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. trellskig

    Yes, keep this thing going. The sooner we finish the better.

    May 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  2. Lindsay

    Can't wait for Carville to call him Judas! I call him SMART! It is time to close the superdelegate gap! Obama has handled himself with grace and dignity, qualities that have been absent in the White House since BEFORE Bill Clinton was president. Hillary claims she wants a Democrat in the White House in November – if this is the case why does she tear down Obama and give McCain a free ride. To me, she may as well be a Republican and I am disgraced that she is my state Senator. She makes me sick when she calls NYC "my city of New York" – go back to Arkansas!

    May 1, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  3. roger dowdle, lockhart, Tx

    So another Clinton superdelegate switches to Obama- so have a number of others. Several of her campaign staff have also switched! If you want real news, name the Obama staffers or supporters who have gone over to Clinton! That would make for a very boring arcticle, and you probably can't publish a blank page anyway. I believe Clinton staqrted the whole process with over 160 super delegates before Obama even declared! Now her lead is less than 20, and falling. She should quit being negative, and gracefully concede defeat- before she digs herself such a pit of resentment that she can't overcome it.

    May 1, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  4. nathanshadow

    Gosh looks like the people in the know (super-delegates) still favor Obama. Wright was the Clinton's last hope and now that has failed too. Hillary supporters will recover and vote for Obama come November. If not then they were Republicans all along - just like Hillary....

    May 1, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  5. Bob Stephens

    Good move, I wish some of the other fence straddlers would do the same, so we could get on with winning the White House in the fall......

    May 1, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Mike

    Let's unite the party and get on with the business of campaining against McCain. We all know it's a fact that republicans are foaming at the mouth to unleash a flurry of attacks on Hillary were she to become the nominee.. THE FAT LADY IS REHEARSING AT THIS VERY MOMENT.

    May 1, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  7. Jennifer

    This should be the headline...this is actually related to the election. It's time to move on and uinte this party!

    May 1, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  8. Joe (Exiled Hoosier)

    The S.S. Clinton hits an iceberg. Superdelegates to lifeboats first. Way to go Joe. Proud to be a Hoosier. Hillary, about that Valparaiso, IN plant closing and the jobs going to China. Bush didn't sign-off on it, Bill did!.

    May 1, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  9. my

    Wow, smart guy. That is exactly what I was thinking and I am beginning to dislike her more and more every day that I get another one of her fliers bashing him. I have not received a single thing about her and what she will do for this country. Not one.
    Indiana voter.

    May 1, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  10. Michael

    My Answer to Joe is!

    It may be too early. If you choose now who to support, and Hillary ends up winning in IN, or even coming close in NC and goes on to win in WV, KY, OR, and others it will be a VERY CLOSE race .

    Constantly polls are saying that more Clinton supporters would support McCain if Obama was the nominee. Don't think this is a smart move. Also, If you look at all the head to head polls, Clinton is topping McCain and Obama is down against him, especially in the wing states. Also if you take into account we need the rural voters to win in Nov that makes the case even more clear for Clinton. Obama has the "Wright", and "bitter" problem and the RNC and republican groups are not going to let those things go. It will cost us the election if people start deciding now.

    Also Clinton does technically have the popular vote right now, and if she wins IN, WV, KY, and other states by big margins, which in KY, and WV she probably will then she will even have a bigger popular vote count. Which I think will sway the DNC to count FL, and maybe go 50%, 50% in MI( which is only fair cause his name wasn't on the ballot). Then they will be very close in the delegate count and she will be ahead by a few hundred thousand in the popular vote.

    Also, her fundraising numbers will come out today. I think there are going to be some big surprises!!!


    May 1, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  11. Jen

    If the Democratic party doesn't want the race to continue any longer, then they shouldn't schedule their primaries to run so far into the year. It is completely unfair to voters in states who have not yet held their primary for party officials to try to force the race to be over at this point.

