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. EBC

    THANK YOU Mr. Andrew, welcome to the family!

    May 1, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  2. joyce

    welcome mr andrew
    you are right we need to be planning for tomorrow. and i feel mr obama will be what we need to get our country back in order and be able to get our standing back throu out the world. we are all damaged for what we have been thru for the last 16 years and it don't need to be buried, we are at a new low and we need to be lifted out of the mess
    thank you sir

    May 1, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  3. Alisa, GA

    The writing is now on the wall!!!!!

    Go Obama!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  4. Karl Lee

    Amusing!! Welcome all superDs who would like to see a change in US politics. This is the right time in History. Hillary has a credibility problem. Right. I love her as Congresswoman, but not as a President. We need more trust and honnesty.

    May 1, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  5. Sanity Check Please

    Let's Get ready to RuMMMBlllllle!

    And let the negative comments that are ripping our party apart, begin.
    (I just popped a fresh bag of popcorn, le't see what the crazies have to say)

    You would think we were republicans.

    Hillary or Obama 2008
    (Let Florida Count!)

    A professional hacker f(who uses his powers for good) rom florida who has an IQ probably greater then everyone combined who is posting negative comments.

    May 1, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  6. King

    Wow – as an Obama supporter I'm happy but, I don't want people choosing based on these terms, I want them to choose based on Obama's merits. Maybe he will add more.

    May 1, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  7. ErinOK

    Looks like the tide is turning...just not the way Hillary wanted it to!

    OBAMA 08

    May 1, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  8. Casy

    My personal opinion is that if Clinton don't win the nomination, she will run independent as I think she should!

    Obama has NO CHANCE of winning in the GE. Trust me, Rev Wright is just a SMALL SNIPPET of his problems!

    May 1, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  9. josbam
    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  10. fred

    Doesn't matter....Obama will never win!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  11. H



    May 1, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  12. wwf

    Is there a problem as to why CNN won't put up my post? Mr. Andrew's decision took conviction in what he believed was right the right thing to do. One cannot fault him for that.

    May 1, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  13. Jane, NC

    It's amusing to watch some of these people scrambling to make endorsements they think will benefit their own career. This time, I think he may have bet on the wrong "winner."

    May 1, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  14. Dennis F

    Dumb !!

    May 1, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  15. tom, Boston

    Listen up CNN.

    you quote KARL ROVE on a regular basis

    like his words are some objective truthful basis on which to build the next discussion.


    and if you try and sensor this comment, hundreds and thousahnds more will come.

    if you try to sensor all those, you'll be left without audience.

    May 1, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  16. H

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    May 1, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  17. steve

    Mr Andrew,
    This shows that you love your party more than clinging to clintonista loyalty .
    Welcome to the winning team that the world has endorsed.

    May 1, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  18. Roxanne

    It seems like this party is filled with traitors and fools.

    Obama can't win. The writing is so clear on the wall. Clinton has hit her stride and there is hardly any doubt that she could beat Mc Cain.

    Who wants to speed this up before the voters have had a chance to have their say is expressing to us that they are more important than the voters. How arrogant and presumptous!

    May 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  19. Bob from New Jersey

    The summer gas tax issue is a great opportunity to see the difference between the candidates. Obama showed the honesty and courage to take an unpopular position and tell people what they did not want to hear - the gas tax rebate was a bad idea. All the experts have agreed with him. Hillary, by contrast, continued her pattern of saying anything to anyone, with disregard for the truth, in order ot serve her self interest of getting elected, even if it meant stealing an idea from John McCain.

    Anyone but Hillary - 2008

    May 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  20. Tony, Miami

    Joe Andrew chooses what is best for America. Bravissimo Mr. Andrew and thank you. I agree with you it's about time to end this non-sense. Mr. Mc Cain is getting his work done by the democrats which is an aberration. Please Hillary get back to your senses and concedes graciously. Lee Lawler says : This is a point in time when we all need to start thinking of our children and grandchildren.

    May 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  21. josbam

    Please clinton,the race is over....
    For the best of your partu,you have to retire

    May 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  22. Benny from Philadelphia

    Than you Joe Andrew for recognizing the truth that will uplift America here at home and internationally.
    The truth is that we need Obama, a natural leader, honest, intelligent, articulate, trustworthy, inspiring, confident, always taking responsibility,calculative,collective,friendly,decisive,morally upright person as the president to clear the BUSH mess.

    May 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. NotThisTimeinNY

    Intestinal fortitude. Guts. Perhaps they can all choose – they know who they're supporting ... It's moot to continue the campaigns when neither candidate can reach 2025 delegates. Over 80% have voted – a definite gauge as to who America chooses. Let's move on to the nominee stage!!

    May 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  24. fred

    Just shows how smart some of these people are... NOT. Hope all that back Obama lose their seat in the General Election if they are up for relelection!!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  25. Pete

    He leads in popular vote, elected delegates, states won, and soon – automatic delegates. Let's rally around our candidate now!

    Texans for Obama!

    May 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
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