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. Daniel K.

    Those who know the Clintons best are deserting them. That says it all.

    May 1, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. Molly

    The people who are switiching now are giving the White House to McCain. Obama can not win in November. He has not been honest about Mr. Wright and can not explain his answers about his taking so long to distance himself. But then I might be a tipical white woman or be one of the bitter gun toting church going people.

    May 1, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. RW

    Thank you Joe, its time to put an end to this madness, we must focus on getting America back on track, jobs, health care, energy, not the nonsense that has side track this important debate, Obama must stay focus, its no doubt he will be nominated, and the party's superdelegates needs to come forward now, America troops are losing their lives every day in a Bush created war, that had cause financial problems here for every American and every legal emigrant who has made this county as their home. I am a self employed Bajan American

    May 1, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  4. kim nyc

    WHAT WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!


    May 1, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. Nic

    It,s about our Nation and the world.Right judment sir.I wish others follow in his judment .Sen.Clinton is not even in office yet,but she is already talking like Bush on a war with Iran.We the people are tired of all this nonsence.We need peace.We need love understanding,human dignity and respect for others cultural values as well as we share many cultural similarities.But the point is we all are striving for the same goal and we can all get there.Sen.Obama will be a good leader if we all give him our thrust.Together we stand,divided we fall.God Bless American.

    May 1, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. Snowcat

    "A vote for Clinton is a vote to continue this process?"..that's the point you idiot! A large number of we Democrats want to see this continue because we sincerlly beleive Obama is the wrong choice. So quit trying to stop the will of the people and let this process continue. I am so fed up with the leaders of this party trying to shove one candidate down our throats! I have never seen such a show of disloyalty in my life. First you pledge to HIllary and then for political gain you switch to Obama? What did he promise you? Another party job? All of these people trashing the Clintons will be begging them to raise money for them in the future. Is this the point we consider a write in for Hillary? The party does not respect the wishes of it's strongest and most dedicated members...the older,wiser know the ones that actually show up to vote in the general elections?....Becasue of these party leaders who are trying to run this race.....Never Obama...NEVER!

    May 1, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  7. Eddie G

    It is time for the party to unite and Obama is the candidate. He will win in November if the Democrats stop the bickering and back the best and most honest candidate. He has shown that he can take a punch, a barage of punches, and come out standing.

    Obama is the candidate for America!

    May 1, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. Sylvia

    We need to make sure this guys loses his seat in office, as he no longer does what is right for America!

    May 1, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  9. Cliff

    Perhaps Joe Andrew knows more about the Clinton's than the news is willing to report. What does CNN know about the Peter Paul case that is just now going to court? Why are you not covering this? I feel that it is much more important to look at a candidates personal actions rather than those of a candidates former minister.

    The more I watch Hillary the more I see some major problems with her honesty. It is clear that she is first and foremost a politician, willing to say anything to be elected. I have heard some reports that the Clinton campaign machine may be responsible for the initial release of the Wright videos and for stirring the coals over the past week or so.

    CNN please try and be objective in your reporting.

    May 1, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  10. JD

    I guess he wants to help hand the race over to John McCain then, if you noticed the polls lately, it is Clinton that is leading over Barak in many situations. Clinton is the only person that will be able to be McCain, I am a democrat and I will be voting for McCain if Obama is the nominee, and voting in Florida, a battle ground state, that will make a bid difference.

    Hillary 08

    May 1, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  11. Anonymous

    When the Rev. William Procanick put his hand on the Bible during his sex-abuse trial
    in Oneida County Court earlier this year, he swore to tell the whole truth and nothing
    but the truth. But as the former Clinton pastor was sentenced Friday to three years in
    prison for inappropriately touching a 7-year-old girl at his home last March, Judge
    Michael L. Dwyer said Procanick sacrificed his honesty the day he testified.

    Okay, so now that Bill and Hillary Clinton's pastor has been convicted of child
    molestation, will we see the same furor directed at Hillary that Obama has had
    to endure these last few weeks?

