May 1st, 2008
12:12 PM ET
7 years ago

Major Clinton backer switches to Obama

CNN

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. SARA R. HENRY

    IF YOU THINK THE PREACHER OF OBAMA IS A PROBLEM, JUST WAIT AND SEE !!!!! IF OBAMA IS NOMINATED, THAT PREACHER IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF THE DIFFERENCE IN THE CULTURE OF THE BARACK OBAMA FACTORS.

    May 1, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  2. Steve in DC

    Yes!!!! The fat lady is in the dressing room warming up!

    May 1, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  3. Dear Clinton supporters

    You have a heck of a candidate and I support her being on the ticket with Obama. We must come together now in hopes to beat back McCain in November. Rush and Bill O'really are loving and promoting this chaos.
    We must join forces now. It is time to unite the clans!

    May 1, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  4. Flavor Flav

    YEEAAHH BOOUUYY!!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  5. Helene

    He is right because the longer this race goes on the more damage to the democratic party. Obama has proved that he is the strongest candidate, even with all the troubles that he had to face (which made him even stronger). Clinton was a formidable candidate but she represents the past. However it would be wise for her supporters to rally now around Obama.

    May 1, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. Miami for Obama

    It's beautiful day in the neighborhood . . .

    OBAMA 08 & 12

    May 1, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  7. Midge from Ohio

    What, he's looking for his second 15 minutes of fame? I don't remember him from the first time, he must not have made much of an impression. Too bad for you.....

    May 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  8. Carol - Grandma for Obama

    Welcome aboard Joe. It's time for a change where the American People once again feel that those in Washington are working for us.

    May 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  9. right source

    COME ON YOU BILIARIES....Can't you see the writing on the wall, everyone else does.

    North Carolina for OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  10. Flavor Flav

    YEEAAHH BOOUUYY!!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  11. Mina from MN

    Thank you! It is really time to wrap this thing up and focus on the McCainians.

    May 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  12. Andrea

    Thank you, Joe Andrew!

    May 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  13. Jackie OHio

    It is so funny how all the super del. jump the fence. count the vote in florida and mich. then decide. we the people want all votes of the american public to count. and do not tell us that we need ti hurry along as if you are upset that a few states couldn't wrap this nomination up. what should be done is a one year campain the all states vote at the same time then and only then can we as the people know that are vote was counted. SORRRRRY OBAMA. I do not beleave you are for all the people. You call for change but your people call for redemption and pat back.

    May 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  14. Joe

    Shame on him!!! He obviously thinks Hillary is the better candidate.

    May 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  15. libby

    Oh wait does that mean I have to vote for Obama now??? LOL!!!

    Go Hillary '08!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  16. John in PA

    Check RCP for latest polls. Clinton now leads in NC. That would be the biggest upset in decades and spell the beginning of the end of the Obama campaign.

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. Steve

    Bold Move! I'm glad he saw the light and left the dark side. It's not too late for you to do the same Evan Bayah.

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  18. nc and indiana voters

    Clinton and Obama supporters can no longer afford to be enemies. We are the good guys, remember? It is time for unity!

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  19. mary

    What a moron. Way for all the Democratic men to alienate their base (uh, that would be women, morons). Good luck with your party.

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  20. Kel from Auburn AL

    Now that's what I'm talking about! The tide IS turning! Go O! Obama 08!

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. STOP THE MADDNESS!!!!

    It seems that not only Obama and Michelle relizes that it's time to move on past the nonsense that media, Republicans and Clintons want us to focus on. It's time to get down to the business of dealing with REAL ISUSSES! Rev. Wright is not one of them. Taking Obama's heart felt concerns for rural Americans OUT OF CONTEXT is not one. ALL of these only stand to distract us from the REAL issues at hand, we have an economy that is daily losing ground subject to send us ALL where we not want to go,POVERTY! Many in America to include RURAL Americans ARE SUFFERING now if the word "bitter" bothers you then there are plenty others that apply, you choose, BUT the TRUTH is those that have lost and those that face losing jobs and income are NOT COMFORTABLE ABOUT IT! And if you don't trust your gov. to have your best financial interest at heart then there is no point in voting except if you vote based on OTHER interests that are near and dear to your heart. And yes alot has to do with your location and upbringing, this is a fact!

    Isay ALL of this to say we got more important things to be concerned about than petty things that does NOTHING BUT DIVIDE AND DISTRACT US FROM MOVING FORWARD!

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  22. AMK

    another delegate with the "let's just go over to the inevitable winner attitude." instead of casting their vote for who they think will make the best president and beat johnny mac.

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  23. Sean

    The fact still remains that Obama's lead is one that is stolen from the voters of FL, MI, and Hillary Clinton herself by Howard Dean and Obama is no better for supporting the disenfranchisement of voters in two states only to maintain his narrow stolen lead, but what does one expect from a man who knowing attended a racist church for 20+ years and now wants to move past it because he has been found out for whom he is. Let’s face it, one who does not support the moral teachings and cause of a church does not attend it for 20 years. I think that this Super Delegate ignoring the FL and MI vote, plus the fact that Obama has lost every key state, and the fact that many of the people who have voted for him want their votes back because of his racist ties makes Obama even more unelectable. Then you count at least the whole state of FL (where I am from) where there is a whole state of ripped-off voters who are really angry that Obama's lead is one that is stolen from them and you have a whole state of Dems ready to vote for McCain in the fall. That Andrew would ignore Obama's ineluctability in the actual November election shows that he is not making a wise choice as a Super Delegate. My whole family is Democrat and we all plan on voting for McCain in November if Obama should win the nomination and our Jan 29th votes have not been counted!

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  24. Casey from Canada

    Refreshing News

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  25. Jerry in Florida

    Oh well. What did you expect? People like Joe Andrew and others were never really Senator Clinton's supporters/friends. I hope they are happy with what they may be getting!

    Stay tuned!

    May 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
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