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. CB

    Welcome to the winning team.

    Obama 08!

    May 1, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  2. Susan in SC


    Now if the SD will get in gear, we could have our nominee!!

    Go Barack!!

    May 1, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  3. Bill

    That takes guts, conviction, and integrity.

    May 1, 2008 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  4. JoinTheSinkingShip

    The race will go on until it ends. The people Obama chose to have around him will be the ones to do him in. Unfortunately he has not and cannot make the right decisions and is very slow to react under pressure.

    I think he will make a good President but he's got a lot of work to do personally before he steps onto the big stage.

    May 1, 2008 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  5. Donna Kay

    A smart patriotic man who can see what is best for the country !!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  6. MJL

    That my friends is to show that Obama isn't losing ground, he's gaining grounds.


    Obama '08

    May 1, 2008 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  7. Terri Ohio

    These are the people that know her best, what do they know her supporters dont?

    May 1, 2008 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  8. Eddie P. rochester ny

    How Stupid is Joe Andrew? at a time when Obama is falling on his face , even in a state in which he was leadindg in with high double digets, and has now dwindled down to a 2 % lead. Joe turns around and stoops to BACK- STABBING. DUMB- DUMB – DUMB. HEY JOE !!! WHAT'S YOUR IQ> SCORE? Can't you see that Obama is slipping behind in the current polls, and if all we know about him now ,had been out in the open at the very beginning of his campaign. Obama would have been gone a long time ago.

    May 1, 2008 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  9. gerald strother

    The end is coming for Clinton about time GO OBAMA

    May 1, 2008 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  10. Marissa

    LOVE IT. OBAMA 08! Yes, we still can, and YES, WE WILL.

    May 1, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  11. Sue, PA

    I think its the bible that says something like: To those that have much, even more shall be given unto them. I am convinced this refers to responsibility, not wealth. This is a man with great responsibility, confered upon him by the office he holds, he understands the importance of his role, to serve not one individual, but the people, so what does he do? He steps boldly forward. This my friends is integrity and leadership. I stand and applaud you and all the other superdelegates that have done as you have. Now let's go and win the White House and get this nation back on track!!!

    By the way, I suggest someone tell someone, anybody in the Hillary Campaign, to put a wedge under the door so they don't keep getting up to let people out. It's going to get busy.

    May 1, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |

    America belive me obama is the best for you I am a 35 years old man and belive that he is very very honest .but I have got one question to cnn .If obama was second would the democratic party give him the time to carry on as they did to Hillary ????? 100% NO AND EVERYBODY KNOWS WHY??? Iwant CNN to answer that question ON THE TV

    May 1, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  13. Ron

    CNN Needs to inform James Carville and Frank Sesno about this right away.

    Carville will want to put andrews in the same box as Richardson.

    Told ya so CNN.

    Goooooooooooo Obama

    May 1, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  14. Bryan

    very wise!
    more to follow

    May 1, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  15. Lorna, NY


    May 1, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |

    Thank you Rep. Andrew, your courage shows leadership, just what Obama has done!

    Go Obama, we are still with you! We will stand firm on the beliefs and vision you have for this country. It's time for a "CHANGE"!!


    May 1, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  17. Jack Walden

    ".. nor can we let this race fall any lower and still hope to win in November. ..."

    Thats how you stop a suicide bomber out to blow-up the whole party!

    May 1, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  18. Richard

    I dont care who wins the nomination I will be voting democratic because i am disgusted with the republicans for allowing bush to drive this country in the ground.

    May 1, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  19. Susie

    I think everyone should remember that the President appoints Supreme Court Justices. No matter what you believe about the Wright fiasco, you have to see that after 20 years of hate-filled bashing of this country, Obama continued his relationship with Wright until it was politically impossible. Why? Did he not understand Wright's rhetoric? Did he agree with Wright? Did he believe this rhetoric was common and acceptable? Will he judge future Supreme Court Justices with the same aplomb? It appears this superdelegate doesn't care for the answers to these questions. All elected politicians need to be aware that some of the voters are watching carefully to see their judgment in action.

    May 1, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  20. Michele, WV

    Once again...ANOTHER superdelegate..gone gone gone from Billary..lolol..they are getting smarter every day

    OBAMA 08/12

    May 1, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  21. Mike from CT

    Good job Joe Andrew .
    Hillary supporters,blog writers should come too.

    OBAMA 08

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  22. W PA

    Yes, the time has come to back the winner...politics is cruel, Obama would have been out 2-5-08 if it were the other way around. Clinton(s) ego is ruining the Democratic Party and personally I'm sick of their tactics. They tarnished their legacy and I will not see them in the same light and they lost all my respect. Yes, it will be a challange in Nov. for Obama but with his integrity and focus on the future well being of our country, he will have a chance against the Republicans, who will no doubt paint him with a different brush. With our standing together he will have that chance and I can't wait and will be so proud of our country to be to become the honorable country we are, again.

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  23. Carol in NC

    Thank you Chairman Joe Abdrew for your support of Obama. He is a decent man and will make a great president. You have helped his cause. I hope more superdelegates that supported Clinton will turn to Obama. I can't figure out why CNN or Fox hasn't made a story on Clinton's pastor about child abuse and the fraud case in Calif. There are some bad things Clinton's are hiding and people don't know.

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  24. Shelley in NC

    Thank you Mr. Andrew.

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  25. Go Obama! Yes You Can

    Yes sir ! You are a wise man!!
    Other supers please follow him.let this end soon and give obama some time before November..SDs please DON'T ENDORSE HILLARY NOW.
    She's done.
    And to SDs who supported HRC..feel free to switch to BO 😉

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
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