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. Donj, NJ

    Let's win back to the white house ALL Democrats (Clintonians, Obamanians, White, Black, Latinos), Independents and even some republicans or Obamicans. We can't afford another 4 years of Bush, McCain, War, recession.

    O8ama or Clinton 08, more O8ama.

    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  2. Xavier, St. Louis, MO

    Welcome aboard a winning campaign! My only question is, what took you so long? 🙂


    May 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  3. That Jay guy from Canada

    Ok: 19 to go...

    G08BAMA !

    May 1, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  4. MiddleRepublican

    I am really considering voting Democratic this year. This primary is very distasteful and sad. Issues have been left behind by the Democrats. You have all the cards but are choosing to fold. Clinton has no grace or manners. I looked at her and Obama's campaigns fairly but she lost me after Wisconsin.

    May 1, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  5. Bobby K

    This is a man who loves America enough to face the fallout that he is sure to get from the Clinton operatives.

    He is right both in his reasoning and in his choice putting America and the future first. I

    personally have decided that as a live long Democrat, if the super delegates override the people who voted and nominate Hillary, I will NOT vot for president in november. I will vote, but just not for president. I can not support such negative politics.

    Stop the negative campaigning Hillary. You are taking my country down in flames with you!

    May 1, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  6. SDB

    I wonder how much they paid him?

    May 1, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  7. David, Silver Spring, MD

    It is heartening to see superdelegates who look at this race in all its complexity and arrive at the conclusion that is best for this country.

    We cannot continue with the old ways of pandering to the citizenry, demonizing opposing politicians, and manipulating events and legislation to score politically at the sake of the well-being of our country.

    Barack Obama looks at the world with fresh eyes and sees the potential that still lies ahead of us. Hillary Clinton, like John McCain, seem content to let America slide into irrelevancy, as they pick through the scraps for things that might still be of value to themselves and their friends.

    May 1, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  8. Madeline, Martha's Vineyard

    . . . I'm not even going to say anything negative about Hillary at this
    point. This just goes to show that the HONEST AMERICAN PEOPLE and DELEGATE COUNT are going to choose the president. Not the media, Rev. Wright, spin, self-serving polls, untruth and inuendo. Thats why superdelegates are chosen, for their ability to rise to a higher standard and say what people who are scared to stand for truth won't say, that "the emperor has no clothes". Thank you Joe Andrews.

    Yes We Can.

    May 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. Agreed

    We need to unite and gather momentum for the real contest in November.

    Thanks Joe for providing leadership by reminding the voters and Super-D's what's really important.

    Indiana voteres: please turn out and vote for Obama!

    May 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  10. Emeka, Florida

    Why are we delaying on the inevitable candidate. Obama clinched this nomination since super Tuesday. The longer this race is, the more chance Mcain has to win in November. Democrats be wise and shine your eyes!

    May 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  11. Kansas Veteran

    We will be waiting until the Democratic Convention is over, this is truley how the selection of a canidate is suppose to occur.

    If I were to do anything different, I would divided the nation into 4 regions and hold regional primaries say in Jan, Mar, May and July.....Convention and its over and everyone gets to have a voice.

    Personnaly I am tired of the 24 month exploratory/primary season before we even get to the real elections. If it were not for the fact of America demanding change, the public would have turned their backs on this primary season months ago, But tjat said, the canidate is not picked until the primary. If the DNC wishes to get a jump on the election, there is nothing I know of that says the DNC can not start campaigning against the Republican canidate, who by the way will not be the official canidate of the Republican party until after their convention.

    May 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  12. A. Harrison

    These back and forths will happen until someone drops out or they actually vote at the convention and this will be taken to the convention.

    May 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  13. kaduke

    "The time to act is now". That about sums it up, don't you think? One way or another, or one person or another, this fratricide must end if we're to prepare for the upcoming election against John McCain. Folks, we are all in this boat together, and as it sinks we bicker about who should give the order to bale. Get over yourselves! Either of the two democratic candidates will be better than the alternative, by light years. So, if your guy-gal doesn't win, shed a tear, wipe your nose, stand up straight, and go fight like hell for the the winner, so that we can take our country back! THIS IS OUR TIME!

    May 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  14. Glenn

    So what happens when the primaries are over and the superdelegates have made their choices...and still no one has the needed amount of delegates to get the nomination? What then? We flip a coin? I'm definitely not voting for Obama. He is a great talker, but I would rather judge a person on the results of their works over the eloquence of their presentation.

    Hillary 2008!

    May 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  15. jd

    Thank You! Good choice. OBAMA/08

    May 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  16. Freida NYC

    Whatever! Hillary will our next president!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  17. Robert in Toronto,ON

    Thank goodness – another pleged Superdelegate. Personally, I want this primary over now. The ridiculous attacks made by initially by Clinton, that debate debacle, Rev.Wright, and the "Bittergate" flap have all taken a toll on Obama. Once he is the nominee, he will get back to the issues and go forward with a message of positive changes for America.

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

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  19. Frank Lee

    Drip, drip, drip.

    Slowly Hillary is going down the drain.............

    May 1, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. Marge Hibbing Mn

    I guess Dean and the DNC will PRESSURE the rest of the super delegates to do the same. BUT SEE the polls where more and more and more Democrats are telling the DNC -"If obama is the candidate we'll vote for McCAin"....we have the stupidest bunch of dems running this party you ever saw.

    In eight years obama might have had enough political savvy to be a good president but right hiss. He jumped the gun. Since the percentage of Democrats added to the republicans who will vote for McCAin we see another republican presidency. And the voters are so teed off at the Democrats there are rumors that they might lose their very slim majority in the senate. I know kerry will have a hard time, and they say dodd and biden are going to have a big fight for even the nomination. So what did all this get them. THEY WILL LOOSE THE SENATE, GOODNESS KNOWS HOW MANY IN THE HOUSE AND THE PRESIDENCY FOR SURE IF OBAMA IS THE CANDIDATE.

    May 1, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  21. stephy

    I think Hillary's little stunt at the pumps really showed how out of touch she is. The woman doesn't even know how to pump gas, or get her own coffee, because she is so rich she has someone else do it. How can you relate to my struggle if you have never had to struggle? I hope the rest of the Superdelegates finally see her for what she really is. she is just a Spoiled Brat, who has to have her way regardless of the cost!

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

    In a year when anybody should have been able to take the White House from the Republicans, the Dumbocrats are offering two ridicules choices that can't win. Drop them both and draft Al Gore.

    May 1, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  23. D R

    It's starting! I can hear the fat lady warming up behind the curtain. She has a big hook in her hand too!

    May 1, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  24. Krissy, FL


    OBAMA 08/12

    May 1, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  25. derwin cange

    this is the best thing to happen to obama in a while. this is interesting because the reason behind the switch makes sense. the party needs to heal and this is a step forward.

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