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. Hawkeye

    He can not back a liar. Foul mouthed and afraid to set Billy straight on his too many affairs. Yes those are personal matters, but they mean a whole lot more than what their minister said. Wake up America. A John Edwards supporter.

    May 1, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  2. Des,Toronto

    Welcome Joe Andrew you are right. Now John Edwards where are you? Cannot go along with Elizabeth and support Hillary because it contradicts all you stand for, against lobbyists and for the poor...remember two americas? Now just have a simple family disagreement and go with your heart and conscience and support Obama for the good of the USA.

    Canadian for Obama

    May 1, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  3. Kenneth M

    With the way things are going Obama may depend on the Super Ds for the nod. I boubt he wins Indiana or a large win in NC. But I am rooting for him.

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

    Thank you Mr. Andrew.

    May 1, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  5. Mentor

    Obama ads are good in NC. Right on target...Dont believe polls...NC is for Obama...

    May 1, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  6. e

    Obama is a joke! Why can't people see he is not qualified to be preident. He doesn't even respect our country. Hillary Clinton is the best person for the job and is more electable. Obama is all talk, that's all he is. HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT.

    May 1, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  7. Bill in Idaho


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

    Well, I take my hat off to Mr. Andrew.
    It's not easy to go back on such a public decision, and those who want to find fault will no doubt make themselves heard, but I for one respect a person with the courage to openly follow what their hearts tell them – that Barack Obama is a man whose time has come.

    May 1, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  9. Ricardo Williams

    If politics is about personal attacks then so be it, but for a Country on the brink of recession and fading quickly from being the Leader of Nations to being the foot-stool of nations it is time to choose a President who will make a difference on the issues. It is time to bring in the new and out with the old. It is time for Obama.

    May 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  10. Ron L

    No matter how you look at it...THIS IS BIG!!

    WHY you may ask??

    Because it is another PARTY LEADER saying to himself that while he may admire the fact Hillary is a fighter. It is somethimes smarter to think of others instead of your own personal gain.

    If you look at Hillary OBJECTIVELY she has said things about Obama that are TRUELY arguments that the Republicans CAN and WILL use against him.


    Find ONE statement that Barack has said against hillary that imply she is NOT ready to be President!!!

    Hillary has started to drift to the DARK SIDE of politics and THAT is why she will not win...People are really tired of it.

    May 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  11. rose, texas

    this superdelegates need 2 look @ the big picture, hillary is the only 1 that beat mccain come november. all this people switching r going 2 regret it when mccain is @ the white house come january., just wait and see. go hillary u can win..... if some of this people wake up before it's 2 late.

    May 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  12. diane l. Pryslak

    CNN continues to do the Obama Hop. He has shown he is not electable and yet your news service continues to do a job on Hillary Clinton. I find there is something smelly about this whole campaign and I no longer feel like my rights are being protected-I used to have a voice along with millions of others but now CNN and the other agencies of visibility have taken that right into their own medium. Stop telling the public who is best for them just give the news. We are perfectly capable of choosing for ourselves. I think the Federal government should investigate all of you "news" agencies–I believe the Public would be very interested in their fimndings.

    May 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  13. M.S. Indiana

    Welcome to camp Obama Sir Joe Andrew, good time to make up your mind on where you stand....

    The boat will be leaving soon, people better jump on board, before we set sails for the white house

    May 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  14. pb Voter


    May 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  15. Val

    All the attacks on Obama have made him a stronger person. They only helped to better prepare him for november because the republicans will have nothing to bring that has not been thrown at him already. Now Democrats are begining to see the light on this guys. So Hillary supporters are begining to joing the bus and push one candidate to beat McCain. I hope they switch soon enough to gather the momentum against republicans.

    May 1, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  16. Cindy in Pennsylvania

    It is scary the lack of intelligence in the decisions our Washington leaders make. How could anyone go to Obama's side with all these recent events? Going back to his wife's statement about how she felt about this country turned me off and from that point on, I have never felt right about Obama. Hillary is the only candidate that has intelligence and we Americans can relate to and have TRUST in. – Obama and his background scares the heck out of me that he would be running for president. If he becomes the nominee, I will not vote in the general election.

    May 1, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  17. DemsintheFall

    Though Obama has been shown to be quite human, its his humanity that draws people in a way that HIllary clearly lacks....... He will get my vote.

    May 1, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  18. Bibo

    go on .. Obama.. this is our time to change America for the better.. as It used to be..years ago before the clinton and Bushes arrived..
    Hope is Everything...

    May 1, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  19. Damion K. Miles

    This is definitely a good sign for the party. I am a Barack Obama supporter, wholeheartedly. I think that the superdelegates are doing the same math that the rest of the country is doing – except for Hillary and her camp, that is. Regardless of what happens with the upcoming primaries, she cannot win. At best, she can say that she's not a quitter. We know this already, Hillary. GOOD JOB!!!! Now, quit already! You're campaign has gone from why you should be President to why he shouldn't be. That's not the way to win. I only hope more superdelegates pick up their math books, too.

    May 1, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  20. Michael - DE

    Wonderful!! Keep on coming we love it!
    SD stop standing at the sideline. Please join the winning team that has the best chance. Best run campaign, Most funds, Candidate with Integrity, Candidate that wants to unite the entire USA and world, Candidate that has motivated those who would have otherwise feel disenfranchized and not get involved with American politics, Candidate that wants to empower ordinary people, working bottom up not top down!
    Come on people lets finish the race and face McCain!

    May 1, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  21. Bob

    Translation – my switch was planned for some time, and the Obama campaign is pulling the trigger now because they sense their campaign unraveling, and it's time to go back to the "Hillary must quit for us to win" argument.

    May 1, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  22. PAM

    You're the only way this party can reunite.

    May 1, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  23. Sam

    Way to go. Go choice. Obama take care of her in Indiana and NC and it's over.

    Obama 08. Yes We Can!

    May 1, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  24. Renee Las Vegas NV

    This is Excellent news! I often wonder why people defect from Hillarys campaign.
    If my memory serves me right. I don't remember anyone defecting from Obamas camp. That speaks volumes

    May 1, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  25. WallyWutMD

    Ooo... That's gotta sting. Sorry Hill-Billy, but your goose is cooked. There's not enough stupid voters left in the remaining contests to help drag your flailing campaign out of the mud hole your acustomed to waddling in.

    May 1, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
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