    May 1, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  12. Patricia

    I wish and pray that you would stop reporting this neg. information about Obama, this is not about Wright to is about the economic state. Please stop messing with the minds of the people.

    May 1, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  13. Jim

    Hillary's own suggestion that superdelegates vote for "whomever they think is the best" is still not working out for her.

    What is she going to suggest next? maybe....

    "Superdelegates should vote for the candidate whose last name comes first in alphabetical order??"

    May 1, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  14. Marylynette Ferguson

    I hope that other superdelegates witll do the same. Thank you for your courage and wisdom.

    May 1, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  15. Carolyn

    Wait to go Obama. The truth will always out wait a lie! God know what's best.

    May 1, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  16. Obama 2008

    Smart decision. Others will follow and the lead of 19 super delegates will disappear. And soon, Obama will lead on every count.

    Hillary is a fighter for sure. However, I prefer a fighter with integrity and honor. She has made a mockery of this race.

    My fear is that in her persuit of white house, she might keep fighting and sabotage Obama's chances to win in November.

    I sincerely believe that she wants no one else to win, if she can not.

    Do you want a person like that to lead our nation? I don't think so!

    May 1, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  17. Rich

    This is absolutely amazing to me....The Democrats appear to be compelled to nominate an inferior candidate!!!! I cannot believe that the Republicans are going to steal the White House this year, but they will if they go up against Obama, particularly if McCain picks a strong V.P. that can appear to the middle, like Romney or Guiliani.

    May 1, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  18. Jayjay

    Who is he to decide what is best for America? Judas was a traitor, too.

    May 1, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. Nana B

    There you go. Super delegates wake up.... I am not saying others should necessarily switch... but superdelegates are doing more harm than good by remaing undecided. McCann is getting too comfortable.
    Make your picks...Obama or Hilary?

    May 1, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  20. James

    Why is nobody talking about the Clinton's fraud case in California? To me, this would reflect on , say, one's pattern of honesty and fair dealing.

    But hey, she can drink a beer and a shot, so she must be a good candidate for president. With her millions, I'm surprised she has not promised drinks for everyone.

    She'd be a shoe in if she could pump gas.

    You don't have to be an elitest to realize you're being duped.

    May 1, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  21. Cherie Johnson

    Finally some of the leadership of the Clinton supporters see the handwriting on the wall and want to do what is best for the party. Also, most of congress is prepared to come out for Obama.
    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  22. Jaime

    I feel sorry for all the delegates who have or will support Obama. Some polls show they will have problems with the Wright issue as well haunting them (90% of people polled think this will be an issue for delegates who support Obama). If I were a delegate I would keep quite until after the next few primaries. Some people just are not as smart as I.

    May 1, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  23. tommy perkins (no fake name)

    Thank you....

    In time even Hillary Clinton's supporters will thank you. As a republican that switched parties to make sure the right person gets in office. It's about time we start seeing some of these so called smart people in Washington start to THINK about what is best for the party.

    May 1, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  24. Andrew from PA

    So rediculous!

    I don't understand why people would back someone with no solutions and no experience. Obama must be promising these super delegates some great positions when he's president.

    I think it is an absolute shame that we have another candidate on the table that has her proposals on her website (and they're very good), experience, and connects to the American people.

    Our superdelegates are just as stupid as the majority of american voters. You'd think after the GWB era we'd have learned our lesson to not elect someone just because we like them. But here we go again, america taking the suicidal pill.

    As for the rush of super delegates to get on Obama or Clinton's side, its because they're scoring deals to get positions right now... when their vote matters. Obama is trying to stay afloat and now blow this... but he's damaged goods right now and will lose the general, which is what Hillary has been trying to tell the American People (who don't listen). They should strike a deal for Obama to be vice president and combined we can have both the leadership and experience, while setting Obama up with the exerpience neccessary to lead this country.

    May 1, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  25. B positive

    Obama can't win.... unelectable!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
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