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

Major Clinton backer switches to Obama


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. norm

    Done like dinner Hillary!! Bye Bye Billary!!LOL

    May 1, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  2. Cha Ching!

    THANK YOU for opening your eyes Superdelegate Joe Andrews!! The supers supporting Hillarity are starting to finally come to their senses. A drop leads to a trickle which eventually leads to a flood. Can't think of any supers that have left Obama's camp to go to Clinton, can you? All I can say is, drip, drip, drip! Only 19 more to catch up to her now. Okay, let's see how many he gets today on top of that endorsement. Get ready for the Hitlery drones to start spew about how unimportant this is or some other brainless drivel to downplay this momentous occasion.

    Obama '08 & 12 – Goin' all the way baby!

    May 1, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  3. scott from cincy

    Thank you Andrew...Its about time everyone is coming to the realization that he has what i takes and its time to come together for the purpose of the party....Lets get ready for the fall! OBAMA '08

    May 1, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  4. Frances

    Another one bites the dust!!! This country should pay attention. The people who know the Clintons the best are dropping thier support of her like flies and the Clinton supporters should too. Obama 08!

    May 1, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  5. Frazier, Palm Beach Florida

    Thank you for joining the winning team Sir! Yes we Can


    May 1, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  6. Harvey in Va

    another Judis

    May 1, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  7. Lolu

    It's good to see that here are still some wise people out there. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for divisiveness!

    May 1, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  8. Wise One

    You know why Obama's gonna lose?
    Cuz he's backed by Michael (Al Gore = George Bush) Moore–great filmmaker–lousy political person.
    How can Larry King do that? Let Moore come on and pummel Hillary like that?
    Obama's position in this race is FAKE. People who voted for him in Iowa will NOT vote him in come the Fall–and the story's the same elsewhere.
    Rev. Wright mirrors the Obama's dismissive attitude toward middle-aged white women.
    Michelle mocking Hillary (her house/white house) ladies against women garbage early on.
    Barack snubbing her at State of the Nation address, and then flipping her off when he performed poorly in a debate.
    And how he runs from her.
    No, he's unelectable.
    The sooner we stop this charade the better.
    But the media organizations want their campaign commercials.
    Why not just give them the money up front and end this nightmare.
    If he doesn't quit soon, get ready to salute Pres. McCain come January. BRRRR!

    May 1, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  9. J.S.

    Why???? According to the infamous polls, Obama is losing ground. Clinton, according to the polls, can beat McCain–not Obama. Sorry, but his move just doesn't make any sense–no wonder the Democrat Party is being torn apart. And yes, I'm a registered Democrt.

    May 1, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  10. Selina

    This is getting really interesting. What is it about The Clintons exactly? What is it about them that make them loose long time supporters? The Americn people need to wake up and realize we are no longer in the 90's and what worked then, probably won't work now. Bill Clinton is not going to be president again. Hillary is not Bill and so on.

    May 1, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  11. Donna

    Mr. Andrew's switch is a big mistake. What are you thinking?

    May 1, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  12. Kim

    Where has this guy been? Did the latest poll not show that Clinton had a much greater chance of winning against McCain in November?

    Why is it that Clinton is the one that should drop out? If it were the other way around, do you honestly think Obama would? No! She's gaining ground while he's losing ground. Let the primary continue and let the people have a voice in this election.

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

    DNC Chairman Joe Andrew wised up and chose to support an honest leader, who care about the American people, instead of a dishonest candidate, who will unconsciously do whatever it takes to win, even if it means lying to us.

    May 1, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  14. rj

    SWEET!!! Hoping other superdelegates jump onboard. Hoping that they can see how her negativity is ruining the party and giving McCain all the ammo he needs in November. Hoping they're smarter than the Hilbots.

    May 1, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  15. Maribel Pacheco

    Yes, it is time to do what is right and recognize that America wants change and that is what Obama will bring us. He has proved to be so trustworthy and show that he does care for American. He does not go with the flo just for polital reasons.
    Hillary actually to me, acts as if it is her and McCain against Obama. As if she is a republic. Hillary seem to want to win and do not care what it takes or who it affects..That is not right. She is not even showing that she care about the American people, but just says what she think we want to hear.
    She makes it clear when every state she goes to she says she is from that state. Honesty is the best Policy and we have our kids involved and for them to see her flat out lies..and uncaring not good.

    The polls that have came out shows the three candidates so close...but can you imagine, once Hillary steps down, then and only then those numbers will grow.
    And we here in florida, was told we did not have to vote, so while Hillary mentions the voters that came out to vote..she needs to keep in mind those that would have voted for Obama and did not.

    Thank YOu

    May 1, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  16. Frances

    Another one bites the dust!!! This country should pay attention. The people who know the Clintons the best are dropping thier support of her like flies and the Clinton supporters should too. Obama 08!

    May 1, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  17. Jose'

    white guilt

    May 1, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  18. scott

    Thats whats Nice about America we have freedom of choice. but I must say Pity is not a reason to vote for a president.
    He Lied about Wright and supported his beliefs for over 20 yrs.
    He is all talk and little action.
    He hasn't done very much as a Sen.
    and How but those foreign afair meetings. Hes done so much with that commitee he is on
    He has won all past elections by default why should this one be any different..........
    We need to look at a longterm future ........He lives in the Moment of Now.

    May 1, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  19. kayg

    It seems that there are more and more superdelegates that know the Clintons well throwing their support behind Obama. Sure makes you wonder, doesn't it. If it doesn't, it should. Don't toss the word loyalty around because that is exactly the way of politics of old. Apparently even the Washington insiders are ready for change.

    OBAMA 08!!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  20. Jon151

    this is great news! I hope the remaining superdeligates come to their senses as well!!

    OBAMA 08'!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  21. dance

    Hillary will win Indiana regardless of his last minute switch

    May 1, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  22. Jazz

    Thank goodness the Superdelegates have the welfare of voters in mind. It's obvious that Hillary and her surrogates have nothing but let her win-at-all cost in their minds.

    May 1, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  23. Gina

    Thank you, Joe Andrew! You support the will of the people, and the best choice to beat McCain.
    I hope more superdelegates realize that "controversies" surrounding Obama are child's play considering what would come out against Hillary.
    Obama is smart, doesn't pander (eg, gas tax), and has the vision and demeanor that this country needs desperately. We need someone with his kind of experience-community development, bridge building, and the flexibility to relate to all kinds of people-within our boarders and with the world at large.

    May 1, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  24. too funny

    The DNC is comprised of bulls and "girly-men" without spines.

    May 1, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  25. Peter Marr

    What position was Joe Andrew offered by the Obama campaign to make a switch just before the Indiana primary? Maybe he can head the DNC again? Maybe something even higher?

    May 1, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
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