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. Divine inspired race

    More than anything I think this man's defection from Clinton speaks volumes about her, her campaign and her negativity. Hey Clinton supporters, he isn't the first defect from her campaign by the way. Don't you see the writing on the wall????

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  2. carrie

    i hate this country
    its a foolish country that has persecuted the best people and always takes the wrong.
    a country that now focuses on telling us stupid stories about popstars and silly stories.
    obama is too good for this country,
    you foolish americans deserve to have hillbilly as yuor president.

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  3. Germaine

    A gentleman and a scholar. Let the superdelegate avalanche begin.

    The cream is rising to the top, and that's not where Mrs. Clinton lives these days.

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  4. ali morisho

    Barack obama is a candidate that USA expect to elect as a president.GOD bless obama

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  5. M. Mitch

    Another person that knows the real Clinton's is making the switch. That certainly says a lot. Thank you Joe!!

    May 1, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  6. Edwin in NC

    I find the recent defections from Hillary's campaign quite interesting. Two weeks ago a major fund raiser and now another high profile backer is backing Barack Obama. This after her win in Pa. coupled with the Rev. Wright uproar.

    Hillary's Campaign has been such a roller coaster...

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

    Hillary supporters would like to use the term "traiter"....or "judas" in the case of Bill Richardson...but it is quite telling when long time Bill and Hillary supporters are jumping ship on a regular basis.

    May 1, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  8. M.Hilltut

    I have never heard of so many "turncoats" in all my life..What is happening to loyalty?

    May 1, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  9. Tim

    Enough with all the back and forth bickering between the Clinton and Obama supporters. This has gone on way too long. Senator Clinton fought hard, but she will not get the nomination. This needs to end after NC and IN. Thank you Chairman Joe Andrew. I applaud you for your courage to seek what’s best for this country. We must come together and unite and the clock is ticking, and the country is suffering.

    May 1, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  10. reality check

    The democratic party is crazy. You go ahead and try to make it whomever you want. McCain will win because you are not listening to the voters.

    May 1, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  11. yvonne from Texas

    well if he believes that so much why arent the other undecided superdelegates voting or thinking the way he is? know why?because many still believe that Hillary can pull it off....and she will!!

    May 1, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  12. M. Jan, Exton, Pa.

    Once again it is proved that this is the best country of the world because when we want change , we know when to change and who can bring change irrespect of color, race, religion. God bless these wise men/women.

    May 1, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  13. Look byond

    I think people like Joe Andrew should be commended for taking this giant leap in saving the democratic party, and for the betterment of this country.
    I think the remaining superdelegates should follow suit, and save us the grief and embarrasment that has befall the democratic party headed by that Howard Dean who hasn't put his foot down a say ENOUGH is ENOUGH..

    May 1, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  14. ThatsMYBama

    Many people ask why can't Barack put Hillary away. Many of you forget that The Clintons came into this race more popular, more connected, with enormous support of the "who's who" in the DNC. It appears to me we should be asking why has someone with so much of a head start, end up trying to catch up? Maybe many of the early endorsers though that The Clinton Machine was too much for anyone to compete with. It appears now that they have a viable option, many of them are jumping ship, because of what they know about or have seen during their days with Bill. The Clinton's mafia style tactics of pursuading Supers to back Hillary is a indicator of "More of the Same".

    GO BAMA!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  15. Sonyi

    There is something fishy going on with Hillary that we don't know about people. Let's not blow this election . Let's back Obama before it is toooooooooooooo late.

    May 1, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  16. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    For the love of the Party and America, thank you Mr. Andrew.

    May 1, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  17. John Bolinas

    Switching support when everyone knows your nominee is a bad practice. It is self betrayal to one's principle. The person's integrity is questionable and blemished. Who would believe in a flip-flop?

    This is what money and greed for power can do just to make people change their mind.

    Bad politics!

    May 1, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  18. Mike

    Joe, what a back-stabber you are, disloyal and two-faced!

    I hope the only job that is avaliable to you in the near future (if NObama is elected), is to clean the White House toilets!

    Go Hillary!!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  19. Mary - PA

    Welcome aboard Mr. Andrew!

    Yes We Can!

    May 1, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  20. Eddie P. rochester ny

    Even if Obama closes the door on Hillary now. McCain will knock the door down in the fall and walk right through him. Obama may become the door man at the white house opening doors for McCain.

    May 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  21. JH

    Thank you Mr. Andrew for being the straw that broke the back – this democrat is now going to support McCain. You are just yet another politician who will throw anyone under the bus. You stick with your very liberal friends and you can all have one pity party come November. I had been one of those that figured I'd hold my nose come November and vote Obama, but like you, I find loyalty to be a thing of the past.

    May 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  22. Abdul

    Good news !!!

    We are going to win this nomination and win the november election, change America and the world....

    OBAMA 08

    May 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  23. Maurice

    Mr Joe Andrews –all I can say is that you also have NO sense of Judgement by supporting a "loser" and weak leader as is Obama
    You were appointed by the Clintons and now at this stage of your political career? you decide to switch and give your support to a candidate who at his latest press conference about Rev Rite? or rather should I say Rev Wrong? was so weak and pathetic(just to see his body language) that his young daughters I'm sure could have done a better job –and you want him as a President??
    No ways -=- Hillary Clinton at least or otherwise John McCain at worst but ANYTHING better than Obama

    May 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  24. Dan in CO

    This particular road seems to be one-way.

    Has any superdelegate changed FROM Obama TO Clinton yet?

    May 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  25. lefty MD

    The sooner the superdelegates state thier support for Obama, the better.

    Remember who really has good judgement: Paula Abdul and Hillary Clinton both critique, describe, and judge events which never happened!

    May 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
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