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. Chris

    What Andrew has realized is that if the to have any hope of regaining its standing as a moral power, it has to have Obama. Americans are talking about experience, but using that same logic, Laura Bush can run for president based on her eight years in the White House. Hilary will do anything to split the party. She "misspoke"about sniper fire,wants to give a quick fix to the gas crisis just to be elected and is stoking the fires in Florida. This woman makes Lady Macbeth look like a new born pacifist. She will bring the same Rambo style to the White House and on the world stage instead of the measured,contemplative style that is needed right now. As a democrat, I will NEVER vote for her.

    May 1, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  2. Tony

    This man loves his country. Can't you see a trend? Those people who are close to Hillary are jumping ship and one has to ask ....WHY?

    Don't be fooled, the Clinton campaign is on a fast train to nowhere.

    Political pandering, say anything to get your votes, no substance, that is the Clinton's theme.

    May 1, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  3. Midwest, New Generation Democrat


    Lets See What the Polls of Polls will say now!!!

    My generation WILL vote for Obama because he has moved beyond "America" with his campaign... We Have Global issues... Leaders in the Foreign World would like to see the UNITED STATES of AMERICA elect a President that'll work with them on the hard issues and not a President who thinks they deserve the position...

    EARN IT HILLARY! What are you teaching the next generation?

    Chicago, IL

    May 1, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  4. The O

    Now this is funny that not one of Obama backers have left him but several Clinton backers have left her. this says alot more then that old dumb republican trick of divide and conquer. It worked with Al gore and
    John kerry, Are we going to let it happen again? and let John mccain be the next president. People we need to get our heads out of our back sides and think!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  5. Jeff

    i was sort of expecting a little bit better showing from these democratic canidates. So far, all I have seen is, "Treachery", "Elitist comments", and just total lack of common sense when it comes to running a campaign. I was all set to vote democrat this year, but their inability to produce a canidate that actually knew what they were getting themselves into is just ridiculus. They chose their "Poster Boy", and their "Queen". Instead of looking at someone with proper experience and proven integrety, they went with two jokers who would do nothing but make the history books as "The first _____ President.

    May 1, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  6. victor

    It's time to make a decision in this race. the majority of Americans want to get back to the issues that affect them most. the Superdelagates are seeing this. Enough with the petty stuff.

    May 1, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  7. Cody

    The more prominent demorcats and superdelegates that call for a quick resolution to all of this, the better. I'm an Obama supporter, and I do want him to win, but mostly I just want all this nonsense to end.

    HIllary supporters, think about this critically. If your candidate does not win, why would you not vote for the person who you yourselves say is almost identical to her on every issue? The person she will no doubt support? Why instead would you vote on a person who is opposite her on every issue?

    May 1, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  8. Tom Swift, Shopton USA


    Looking forward to the Democrat Convention. Should be good TV.


    McCain '08


    May 1, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  9. Mike - Texas

    That's funny, rats usually jump from a sinking ship, not board it.

    May 1, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  10. Travis from Chattanooga, TN

    Yes Why?? Why back a canidate with so much controversey and unknown background. I'm sure the Obama campaign is behind all of this. Especially since its coming from a state that votes Tueday.

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

    wow, just wow

    May 1, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  12. Ann,PA

    and support for Obama means letting Wright into the white house cause he isn't going anywhere, He'll be back and they will be another speech and another distractions

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

    Obama is a joke. He isn't qualifiedto be president of the United States. Why can't people see that? Hillary Clinton has the better shot of becoming president and she is better prepared for the job. Would we really feel safe with Obama as president. I for one wouldn't feel safe at all. I would rather have McCain, whom I really dislike. At least with him I would feel a little safer, rather than Obama. Hillary for President!!

    May 1, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  14. Kim, PA

    one man switching is NOT going to make the country switch....
    just another bad decision in my book!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    obama's been a thorn in the campaign, his personal issues rude to the country, and now one man tries to convince us by switching to this catastrophic campaign.....


    Hillary 08! that's what's best for America!

    May 1, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  15. Incoming Sniper Fire


    May 1, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  16. HEIDI

    Hillary any comment?

    May 1, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  17. Claire

    A wise man, A wise choice, it's better late than never. CNN normally do not put my comments up. I HOPE THIS TIME YOU WILL. "YES W E CAN"

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

    The one who can see thru trivial diversions... Better for the country...

    You need sacrifice something for greater good... Sometimes your connections...Sometimes put your prejudice aside and give it a thought....

    May 1, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  19. Keya Hall

    I guess if Clinton won't step aside, the Dems are willing to move her. Whoa... That's GANGSTER!!

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

    Joe Andrew is not news – he is just a has been whom I have never heard of till today... Clinton still Leads and in the end she must win if we are to have our country back. Obama is just another nobody whom has never lifted a finger on any bills or anything worth knowing about. Obama will never get my vote even if hillary clinton stood in my living room and asked me to, he is just downright unamerican and I cannot support anyone who acks like he is better than other.. Im voting only for clinton in the dem party ticket and its not cause she has strung this thing this far out its because I have supported her since she stood at the dnc in 2004 and more presidental than any other person on that stage. Obama has damgaged this party and it is not becasue he is black that I am not voting for him its beacase he has no experience and does not understand what it is to be small town American and he will never understand what it is that makes America great. OBAMA not HIllary has single handed distroyed the dem party for me and my family who has faught for this party since I could remember. I never thought I would see the day when voting for a republican would cross my mind if the unthinkable should happen.

    May 1, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  21. Kris from AZ

    It is all too clear with the type of campain Hillary has been running and the positive campain Obama has been running and I might add barack's campain has been running CONSISTANTLY. CONSISTANCE is what we need in the White House.

    May 1, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  22. Lovjoyme/Janet

    So many people are focusing on Rev Wright. When the main stream media needs to focus on the comments that Pat Buchanan made on March 21, on MSN.. We deserve and answer!

    May 1, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  23. Jewish Women for Obama

    OMG, another Judas?

    Thanks for showing good judgment, Mr. Andrew!

    Obama 2008 & 2012

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

    Everyone is free to do what they want. About superdelegates having to back the candidate that won their state, I think, is a bunch of rubbish. If the supers can't overturn the people, then they really have nothing to add. Just the popular vote would do... I believe the supers should start endorsing HILLARY more. Obama is all about rhetoric. HILLARY is the real deal!

    May 1, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  25. Well Inform

    To all those that claim Rev. Wright would destroy Sen. Obama opportunity to connect with the American People this should serve as a lesson that we are tired of the same old politics and looking for a new direction and the only person to offer that right now is Sen. Obama. And to those dems who state he has no experience I would advise them to go back to their history books and review it because our founding fathers also did not have the experience; however they had vision and knew they needed a change from the old way.I applaud Mr. Andrew for his courage and hope others will finally see the light and join Sen. Obama.

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