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. Lori McMaster

    He is a fool.

    May 1, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  2. Sharon R.

    Hurray for Joe Andrews!. Hillary is running such a negative campaign it is turning many people off. You just can't do people wrong and not expect it to backfire on you. Obama will win the nomination because he has shown himself to be a great leader by his judgement and character. He is trying to unite the country not divide the country. He will prevail!

    May 1, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  3. Zack

    The right thing!

    May 1, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  4. D McNabb

    Another switch from Hillary to Barack. How much longer can this go on?

    May 1, 2008 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  5. carrie

    dont let the door smack you on your way ouy.

    May 1, 2008 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  6. William

    Another idiot. I'm ashamed to say that I've been a member of this party all my life. I am switching parties. If these idiots want to walk off a bridge I'm not following them. I hope Hillary wins by a landslide in Indiana and NC. Hillary or McCain, never Obama.

    May 1, 2008 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  7. Onyema

    Obama seems to be weathering the Wright controversy. I think it is high time the democrats rallied around him. Edwards needs to get off his high horse and endorse Obama. Clinton cannot make it and the longer she stays in the race, she preventsObama from focusing on the key issues he needs to address to the American public. She should bow out gracefully. She has run a tough but inept campaign. It is time for the key democrats to call the game and show her the cards. She needs a red card right now.

    May 1, 2008 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  8. Alice

    If a Clinton is involved, you can be sure the race will be in the gutter.

    May 1, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  9. yen

    This is what is needed for America. What a great person. Andrew is a sighted person. This is what I expected from the clintons themselves.They should be the leaders of the democratic party.Love thy country and love thy party!!!! Instead they are dying to be in the White House and kill obama along the wayand destroy the demo. party.If hillary thinks she will win after all what she is doing, then she is completely out of touch and is dilusional.

    May 1, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  10. rita/ohio

    Voters in N.C., and Indiana, ask yourselves why people who know and work so closely with the Clintons are moving over to Obama. These people know them better then anyone. My guess is they are tired of all the lies, and dirty tricks, and they know she cannot win in Nov.. Its time to end this. Please vote OBAMA 08.

    May 1, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  11. James, OH

    yeah, read the last sentence of the article:

    "He had endorsed Hillary Clinton last year, on the day she officially announced her White House bid."

    Superdelegates aren't gullible like most americans. They make the right choice, most of the time.

    May 1, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  12. Valerie Moss

    If Hillary wins this thing, these low life Judas swines better not need any favors from the White House for the next 8 years.

    May 1, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  13. mg

    Great news. It is about time the superdelegates used their spine and brought this to an end. I am often amazed by the ability of the Democratic party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Thank you Mr. Andrew for recognizing that Barack Obama has already won the Democratic nomination. The rest of this is just window dressing.

    As the former head of the DNC and selected by Bill Clinton, I believe this will carry alot of weight with other superdelegates who have been sitting on the fence.

    May 1, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  14. Cecile

    They are coming in drops and dribs, waiting for the stampede!!!!! "Yes We Can, Obama 08!

    May 1, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  15. Jay

    Hillary is making sure that her friend McBush gets elected. What a witch?

    May 1, 2008 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  16. Will (Indiana)

    That's OK. A lot of my friends and I are changing from Barack Obama to Hilliary Clinton. She gave an excellent interview yesterday that provided solutions and alternatives. Not much different then where she stood, but her answers were much better and more common sense then anyone of the candidates we listened to this year. My family has also changed their views of her and their support.If Hilliary don't win the democratic nomination, it will most likely go to the republicans, I have no problem changing again in November.

    May 1, 2008 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  17. Tootie from Cleveland, Ohio

    I'm sure he'll feel the pain when Hillary is the nominee.

    May 1, 2008 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  18. R Thomas

    People, if you didnt see what Michael Moore had to say about both candidates, please do. Michael more was right on target, what a good hearted and truthful man.

    May 1, 2008 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  19. Eddie

    Joe andrew has the courage America needs,These are the people we need in our government.Whether you agree with who he has endorsed or not,he had the courage to do what he think is best for the party and the country,not what is in his own interest for political gain.

    May 1, 2008 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  20. Tony Z-MD

    Thank you! We need a united party. We know Mr. Carville will be calling you some name, but that is ok. You are doing what is good for America.

    May 1, 2008 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  21. Bobby tray

    it would be best to vote for Obama to bring unity back to the democratic party. but that is not what Clinton and their supporters want. they want to try to win at all cost even though statistically they can not. another news worthy point that the media does not want to delve too much into because it help their ratings if this is dragged on.

    May 1, 2008 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  22. yousef Hamad

    Cnn Be fair give this BREAKING NEWS the right spot with a picture pleeeeease.

    May 1, 2008 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  23. dani

    yahoooooooo....... god always lift his chidren up when people think there is no hope again. ur wellcome home andrew, god will fullfill all ur heart desire. Good man i think every hrc surporter will open there eyes and not to be fool with this do anything to get elected family.

    obama 08

    May 1, 2008 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  24. BettiH, Indianapolis, IN.

    Is anybody other than me wondering why people keep leaving her campaign and joinging Obama's? Does this make the Superdelegates wonder why people are jumping ship?

    May 1, 2008 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  25. Navybill, Springfied, VA

    You Dems certainly have given the world a good show. Maybe some day you will settle down and grow up.

    May 1, 2008 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
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