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. Yes Joe

    I don't think that guy is an Indiana superdelegate.

    May 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. Geesh..

    Yep Obama is really losing ground gaining all of Hillarys superdelgates.

    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  3. David

    It is time for the Democratic Party to stop fighting and come together. No matter if you prefer Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton we need to rally around their similar policies and not mortgage our futures on this feud. Either candidate is a better one than John Mccain.

    May 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  4. Catherine

    Watching the news I saw reports that illegals are protesting about their rights. Listening carefully I waited but heard nothing about their responsibilities. It is a two sided street, rights and responsibilities. I truth you can not have one without the other. People who desire to be here have a responsibility to obey the laws of the land. Way back in time it was called civic responsibility.
    Also, I watch Mr. Obama who would have us believe he has good judgement. I do not see civic responsibility from him. Rather than call the Wright controversy "a distraction" would it have been so hard for him to say "I was wrong?" There is no doubt that he can say he has good judgement but where he falls down is in showing good judgement. The more he makes excuses and blames others the more he loses credibility which obviously shows in the most recent polls. Civic responsibility has a backbone called honesty.

    May 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  5. Lynn

    Joe Andrew needs his head examined!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  6. Jay

    Guess he was promised better pay and benefits. Bad move buddy.

    May 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  7. YvonneMcKinley

    You know honestly what politician supports what candidate does NOT concern me. I am not looking at backing or support. I am looking at the candidate themselves. I watch all the news sources and in TX. I watched at political rally's. I am making a decision based on MY findings and conclusions. Here it is; Hillary Clinton. I believe after discussion with my circle of friends (all Democrats) that she will be the best choice to go against McCain. Of all these people (50+) in my group all said if Obama wins the nomination they will pull for McCain. They all agree four more years under the same old Republican nonsense will out weigh someone who does not have the guts to get up out of a church and leave but rather stay for 20 years! and listen to a man that is obviously filled with hate towards America and everyone else that is not black. He doesn't even have the gumption to face Senator Clinton in an un moderated debate....why???? No...these are NOT qualities which we need to lead America...the most diverse nation on the planet.

    May 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  8. OBAMA

    LETS GO OBAMA....... CHANGE I BELIEVE IN YOU

    May 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  9. annie

    Why now.....because the media and Politicians keep trying to throw Hillary under the Bus......However, the AMERICAN PEOPLE won't let that happen because we know America needs her.

    Americans want Hillary and say NO to Obama.

    The DNC better wake up and realize that Obama can't win the general election and start supporting Hillary before we lose the election.

    May 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  10. Keyon

    Congragulation! Welcome to Obama 08! Now lets get the rest of the people who want to change Amercia in the right direction, not just for political game, but for the true Amercian people. In Jesus name Amen!.

    May 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  11. George

    Let the chips fall, they will regret their foolish pandering and lack of credibility. Hillary does not need flip flopers. Hillary has the intellect and the ability to think on her feet. The copy cat is being drowned by his own uncle. The American people are waking up and are really seeing though the empty words. He is running out of zerox ink, when is he going to give a speech about his decision to move a way from his uncle? He made his bed under the guidance from his uncle, he should now rest in it, oh how long can I disagree with you uncle, till the end of primaries son. Thank you pastor, say hello to Farakhan and ayer when you talk to them. In a minute son.

    May 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  12. harry

    i know it will happen. it is not a surprise.i will advise her to stand down

    May 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. Sue, NY

    I am so excited and I couldn't agree more. Hillary Clinton cannot catch up on delegates and so we need to end the nonsense and get down to business against the republicans.

    May 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  14. Essie in Florida

    Welcome to the family Joe.

    YES WE CAN!

    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  15. no more Hill-Billys

    thanks for the move.
    all americans smarten up and follow the move.
    back up obama. unite behind him.
    no more hill-billys. they are a disgrace who feel entitled to their rich gain.

    obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  16. enough dabate

    Since senator Clinton said super delegate can vote anyway they want they seem to be doing that in one direction that's Senator Obama's way so those that back her because of her husband are now seeing who they really are power hungry and I will do anything to get the nomination. Congrats senator Obama and thanks to Mr Andrew welcome onboard

    May 1, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  17. Susan MO

    Please Hillary drop out the game is over

    Go Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  18. Luis

    We all need to wait until "the other shoes drops". Both of these candidate and their campaign staffs have inflicted more damage to themselves then either of their opponets.

    I must admit, at times, I feel like voting for the "Other Democrat" that the media and the democratic leadership ignored. I don't recall the other candidates shooting themselves then blaming their opponents.

    The DNC has messed this election so much that we need to wait until all the votes are counted. The DNC needs to make this "right.". All of the delegates for Florida and Michigan need to be seated with full voting rights. Then the delegates can make a decision based which candidate can best win the White House.

    It should not be a men/woman or black/white issue. It should be in the end, who will the voters trust to run our nation.

    Does the democratic party want my vote?

    May 1, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  19. Change 2008

    Chairman Joe Andrew difficult and wise comments, “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." are the truth.

    Dems need to ask ourselves, “Are we going to continue to be distracted by negative ads or unit and make real change?” We can do this, this year, this time!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  20. U GOT 2 B Kidding Me

    The superdelegates have to do something now.
    If not, we will sink to even more lows.

    This whole process is just SAD.
    And the sheep called Americans are even more SAD.

    With all of the problem we are having in the country and the world, we have spent a month discussing someones pastor.

    Wake up people.

    As I stated before, READ and educate yourself, even about ur favorite candidate, and follow the money to the corruption.

    Americans, do what's best for America.

    May 1, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  21. Indy for Obama

    This thing is almost over.

    May 1, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  22. Spencer

    Andrew is right. The time to act is now. Ohio and PA was no surprise to anyone. If things go as predicted (as they have been going all along), Obama is the candidate. So why weaken the candidate within the party? Unify and win the White House.

    May 1, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  23. Antony

    We need to stop senator Macain's free ride. Your argument make a lot of sense to me, Barack is leading on all the available Metrics and has shown a very impresive stand on the recent Gax tax holiday argument, that is what I call telling the people the hard truth.
    Big deal and good judgement !!!

    Good Job Joe. You are really a terific leader.

    May 1, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  24. joe

    I thought "super delegates" pick party candidates not "presidents". Is your statement a type of psycological condotioning or just ignorant reporting?

    May 1, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  25. TF, CO

    Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!! That has to hurt.

    Question: How do you make dumb people think they are smart?
    Answer: You keep telling them that you are making the smart choice.

    Superdels are not dumb they follow the money and Obama has tons of it. Hillary is running her campaign like most of America right now paycheck to paycheck.

    May 1, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
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