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. FloridaVoter

    Let's go Joe! Vote Obama!

    May 1, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  2. John

    This is excellent news for the Obama campaign!

    May 1, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  3. Victor

    Nothing can be farther from the truth. Endgame for Hilrry

    May 1, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  4. Jen





    May 1, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  5. Ludovic

    something very strange is hapeening in this party. I don't know what hillary and bill have done to all those party leaders, but they seems to believe that it is time for the clintons to pay the bill.
    let's hope that voters will follow, because I think that this race is still on the hand of the voters, not the supers

    May 1, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  6. Joe Schmo




    May 1, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  7. Kojotaga, Dublin, Ireland

    It is always telling when the insiders switch was in the case of New Mexico gov, Sam Nunn, now Joe Andrew and many many a European I have been gripped by the possibilites this election presents America with and the extent to which America can be bold.... because there is a seismic shift in power across the globe, when the traditional model is being challenged and the extent to which America holds it's own will be down to the extent to which it is willing to change. Another facinating facet of this election is how the youth of America represented in Obama is pitted against the older generation of America who find comfort in the old ways and not so embracing of change even if it means going along the old lines of race and gender......facinating and gripping!!

    May 1, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  8. Larry

    It seems paradoxical that, despite Obama's current slump, he is getting major endorsements. Clinton, in her desperation to win the nomination, is turning into a typical cynical politician that will say anything to get elected. Her gas tax holiday is one such example and I think most people will see through it for what it is. Obama tells it like it is, which I think is what the American people want to hear. The superdelegates can see the handwriting on the wall and are making their choices accordingly. Other's may try to make Obama look bad but Hillary is doing it all to herself. It will be over soon.

    May 1, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  9. Susan-VA

    WOW!! The time is now for America to realize that, like Gov. Richardson said, Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime leader that we so desperately need. We cannot go on with the same old pandering politicians that will promise you anything just to get elected and then let everything fall by the wayside. We cannot afford to lose any more jobs due to Clinton's "opposition" to trade deals while Bill Clinton is out making millions promoting them! Thank you, Mr. Andrew!!

    May 1, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  10. Adam

    Finally.. The decisive blow to the Clinton campaign. Wait.... her campaign is still going to continue? wow!

    May 1, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  11. Donald

    Thumbs up!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  12. Charles

    It is time for Democrats to get behind one candidate. If that candidate was Clinton, then she would have been our nominee, but since it is Obama then it should be him. She is an excellent woman, but the people have voted and he seems to be the one that the people want. I want to make a point to the women that will vote for McCain since Clinton wasn't your choice. I want you to think about Rove vs Wade. Should McCain become President, your choice to choose will be gone. he will appoint judges that dont support your choice. Think about healthcare, jobs and this war. Let us continue to send our sons and daughters over to Iraq.

    May 1, 2008 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  13. Michael

    I am glad to see people are starting to finally Put the party first. Good choice, I hope the door on Clinton can be shut- And your party can focus on McWar- I may not be a democrat- But I hope you win the white house.

    Obama can beat McCain.

    May 1, 2008 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  14. nc

    I think is very interesting that every time MR. Obama is in trouble next day one of these super delegate announces that he or she supp Obama

    I really think this is not accidental, these are super delegates that already are leaning toward Obama and when the time is right they announce their support.
    Well is good strategy but is becoming pretty obvious.

    May 1, 2008 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  15. Paul from Virginia

    This is huge!

    May 1, 2008 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  16. Jessica, MI

    and so YET ANOTHER individual with ties and favors owed to the Clintons backs Obama. Hillary supporters: doesn't this tell you something

    May 1, 2008 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  17. Susan MO

    What Hillary said to the good people of the South was outrageous. "Screw 'em' , she said. This is a slam against all Americans.

    Go Obama '08

    May 1, 2008 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  18. MC, PA

    Mr. Andrew, thank you for your support! You are a true democrat with great wisdom and courage. Your open letter is very rational and moving.

    End the negative attacks! End the infighting! Support Obama, a great leader of the new century!

    May 1, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  19. Glenn

    Tick Tock Tick Tock! The clock is quickly running down for Billary. Obama only needs 294 delegates and the momentum is surging faster!

    May 1, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  20. Obamantor

    HIllary go home and get your crying towel Obama is going to win the Black House alboard the Obama soul bring it home
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha cry lady cry

    May 1, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  21. Spirit of America

    Something stinks here. Who bought him off?

    May 1, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  22. john

    richardson of indiana

    May 1, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  23. Jkakunda

    Yeah Congrats. Your decision looks wiser especially when you lean for party unity against division, which can harm the party! You know what? the picture of Clinton wearing a very red face in Ohio recently, lambasting " Shame on you barack Obama" constitutes shamest political postures on earth, and that can lead to a lot of questions in the fall! Not only that, the constant attacks to Barack, which sometimes led to Baracks stagering offensive replys; thanks to the cooling from him now; is not as good as calls for unity of all races Obama has been providing. Denounciation of Rev Wright, and apologizing on the bitter, won him a political score that made him more electable.

    This chance is here for grabs by all Americans in or outside the US

    May 1, 2008 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  24. Emmanuel

    On behalf of my future childdren and myself, God bless you.

    May 1, 2008 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  25. J Dole

    This looks like the beginning of the end. More Dems are seeing that this prolonged battle really is getting in the way of fighting McCain. I expect more people to switch to the person who leads in delegates and popular votes, that being Obama.

    May 1, 2008 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
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