May 1st, 2008
12:12 PM ET
6 years ago

Major Clinton backer switches to Obama

CNN

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. bigben

    Bunch of guys ganging up on Hillary how sad. I call out to all Clinton supporters do not vote for Obama in the ge. They used MI and FL has momentum for Obama. With Hillary up in Indiana and close in NC. They are ganging up on her to take her out.
    It sad watching a bunch of guys gang up on a woman.

    May 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  2. Irshad, Ontario, Canada

    US politics is so dirty that anything can happen. As outsider, I don't see Hillary Clinton trustworthy to be US president. If she gets elected then USA should be declared as ruled by monarchy as in last 20 years only Bush and Clinton ruled USA. Very shameful fact!

    May 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  3. Peter R

    After the Pain-sylvania joke, the Wright incidents etc....

    Obama is still getting Clintonian converts. What does that say?
    Wake up and send Hill a packing!!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  4. Obama08

    WOW!! This is great- Joe Andrew we thank you!

    VOTE Democratic - Unless you want 4 more years of another Bush-

    If you think things are hard now...

    don't let hate-your pride hurt the nation.

    VOTE Democratic no matter what!!

    May 1, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  5. AKRON, OHIO OBOMA SUPPORTER

    thank you JOE ANDREW i agree with you. It is time to get ready for the general election.

    May 1, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  6. jj

    Let the states decide, who are you to dictate to the people. These last states FINALLY GET A VOICE IN AN ELECTION. Let them have their say. The party will do what it will do, if people don't want to vote for Obama or Clinton, they won't, no matter who gets the nomination, there will be unhappy people, why didn't you stay with Clinton, she is the better leader of the two. You are following a herd that didn;'t know about Obama, he was pushed there by incomplete info. Notice he hasn't won any states since things have started to come out about him. ?????

    May 1, 2008 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  7. linda

    it's a joke to see a 10 truck motorcade following senator clinton trying to make a point at a gas station. she opposed the summer gas tax relief in 2000 (i think) and now she's in favour. isn't she the one that agreed with senator obama that michigan and florida votes don't matter in the first place? first, she said it's up to the voters who have a final say, then she later changed her mind and said that superdelegates matter and that the electoral vote is only part of the process when she knew she couldn't catch up with senator obama. i would sincerely hope that senator clinton would stop attacking senator obama with her negative television advertisements which will only harm her own credibility and most importantly, senator obama's when he has to wrestle with senator mccain in november.

    May 1, 2008 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  8. Sly Domber

    When your friends and family start moving to your neighbors house, maybe they have a hunch where the meat is...and maybe it's time to move too. I love Hillary, was a supporter, but I think we need to be honest here...we're blowing a chance and this only gets McSame elected! I think Hill should give Obama a call and say, "take me as vice and i'll drop out" and let's end this thing...I mean, with all the hoopla about PA, only net 9 or 10 delegates!

    May 1, 2008 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  9. Kate

    PA voters stood their ground, I didn't realize the Presidency
    had an internship program for learning how to debate and be
    an effective leader. Why won't Obama face Hillary? What is
    he so terribly afraid , of? Oh, the truth, Bye-Bye, Obama, maybe in
    8 years, he will be prepared to take the heat and the
    criticism...take care and brush up on your skills..

    May 1, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  10. A GEORGIA MAMA THAT LOVES OBAMA!!!!

    Thank you Mr. Andrew! My sentiments exactly!

    And by the way Rev. Wright! Shut your face! Nobody wants to see you, and this campaign is NOT ABOUT YOU! You just want to take this to the bank! America, if he comes out with a book, PLEASE DON'T BUY IT! Also, please stop booking this moron to speak at public events!

    He is a disgrace to black people, and he is lying about black churches and black preachers preaching as he does in the pulpit! He is a lie and the truth is nowhere in it! I am black and from the deep south, and every black church that I have grown up in, preaches a lot more about Jesus and God! I didn't hear Rev. Wright mention God or Jesus once in his soundbites!

