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. Jim

    WONDERFUL news, WONDERFUL! It's the end of Hillary... get lost and take your fool husband with you PLEASE and SOON.

    May 1, 2008 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  2. John, Marietta, GA

    Those who act as if Clinton can still win are just kidding themselves. All she wants to do is detroy Obama, so she can run in 4yrs. The Clintons feel they have some sort of right to the Oval office.

    May 1, 2008 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  3. vanchav

    The fat lady is SINGING Hillary...

    P.S. News is out the SDs have already decided on Obama but are waiting for the last primary to end

    May 1, 2008 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  4. Sue in Florida

    Isn't this old news, didn't he announce last week that he was going to do this. And he thinks that he can ask someone to quit when they appear to be even in the polls somewhat. Forget it, it isn't going to happen, when did he become God. Hillary gets to stay the course.
    Remember guys, that our reps in Florida and MI did us in but if this had not happened, Obama would be the one that would have needed
    to leave long ago.

    Plant your feet Hillary and stay. Obama will not beat McCain, especially
    if many leave the party. And it's most unfortunate that the democrats
    may cost us the election. I would not cave if I were Hillary.

    May 1, 2008 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  5. Kasha

    Wow....this man has a heart for America. God bless him! It seems to me that after all Obama's attacks for Hillary, Mccain, and even his own pastor, he has remain honest and calm. I think I am going to change my vote over to him.

    Thank you Lord for the revelation.

    May 1, 2008 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  6. what ever

    Hmm... Interesting. Why would you not wait until June 3rd? That is only a month away. As Dean put it, by the end of June this should be over. I like that, but if no one concedes by the end of June, this will go all the way up to the convention where delegates are truly counted. Infact, superdelegates and pledged delegates can switch their votes at the last minute in the convention.

    May 1, 2008 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  7. Jim

    Hillery can fool some of the people some of the time .... The media is with out question the most difficult opponent Obama is running against. CNN, still no reporting about that little case in Ca. that would end the Clintons run in this election.

    May 1, 2008 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  8. Jon, Somewhere, MI

    Who? If this guy is all that major, why has nobody heard of him? In other news, Insider advantage released a poll this week that shows Obama losing to Hillary Clinton in North Carolina. Maybe it was a little early for the rat to jump from the not quite so sinking ship.

    May 1, 2008 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  9. big_puppy

    Good for Chairman Joe Andrew and welcome. It is what is best for the country and thank you.

    May 1, 2008 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  10. kells


    May 1, 2008 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  11. Gerard

    It must be clear Hillary is indeed a warmonger..... she isn't afraid of sniper fire at all, you remember?
    We, in Europe are shocked by Hillaries threat to bomb Iran totally nucleair, if they bomb Israel. Iran is not a babybear, but she she will start the third worldwar. She doesn"t even agree on all her mistakes she made so far! We don't want her in the International politics at all.
    Are you afraid of "an International person", who is strong and has no fear. The world is waiting on a person like Barrack Obama.

    May 1, 2008 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  12. J3T

    The Fat Lady in the pant suit is warming up!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  13. liz

    This switch just shows that some people have no loyalty. Both Andrew and Hill have shown us that there are alot of backstabbing people in politics. I hope Hill is not re-elected when he runs again and Andrew not selected to be on the DNC.

    Clinton will be the nominee even without their support. She will show everyone that she is the stronger candidate.

    Just wanted to tell CNN that I am tired of seeing Michelle and Barack Obama on TV now. CNN is showing it over and over and its getting to me now. Please stop it NOW. You are treating them like they are royalty. Let us see and hear more postive things about Clinton. Its about time she has the same equal time on air.

    May 1, 2008 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  14. Paul VA

    This Man understands what Americans need. Americans need someone different from Bush to be in the White House. Destroying the Democratic Party does not help on economy crisis, war in Iraq, credit and house crisis, transportation, jobs, healthcare, etc. Democrats have already decided. The Nominee is Obama. Let’s move now for the November election. We should not lose the November victory because of personal fight. Hillary needs to understand that she cannot be the nominee for any cost. She should stop destroying the party. This November election was the most easy to win for democrats. But know Hillary changed all the cards. I'm sure, if instead of a Clinton there was another person in the same situation as Hillary, that person would have left the race after the Virginia, Maryland and DC elections.

    Hillary, leave the race and let us win in November

    May 1, 2008 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  15. Bitter PA

    Clinton is everything liberals detest.....two-faced, dishonest, hostile, and so weak in character her only chance to win to to run a total smear campaign agaist her opponent. Sound like Bushy Jr. to anyone?

    I hope more people jump ship now that she has shown her true colors.

    The democratic party can count on losing my vote if she is the nominee.

    May 1, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  16. walt ohio

    Thank you Joe! Yes it is time to get the ball rolling for the DNC. Before it happens to you, just plug your ears. The media seems to be against anyone that is for Senator Obama. Wolf (Clinton) Blitzer, John King Clinton, and Lou Two-faced Dobbs Clinton should have more to whine about now that you have switched from the lying Clintons, to a man that is WINNING, and WILL WIN the nomination. " OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW. OBAMA 08 and 12 BYE BYE TO THE BILLARYS

    May 1, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  17. ThatsMYBama

    WOW! Good Job Mr. Andrew! " Can you hear that? That is the sound of inevitablility!"

    May 1, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  18. Kasha

    sorry, i misspelled "from" hillary, mccain and even his own pastor....

    ....or should I say that I misspoke

    May 1, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  19. raymond

    Good Sir very good It's time to see what the reality is.. Thanks

    May 1, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  20. Bob of VT

    Joe Andrew's endorsement is an extremely smart move and a just in time move to save the election in November. He has is to be congradulated!!
    Obama is the only Democratic candidate that can win in November!!

    May 1, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  21. Angelika

    Good! Let's band together and get a Democrat in office!

    May 1, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  22. A.M. Saqib

    Mr. Joe Andrew; thank you so much for your very valuable endorsement. It is indeed very true what you said. Time is NOW to actively support 'Obama' and not later. Republicans having the field day, and can you imagine they are thinking that they will take white house in 2008, where chances are very very strong for 'Democrats' to be in the white house this year.

    Once again, I admire your foresight tremendously.

    A.M. Saqib
    Houston, Texas

    May 1, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  23. Jamaal Kansas

    This is what I call MOMENTUM the tide is turning Democrats Lets Unite and Get John Mcshame

    May 1, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  24. Mark

    Everything thats important is based upon TIME AND SPACE and not MONEY and RACE. As is with this election, remember people don't allow your iIntelligence to overide your common sense, or we shall all loose.

    Go Obama 2008!!

    May 1, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  25. carl d

    with all Obama has entailed over the last few weeks. super delegates still believe in him. I mean for a super delegate that was once in the clintons corner, decided to switch over to Obama. tells you something there.....WOW....welcome Joe Andrew.

    May 1, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
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