    May 1, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  12. switch to a looser

    Obama is weak... even if he pulls the nomination he will loose in November. I want my vote back... He knew about all this before he started to run and choose to ignore it. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.... This is out of Bush play book...ignored the signs for 911, ignored the signs for the economy taking a nose dive and still does. burry your head in the sand and wait till November.

    I hope the superdelegates do their job.

    May 1, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If Joe Andrew carries a lot of influence in Indiana, then this could hurt Clinton. I wonder which members of the party and elected officials really have any kind of influence over voters.

    Even with a slight loss to Clinton, Obama would still have a lead that she can't over come in the convention. Unless Clinton has huge upsets in the remaining contests (I am talking winning by 15% to 30%), she isn't going to win or come close enough to be able to make a real strong case to the remaining super delegates.

    May 1, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  14. Daniel Stevens

    God this tit for tat is getting so old. I am praying that the good people of Indiana stand up and sing out strong NO MORE by putting Barack Obama over the top. I am praying that the good people of Indiana, oops sorry AND North Carolina 🙂 Say to the talking heads and the pandering addicts NO MORE by putting Barack Obama over the top.

    Most of all I am praying that people will all come together no matter what happens. Folks it is far to important a time in our nation to let pettiness and resentment to rule the day.

    I hope to God I am not wrong in my belief that we are a better people and nation than the press would have us believe.

    May 1, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  15. Michelle, Indiana

    Welcome aboard the winning team Mr. Andrew! Please convince your fellow Hoosier superdelegates that this is the right choice.

    May 1, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  16. Concerned Voter

    It is sad to see politicians who won't let the process work. This is not communism. Obama is to be elected, not annointed. If it needs to go to the convention, then so be it. If a game is not over, isn't there overtime, extra innings, penalty kicks?

    May 1, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  17. Amy OFlaherty Reno, NV

    AWESOME!!! I sure hope others start to trickle in.

    May 1, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  18. Hubert

    GO OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  19. CW in DC

    OUCH!!! That's really gotta hurt!!!

    Have the Clintonites began to wonder yet why so many people that know the Clintons seem to be moving away from her? Maybe they know something we don't.


    Allllll aboooooooooard!!!

    May 1, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  20. Zack

    His points are valid; the more this contest drags on, the more troublesome this is going to be in November. For one, McCain is going to be fresh and his campaign waiting to pounce on whichever of the two Democratic candidates goes on; and second, the democratic candidate is going to be in a weak position in trying to unify the democratic voter base and try to fend off the swiftboating attacks at the same time, not only that, many resources that could have been spent on the Presidential Election were instead used for the Primaries.

    I hope the other superdelegates realize this as well.

    May 1, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  21. Barry Scott

    The gas tax holiday is pandering in it's simplest form. Indiana and NC would do well to study the matter just a bit–it would not help, but it sounds like she cares about you. Really all she wants is to win, and clearly she'll lie and pander to do it.

    Obama 08!

    May 1, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  22. KimSC

    Guess the DNC does not mind losing the Presidency to the Republicans, Obama has no chance of winning in the general election, you can't explain away Rezko, Ayers, and Wright wth pretty speeches.

    That is ok with me, as a Democrat I will be voting for McCain IF Obama gets the nomination.

    May 1, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  23. hermajesti

    I applaud Joe Andrew on his step switiching to Obama. We need to really peel our eyes open and see what is going on. While everyone is looking at Jeremiah Wright, Clinton and Mccain were talking about this"Tax Holiday" mess. Obama was the only one that was honest and stood firm to his stance on that topic that it would not work in our favour but instead in the long wrong hurt us. Wright is his FORMER pastor. Let's move on and deal with the real issues gas prices, the economy, etc people. We need not wait to choose our democratic candidate all the way in August. Or will definately lose to another 4 years of republican bufoonery.

    May 1, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  24. Godwin

    Perfect timing Chairman Joe. We need to end this thing right now. It's going to be real sad if the Dems blow this golden chance of capturing the white house again.

    May 1, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  25. Josephine

    Goooooooooood Thank you.

    May 1, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
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