    Rev. Wright you are a disgrace, and I hope you will be proud of your stupid self, if you are the black crab in a barrel that is responsible for keeping the first man of substance, that is at least half black from being President with your BIG UGLY MOUTH YOU PLAYER HATER CLOWN! KEEP MY BABY BARACK'S NAME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!!

    And Clinton, don't even think about trying to capitilze further on this! You just need to bow out gracefully, and stop dividing our party! I will NOT BE VOTING FOR YOU!

    OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT! YES WE CAN AND YES WE WILL! 2008

    May 1, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  11. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Good!

    May 1, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  12. tom

    thank you a way to go
    obama 08

    May 1, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  13. KC

    This means that Obama is the right candidate and we all know it .

    I still wonder what Clinton's family forgot in the White house that they want to go and take.

    This is the time for CHANGE.

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  14. checago Bright

    Great! Welcome on aboard. The change message is touching lives.

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  15. dmw

    Just like the Democrats, they always back the loser. However, I know some in the Democratic party are nervous and they do not want to allow Hillary the possiblity of beating Obama. This will make the Democratic party look foolish as they usually do, if the best person for the jobm Hillary, gets the nomination.

    There is no way Obama will be President. It's too late. We all know that Obama agrees with Rev. Wright and his black liberation, why else would you stay in that church for 20 years. Either Obama is a typical politician or he lied about being a regular church goer, which means he is a liar. Either way, I'll never vote for him. He is not the best qualified for this job.

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  16. Heavy the D -Dallas

    it's about time and that time has come for super delegates to act in order to put democratic party together for Nov. Thanks

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  17. jj

    Also, take a good look at the poll of polls, Obama will not win in Nov. Do you really want to lose then???

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  18. Peg

    Glad there are supers who still know which one is the best candidate for our country. Thanks! It took courage for you to change camps.

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  19. Elisabeth

    Oddball

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  20. ITS NOT 3AM EVERYONE PLS WAKE UP!!!!

    YEAH, THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE OUT THERE WITH COMMON SENSE.

    WHEN BILL BETRAYED THE OVAL OFFICE WITH HIS ADULTEROUS ACT, EVEN CONFESSING IT AND GOING THROUGH IMPEACHMENT, AMERICA FORGAVE HIM. HILARY HAS TOLD LIES WITH HER OWN MOUTH AND WILL SYA ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED, YET AMERICA FORGAVE HER.

    OBAMA'S FORMER PASTOR HAS SAID SOMETHING WE KNOW HE DOES NOT BELEIVE, YET WE CRCUCIFY HIM?? DOUBLE STANDARDS.

    THANK YOU SIR, WELCOME ABOARD, YOU GIVE ME A REASON TO BELEIVE THE CLINTON CAMP IS PHONY!!!!!

    OBAMA 2008

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  21. HeyObamaYouRock

    AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO DEMOCRATIC SUPER DELIGATES..
    Every super delegate who endorsed Mrs.Hillary Clinton before knowing the actual truth about her, are forgiven and given a last chance to change their minds before its too late.

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  22. Dee

    Finally! If Clinton was the best person to lead our country, then there wouldn't be a young, bi-racial man, with the funny name in the lead. Our country is about the Will of the American people.

    The 'Will' has spoken! Obama 08!

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  23. Katy Hill Prescott, Az.

    It is really sad that folks can't see Clinton is playing to their fears and promoting a racial divide. She appeals to the uneducated, ignorant biggots, those who remember "the Clinton years" in a world that has drastically changed from that time. YOU CAN"T GO BACK FOLKS!!!@!

    May 1, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  24. connie

    Its about time someone had enough guts to take a stand like this!
    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  25. Shawna

    Wose losing ground now? Oce upon a time the Clinton camp said none of their backers were telling her to get out of the race, now several formal backers are not only telling her to get out of the race their jumping ship...the time has come for her to realize that despite tearing Obama down, pushing innuendo, and peddling fear, Obama has lost two or three points and a handful of Clinton supporters. As Obama has said those who support him continue to support him, and those who don't will continue to look for a reason. The economy, women's rights and the failed policies of the Bush Admin. will sway the rest.

    May 1, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
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