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. Florida For Obama

    Uh oh, Hillary supporters are starting to wise up & jump ship. Even with that know....Rev Wright still hanging around. The tide is turning, and racism is getting pushed out of the way. Let go of that burden and vote your heart.

    May 1, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  2. Kim

    He has known the Clintons for a long time and is switiching his vote; he isn't the first "friend" to do so. What does that say about her? She can't even keep friends how can she unite us?

    May 1, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. Jimmy

    This really don't make sense. If he wanted to help the democratic pary in November, he should distance himself from Rev. Wright, (if he thought that Rev. Wright's wrds were that atrocious), not Hillary. Hillary didn't join trinity over 20 years ago, Rev. Wright was not her pastor or mentor, she did not write a book inspired by one of Rev. Wright's sermons. Although she would be a better person if she was a disciple of Rev. Wright. It is because of moves like this that we will have 4 more years of Bush. Obama is unelectable. As a African American minister in Chicago, I spoke with numerous people yesterday who will not vote for Obama because he publicly threw one of the most sacred elements of our community under the bus to gain approval of people who have appresssed African Americans for well over 400 years. We know that there is an element of the white population that will never vote for him, noe there is a growing segment of the Christian African AMerican population who 's mupset also. Good Luck Obama!

    May 1, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  4. Gail

    Get over it are you afraid hillary might win your state.

    You are a another in the line of people that can't stand that the hillary might acturally win. Very disapointed in the democratic party as a whole.


    I will vote for McCain....

    May 1, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  5. the Former Republican

    Well, i guess he is not the only intelligent Individual on the side of Clinton, so let's just be patient and enjoy it, while waiting for a few more to change sides, once they awake.

    Thank Obama!

    May 1, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. Ray

    Hillary lies, Bill lies.... The numbers don't! Barack is ahead in every statistical category! The truth shall come to the light.... Just ask Joe

    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  7. Lisa Salt Lake City, Utah

    Yeah Mr. Andrew – you're doing the right thing. Wouldn't it be nice to have a well dressed, well spoken, cool headed, thoughtful commander in chief, rather than an angry fighter?

    May 1, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |

    Welcome on board the winning wagon mate...Wise choice – AND ANOTHER SUPERDELEGATE FOR OBAAAMAAAA, more interestingly, HE HAS JUST SWITCHED SIDE FROM CLINTON TO OBAMAAAA...

    May 1, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  9. E CT

    This is the move all superdelegates need to start doing.,otherwise they will be sorry come November. And this is one more reason for Senator Clinton to drop out and endorse Senator Obama.

    May 1, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  10. Iykeman

    Why is it that it is Clinton Backers that are defecting to Obama? Indiana and North Carolina, You have to end this race now.

    Obama '08

    May 1, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  11. Former Republican

    I thought the other 5 were going to hurt her....this is one is especially bad...something is going on in her campaign, as a Obama supporter I am shocked by this one. What was said about her campaign having an "if I can't win the nomination, he won't win in November" attitude last week must be partially true, why would so many people be leaving her campaign?

    May 1, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  12. jyl

    Thank you, Super Delagates for finally respecting the will of the people. It is time to allow Barack to address the issues which we as Americans face: rather than, all of this side tracking which the media seems to be giving attention to. Please for the interest of this country, the future of our children as well as for everyday Americans get off of the fence and make your decisions according to what is reflectiving within the primary's. It is down right rude and disrespectful for a canidate to disregard voters all over this country by stating that she has won the "Important" states. Has it occured to anybody that had it not been for the votes which have already taken place that she would not be in the place that she is in? If I am not allowed to vote for Obama in November I will stay home. I cannot support nor trust a nominee who has used such dishonest and devisive campaigning to run this country. All I can say at this point is Barack may the force be with you!!!

    May 1, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. Debi

    If the process is just taking simply to long may be the DNC should have let Michigan vote early and count them. Its not like they didn't ask first.

    Anyone who leaves their candidate at this point (on either side) should not be trusted. They are wishy washy.

    It doesn't matter what democrat wins, neither will take the white house. The party is not divides because of HRC or Obama. It is divided because the DNC thinks...... and they aren't equiped for thinking.

    May 1, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  14. Apollyon

    Better late than never!!! Also on POLITICO they have a scoop that is saying Obama has all the Super Delegates he needs and more to get the nomination. That some are only waiting because they have primaries themselves to contend with this month, and they don't want to tick off the Clinton's, (who may cause trouble for them by coming out), nor do they want to offend women primary voters. Makes sense.

    So it's over folks! Time to start getting together so we can finish off the Republican Party in November.

    May 1, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  15. Zimmer

    The supergelegates need to listen to Joe Andrew. He knows the Clintons and he knows that Hillary is unfit to be president. He also knows that if the superdelegats wait until the end of June to commit, as John Edwards is demanding, it will be too late. McCain is hot on the campaign trail and by June, he will have locked in key swing states, while the Democrats continue to eat their own. Plain and simple: Hillary Clinton does not have the math behind her. Her win in PA was not enough. Obama continues to pull in superdelegates and he will win the lion's share of pledged delegates and popular votes. Now, not next month, not next week, is the time for the superdelegates to throw their support behond Obama and end this destructive battle. Sure, they'll lose a few radical Clintonites, but they will gain something more important for the future of the party: voters under 40 are fired up for Obama unlike anything seen since JFK. Voters under 30 are flocking to the Democratic Party in numbers never seen before. This is more important than allegiance to Hillary Clinton, who represents the old party line.

    May 1, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  16. Guy

    So the conversion starts but not from Obama. Clinton losing a long time Superdelegate is not good news.

    May 1, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. Nick, Texas

    Hillary cant win the nomination. When will her support realise this mathematical fact? Its Obama v McCain people, either get behind Obama or prepare for a third Bush term. Period.

    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  18. Didine - Maryland

    That is a very wise decision from Chairman Andrew. We have to support the winning team. Obama is the right choice for America. He will unites the country and together " Yes – We Can"
    It is too late for Mrs. Clinton, she need to step out and support Obama.

    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  19. ex. NC resident

    I guess he didn't read the story following this...
    "Poll of polls: Obama losing ground."

    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  20. PatElly

    Who cares what Andrews think, he failed at his job during Gore's run at the Presidency and if Obama is the nominee for the Dem's the elitist will again screw this up. They will not win the appalacian vote and McCain has already figured that out. Way to go Dem's, find another way to blow this election!!!!........DEMOCRATS FOR MCCAIN!!!!.....

    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  21. HillarySkank on myspace

    Wonderful news.
    Bye bye Hilly, I sure won't miss you so
    Bye bye Hilly, now it's time to goooooooo!

    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  22. sue

    Hes doing this for the GOOD OF THE PARTY.


    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  23. Channell

    Its raining superdelegates, hallelujah!

    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  24. Hunter

    It is about time the democratic party leaders make a stand one way or the other to begin ending this primary race.

    I truly believe we as americans are at a point where we are either going to move forward and include all or stay the same an continue the practice of exclusion for at least another generation.

    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  25. Apollyon

    Spider: It's not that they have changed their minds, they are just using time to their advantage.

    Peace Out!

    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
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