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. ovitshio Branco

    May God bless you and bless America for your way of thinking

    that something good is coming for America

    May 1, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  2. Marisa

    Every time Senator Clinton improves her poll numbers, the pressure from the Obama camp starts with superdelegates switching camps. Now, that we know she is not giving up, and nobody in the party has the courage to tell her to stop, this is the way the situation is handled. If you were in the rally here in Charlotte, you'd know it's been downplayed but not unnoticed.

    May 1, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  3. margeret

    Yeah another JUDA......This will cost the Democrats big if Hillary doesn't get the nomination I will personally campaign for MCCain
    I rather see a republican than a RACIST like the hipocrit obama

    May 1, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  4. MM/FL

    I admire your courage Sir!

    May 1, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  5. FrankS

    Good Job Joe Andrew! I wish all the supers would finally come out from under that rock they have been hiding or get off that fence they have been sitting and watch the democratic party to disintegrate itself. Pick a side already !

    May 1, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  6. Chic

    Good deal, remember Billary is the one that has divided the voters because of MI and FL. All candidates agreed that those vote wouldn't count but now that she needs them she injected separation in the voters minds.

    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. Gregory L. Green

    Smart move..........Just another indication that this race is decided. Obama '08.

    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. Barack Obama Supporter from Lawrence Kansas


    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  9. Carlie

    Another superdelegate worth his salt! Previous DNC Chairman to boot.

    America needs Obama now more than ever! Godspeed!

    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  10. Seth (FL)

    Obama needs this. All the distractions need to be pushed away, and everyone needs to focus on the reality of the situation: Obama is the right choice. That said, I personally will support either candidate in the fall. Either one is better than McCain. For those Democrats who say they will not vote or will vote for McCain if their candidate of choice is not selected, please wake up. Democrat first, Clinton/Obama supporter second.

    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  11. Cecilia,Calgary,Canada

    Awesome!true friends stick with you during hard times!

    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. Former Clinton Supporter

    Obama is the only way that this party can unite. He's running a good campaign and instead of attacking his opponent, he's attacking their policies, which is what this race should be about. I'm saddened by the Clintons and can't imagine that America would put her back into the white house.

    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  13. ChicoSez

    Jumping on a sinking ship doesn't show very good judgement. I don't know what Obama is promising these people but he'll never get a chance to pay off because he's going to lose in Nov. Obama is another Dukakus/McGovern and why does the dem party keep nominating these losers? If Clinton isn't the nominee, I and many other dems are going to leave the party. Wait and see.

    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  14. Kim

    It is good to see someone using sound judgement instead of just listening to the negative. I know many people who are Obama supporters. With all the negative being shoved down our throats by the media, it is getting harder & harder remember Barack's message of hope.

    I can only hope that Barack can move forward with his campaign & do so by going back to his original message that made me drive 200 miles to another state to see him at a rally in Iowa. Was the most hopeful I had been in many years. I believe that Barack can help us all build back up the foundation of this country. It is what most parents want. Build a strong foundation for our children & our grand-children.

    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. henrie alabama


    May 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  16. carl

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

    May 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  17. yes we can

    you add a whole new meaning to the word CHANGE.

    May 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  18. Lynn Waldrip

    Great.! Smart move!

    May 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  19. Jason

    Obama isn't "Losing Ground" on any scoreboard that counts. Keep that in mind over the next few days. The polls released to the public aren't worth the paper on which they are printed.

    May 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  20. DrFill

    Another one wakes up and smells the coffee.
    Congrats! And welcome aboard!
    Hopefully the people of Indiana follow his true leadership.

    May 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  21. Glenn "Bakersville, NC."

    Even after the Rev. Wright reflash, he's still picking up superdelegates. When is the nonsense of people saying he is not electable going to stop???

    May 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  22. Jon

    Go Joe!

    May 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  23. tom, Boston

    Listen up CNN. You quote KARL ROVE

    May 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  24. jimmy

    you've switched to the losing team – you aren't following the news unless of course you are and Obama needed this to help boost him in the polls.

    Obama cannot and will not win. You are cementing the block closed on the vault and the dems are sure to lose in November.

    May 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  25. Carmel

    Way to go OBAMA !!! We got your back ......We the peolple. We'll prevail

    May 1, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
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