moving to Obama, that says something about Obama.

    How many people who have supported Obama have switched to Clinton? None.

    Also i am surprised why CNN decides not to talk about Hillary's court summon and how the Clintons went to Rev. Wright for advice during the last years of presidency.

    Hillary can't win. The math just does not add up. Even for superdelegates. She will need to get 6 delegates to 1 for Obama in order for her to win superdelegates.

    Keep us amused, Hillary

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  24. Linda

    At least someone has the guts to see what hilliary is all about and not let her lies and rudeness cont. major mistake hilliary,so what are you gonna do now- at least obama peoples are staying with him no one has abandand his ship yet so what do that tell people-this person see her for what she is and what she does not stand for -Great switch. For all she can talk about is rev wright get over it hilliary and move on let people are telling you, you are so hung up on wrong until it all will hang you for you will hang your own self.

    May 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  25. Jan

    Why don't these Superdelegates wait until the rest of America has voted? You could never influence my vote for Hillary in any way, shape, or form. Your candidate has too much baggage and cannot seem to stand on his own 2 feet. It seems to be one scandal and flip-flop after another. Is this what we want for the office of the President of the USA? If the so-called "educated" people want Obama-then vote for him. There are probably more of us "uneducated" smart and wise people then there are of you and we need a President that is willing to fight for us-even if you do not. Please stop blaming your candidate's flaws on the Clintons. The Obamas have no one to blame but themselves for their troubles–too many unacceptable and un-American statements by the both of them.

    May 1, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
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