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. Tim from Philly

    Hillary Supporters:

    Please attempt to spin. Thanks.


    P.S. Obama 08'

    May 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. marouf

    good move

    May 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |



    May 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Mr Andrew is concerned about the race issue but not the gender issue. Shame on him.

    May 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  5. Economist

    . . . The country is what matters. Just comparing Senator Obama's
    gas tax plan with the Hillary-McCain plan, tells us that Hillary and
    McCain are on the same wave lenth as George Bush. This is just
    the change that Senator Obama is trying to push. I just hope America
    sees that Senator Obama is fighting on behalf of WE, THE AMERICAN
    PEOPLE. If we don't stand up for ourselves, then who will? Not the

    Yes We Can.

    May 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  6. John

    As an Obama supporter, I would just like to thank Hillary Clinton for running such a fierce campiagn, she is truly a tough competetor. Surely this long and well fought battle will serve us Democrats well in Baracks coming battle with John McCain. Thanks Hillary forr preparing us to win against McCain its going to be great having a Democrat serve the peoples intrests again. Barack Obama 08.

    May 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  7. nina

    This is great news. More should do the same. If 95% of both candidates' policy plans are the same, the SD's should choose the candidate who has shown leadership, integrity, honesty, strength, and sound judgement.
    And I think Obama has shown all of these qualities and more.

    May 1, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  8. Rich in New York

    Who asks this?

    "Many will ask, why now?

    Just CNN and their biased reporting. The reporting that won't admit that this race is over, because they like the ratings it draws. It would take Clinton doing something she hasn't done yet to win, and that is win every single race remaining (including superdelegates) by more than 15 points. She hasn't won a single race by 15 points, but somehow you're all giving her the benefit that she can all the rest by that margin. It is impossible, and its high time we stop letting Clinton destroy the democratic party.

    May 1, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  9. Nancy

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Joe. Wise decision. Let the games begin. GO OBAMA

    May 1, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  10. sjl

    at this point of the primaries, it is my sense that the race has is more of a race for SuperDelegates and less of a race for the primaries/caucuses as that race ( based on Pledged delegates, number of states won and Popular votes ) has already been won by Obama. On the SuperDelegate front, Since PA Obama has won approx 11 SDs to HRC's 6. HRC has gone from having a 100+ SD lead at the beginning of the primaries to a 19 SD lead....The media is so preoccupied with Non-Issues that they are missing the momentum in SDs that is taking place.
    Althought I am an Independent, I do believe its time for the Demo party members to lay down their weapons and focus on the opponent who seems to be offering more of the current adminstrations ideas. more personal attacks on HRC or Obama....let's not allow the media to disctract us...our country is in bad shape ( i.e. war, gas prices, recession, foreclosures, etc.)...this is what is most important

    God Bless America

    May 1, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  11. Mark VA

    Looks like the back room dealing that everyone was worried about the Clinton's performing is actually wha the Obama people are doing. I think it is clear that the Democratic party is going to make its bed with Obama and and swallow hard and come back in 2012 and try again.

    May 1, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. Hillary Supporter

    Thanks, Mr. Andrews. I hope when Hillary wins, she doesn't forget you and your loyalty. You are the worst the democrats have to offer.

    May 1, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  13. Concerned Democrat

    Doesn't make a difference. Democratic elitists may think he is the best for this country but look at the new polls. Obama is losing ground because everyday American's realize that he is not the right person for the job. Personally, even if Hillary Clinton herself endorsed Obama I still could not vote for him. He just isn't the right person for the job. He doesn't have enough experience and doesn't share my values.

    May 1, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  14. katharine ryan New York New York

    Joe Andrew is an idiot. Obama cannot possibly be elected after all this mess. who would trust him. why would anyone trust him?

    May 1, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  15. Ray

    wrong decision. to win november election, he needs to choose Hillary Clinton.

    May 1, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  16. hrp

    I think it is time for the super delegates to cast their support for one or the other. They really need to start taking on McCain and not each other.

    May 1, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  17. Scott, Newport KY

    I guess that Joe hasn't been watching the news lately. Does the name Jeremiah Wright ring a bell?

    May 1, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  18. Timothy B. Robinson

    I am stunned by how many traitors have abandoned Clinton in order to support the failing bandwagon effort of Obama.

    May 1, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  19. fred

    Looks like CNN is having a "We support Obama day"!!!!

    Did anyone see Hillary on O'Reilly last night....Hillary did a GREAT job and showed that she would make a GREAT Leader!!!


    Where is Chicken Obama....he is afraid to answer any questions usless they are from media that support CNN????

    Down with the liar Obama!!! He would throw his Mother under the bus!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  20. sozzi

    Mr. Andrew has realized that he was on the wrong team. He also saw the smear that the Clintons have done and that they are about to do to Obama.

    May 1, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  21. Amber

    What an idiot!

    He must think he's going to have a cabinet seat w/ Obama. Politicians never switch allegiances unless they, themselves, get something out of it.

    May 1, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  22. Dina Bern, Sodra Sandby, Sweden

    It's wonderful that people with ethics, intelligent and honest can see through the smoke-filled atmosphere that has been produced by dishonest unethical media sources and candidates, who obviously are betting on their beleif that the American people are ignorant, gullible racists bent on believing only the words spoken by those who look like them, no matter how false those words are. Thank you Mr. Andrew!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  23. Tony H

    Billary's negative attack dog tactics will only win her but so many fans.
    Those who are intelligent enough to understand that this is a critical time for a leader with decorum and diplomacy see that in Sen. Obama. World leaders deserve the best we can give them to work with for better relationships.

    May 1, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  24. jenny

    What a stupid reason..........opportunist, shallow person!

    May 1, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  25. Independent Voter

    Strange he switches as Clinton is gaining momentum and Obama is losing ground in the polls although not unexpected as he is the person who presided over the Gore debacle in 2000. I hope they all switch to Obama, he's the weaker candidate and with all his recently revealed baggage and Michelle's remarks the easier candidate for McCain to run against.

    May 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
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