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. Richard

    Everyone, including Obama supporters, let's try and be gracious about this story. We should all be after the same goal: no mcbush.

    May 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  2. mark

    you are the man, joe. you have made the right choice

    May 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  3. zap

    Are you following the election coverage?
    And here is the big story: Unless you have been in a coma you know that for several weeks video clips of statements by Barack Obama's former minister have been aired nearly 24 hours a day on the news shows, especially on FOX News. These clips are considered scary by certain demographic groups who are not familiar with the speaking patterns of black minister.
    Interestingly, at the same time as this "Obama's minister" story is saturating the news there is another presidential candidate with a "scary minister" problem of his own. But the news media is not providing the public with any information at all about the things this minister has said. In this case the presidential candidate is John McCain and the minister is John Hagee.
    This minister has issued statements condemning Jews, is described as "virulently anti-Catholic," and says that 9/11 and Katrina are examples of God punishing America. Yet John McCain sought out this minister's endorsement and insists that he is "proud" to have received it.
    While saturating the airwaves with scary video clips of Obama's scary minister the corporate media is providing the public with almost no information about McCain's.
    In the article, The McCain-Hagee Connection, the Columbia Journalism Review asks, "Why is the press ignoring this hate-monger?"

    May 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  4. Marine

    So he is a follower and not a leader. Typical

    May 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  5. Another Turncoat???

    How can people who are so disorganized, flip-floppy, and betrayal-driven able to get into public office at all?

    Good grief!

    May 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  6. gloria pitman

    why he is switching i dont know hasnt he listened to the news lately and before hand. i dont know whats wrong with him. thank you gloria

    May 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  7. Richie, NY


    May 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  8. james

    At least someone has great interest for the democratic party.

    May 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  9. al

    GREAT NEWS after such a storm. This is a BRIGHT rainbow.
    I guess things are not turning the way HRC had expected. Thanks and now John Edwards needs to follow these great steps in the right direction towards unification.

    May 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  10. Concerned JG

    Thank God! Lets end this once and for all, or China will lead the world with another 4 to 8 of Mcsame...........

    May 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  11. Indiana

    Indiana for Hillary "2016-2020"

    May 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  12. Kay

    Thank you so much for having the courage to stand up for what is right. Keep them coming!!

    OBAMA 2008

    May 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  13. Pro-Democracy

    There seems to be a major disconnect beween the pundits and actual folks on the ground. Clearly the Obama campaign's message is resonating in a scope that the media quite frankly refuses to recognize. The time to unify is now.

    May 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. Jona, Denver, CO

    What a traitor... Regular voters can't change their minds, superdelegates shouldn't do that either. They way the Democratic nominee should be elected is through letting everyone have their say, not switching to just get it over with.

    May 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  15. MM


    May 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  16. Debbie

    ABC reported Hillary is running ads in Indiana that she knows are outright lies about Magnequench.

    Hillary and Bayh know the story is a lie and that Bill Clinton is responsible for the company being sold to China.

    Bill Clinton was the president in 1995 and had the authority to not allow it.

    The former vice president of Magnequench talked with Bayh and Hillary, but they decided to change the date and say it was 2003. Bayh has campaigned in the past using the correct date of 1995.

    It's time for the media to stop giving Hillary pillows.

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  17. Reece Holcombe

    I see a lot of entertainers and politicians wanting to get their 15min's of fame with this election... I voted for Hillary Clinton when it came around here in Missouri... I still haven’t changed my views on her... Mr. Obama has a lot to say, but never says anything except. “Change”... People need a leader and he isn’t one that I believe is a leader for this country... If Hillary Clinton ends up not being the Democratic nominee, I will vote for McCain or not vote at all...

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  18. Dee

    Why can't Clinton stop the rookie? Floridians were screwed over by their own politicians. Their politicians were OFFENDED that their primaries were being held after such a 'small, unimportant' state like Iowa. They feel they are more important than other states in our union.

    Way to DIVIDE our country Florida politicians. Way to DIVIDE our country Clinton!

    It's All Obama 08!

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  19. Kristen

    People are now realizing the BS that's been going on towards Obama. He will be a fantastic president!

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. deeps

    This is the starting ... it will happen everywhere now .. we don't need Hillary .. Guys ... lets come together and win this election under Obama ..

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  21. TG

    It will soon be over
    There is a old saying "GOD DOESNT LIKE UGLY"

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  22. Martha

    I applaud you Mr. Andrew. I believed that if the numbers were reversed, there would have been extremely great pressures for Barack Obama to drop out. Although Hillary Clinton knows this is ripping apart the party she continues to press on. We knew a while ago that there would be no way to catch up on delegates even with Florida and Michigan. As I watched this party self-destructing, I just got more discouraged that the superdelegates just stood by watching this happen. I even considered switching to Republican and I really dont want to do that. Thank you so much for setting the example.

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  23. carole

    Hilary keep fighting; the only way this life long Democrat would vote for Obama is if he let his hair grow and started wearing a skirt-even then it would be questionable. This is Hilary's time and we need a woman in the White House

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  24. Joe

    Another flip flopper just like he belongs with him. I'm sure there is some political reason that we know nothing of for his move.

    Obama can not and will not win in November. I guess the DNC wants to lose the White House yet again?

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  25. Marco


    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
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