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. Dennis in IA

    Hillary the hand writing is on the wall – Gracefully leave the race. Your super delegates are realizing that the party needs to unite and fight McShame. You have lost personal close allies to Barack's side because of the negativity you are showing and with it destroying any chance of unseating the republicans. Please do not have your surrogates call him names like McCarville did to Governor Richardson, that only makes you look bad! They are seeing what is best for America and the rest of the world – you and yours are only looking out what is best for the Clintons and your surrogates.

    May 1, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  2. Marianne


    May 1, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  3. Karl Lee

    Can Edwards, Gore and Pelosi come to the conclusion now?
    Let us build a strong party.
    Can you believe that Bill Clinton did not help Gore, Edwards, Pelosi Kelly to win. just because he was only concerned abou his wife.
    Let's wait and see!!! He may pay the price
    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  4. Corey, Maryland

    WOOOOT!!!!!!!!! Keep the endorsements coming!!!

    Obama Richardson 2008

    May 1, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  5. bigben

    Obama supporters this means war!

    May 1, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  6. Nancy

    When Hillary wins ,you back stabbers will regret these actions.

    We are all seeing what loyalty means to some of these traitors.

    True colors coming out.


    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  7. andy

    great news for my man barack!!!
    obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  8. Baracking in the Free World

    Interesting. Have you noticed that some of the people who have worked closest with the Clinton's are jumping ship? I wonder why the people who know them best have decided not to work with them?

    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  9. Stephen G.

    It just goes to show the American people who we are dealing with here, Hillary !!!. Why if she has been the candidate of experience (meaning many years of service) and with the inroads in Washington, has Obama made such an impact not only with voters, but must of all with Superdelegates close to her. It goes to SHOW and it says a lot about Hillary and Obama in comparison.

    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. Danielle

    None of my comments ever get posted, I guess CNN doesnt like too much controversy.

    I like how Chairman Andrew said "nor can we let this race fall any lower", its good to see a former Clinton supporter realize that Clinton is dragging the Dems and America down.

    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. AJ-Philly

    Let's go Indiana!!!!!

    That makes 6 Super D's in 2 days for Obama and 11 since he lost PA!

    Obama '08 all the way baby!

    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  12. Oh! The Irony

    This is telling for me. Despite the negative coverage of Barack, and the polls showing how easily swayed the public can be, the superdelegates are still backing Obama. In fact I've seen so many switch from Clinton to Obama and haven't heard of any leaving his camp for Hillary. I think the party is unifying behind Barack.

    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  13. Ivar

    In terms of number, there is no way that Obama can loose now. The only way Clinton can win is by winning every single race by very big margins and subsequently winning the super delegates by huge margin. I dont see that happening. Obama will eaily win North carolina, Oregon by decent margin of 7% to 8 % at least. Hillary will probably win Puerto Rico by decent margin and the rest are toss up of 2-3 % difference. With this as a scenario, Hillary would need the support of at least 70% of the super delegates that remain,,,,I DONT SEE THAT HAPPENING. If Clinton has any interest of the party in Mind, she should quit her campaign and throw her weight behind Obama. May be that way she would have a shot in 2016. However if she does npot do that, I feel that democrats can say good bye to the white house till 2020 because it would leave a lot of people ( specially the younger generation very disgruntled.

    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  14. Columbia, SC

    Way to good! God is good.

    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  15. C.Wall

    One has to wonder why those who have been close to the Clintons for many years keep leaving this campaign. This should send a clear message to the voting public that something is seriously wrong with Sen. Clinton. Some of these people owe the Clintons a great deal and they are still willing to leave them. Don't be fooled by the Clintons smoke and mirrors routine folks. These people know something we don't know.


    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  16. Jamaal Kansas

    This show who is actually winning Hillary with you and Mcshames fake gas tax that won't change again but make gas go up HIillary I thought you was smarter than this Go Barack Go Michelle & Barack 08

    May 1, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  17. Michael

    That's all she wrote folks! Hillary is finally done!!

    May 1, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  18. Obama will Never be President

    This man is make a grave mistake, because Obama will not and can not beat John McCain.

    May 1, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  19. Juliemn

    I dont think the Obamas are whats best for America. I have to wonder what dirt the Obama camp has on him? Obama did not get where he is now by fair play!!

    May 1, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  20. Stephen

    It is not surprising to have yet another super delegate in the Obama camp. What makes this more significant is Joe Andrew is switching his support from HRC to Obama. And what underlines that is his good reasoning. Obama will be a great president.

    Come on undeclared super d's, get on board now!

    May 1, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  21. Relle Boston

    That is showing just how devisive she is and everyone is getting tired. She should have ben a republican. She seems to agree with them on many issues that are not good for the country.

    May 1, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  22. Navyvet8192

    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? After all of this, I think Sen. Obama has proven that he can go toe to toe with McCain when it's one on one.

    May 1, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  23. A Mama 4 Obama

    Will somebody tell Hillary the "Midnight Train to Bosnia" is leaving May 6, please make sure your bags are pack because you're DONE!

    GO Obama 08 and 12

    I Love It!

    May 1, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  24. Jaki

    What else can I say but thank you. One super delegate from here, one super delegate from there, great. However, a super delegate that switches his support from Billary to the next President of the United States of America "Barrack Obama", priceless.


    May 1, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  25. luvero

    The superdelegates cannot now "constructively pick a candidate". Obama's opportunism in trying to gain this nomination at all costs is going to cost the Democrats the presidency in 2008. The Democrats had a hands down, clear opportunity to almost effortlessly win '08, but because Obama divided the Democrats, that opportunity has been given away. The Democratic National Committee has damaged the party further by refusing to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan. The attempt now to pressure the superdelegates to unite behind Obama is more damaging behavior. The rules (same ones used to deny the MI and FL delegations) say that superdelgates are free to vote their consciences at the convention. Trying to skirt those rules by pressuring those superdelegates now is immoral since no such rule latitude was alloed for the state delegations that were punished for early primaries. The only thing the Democratic party should do now is let the process play out without interfering. If the Dems lose in '08, they can thank their man Obama. He is doing for 2008 what Nader did for 2000, which is to split off so many votes that the Republicans take the election.

    May 1, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
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