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. Randy, VA

    He should of waited until after Obama's wifes interview on 360 before he switched. Obama's wife is is rude and nasty. And thoses are her better points. She insulted the young lady who interviewed her and she interviewed her with kidd gloves. Even having Caroline Kennedy as a chaperon didn't help. Can you imagine her as first lady? What was Obama thinking allowing her to be interviewed. With this move alone one must question his judgement. Obama presidency would distroy America and set the Democratic party back 100 years. Wake up Democrates.

    May 1, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  2. Angry White Man

    WHEEEEWEEEEE!!!

    They are coming in droves now!!! We got to end this thing once and for all!!

    May 1, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  3. Ashaki

    The tide is turning. Can you feel it?

    May 1, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  4. NObama

    another Bill Richardson... I wish you guys had a spine!

    Democrats! quit trying to wrap things up quickly so you can take your posh summer holiday...

    Dukakis = Gore = Kerry = Obama = all decent guys...

    but all losers! The Reagan Democrats don't vote for these types, and we'll have another republican in the White House this January!

    May 1, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  5. Shakir Khan

    It is happening now!
    The Americans and the peoples world over are looking forwars to an OBAMA presidency in 2009.

    GO OBAMA!

    May 1, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  6. berksdan

    This is huge news and a portent of more to come I'm sure.

    Andrews is a party leader with close Clinton ties, who endorsed Sen Clinton early in the process.

    Watching the campaign play out has convinced him that Sen Obama is the better candidate.

    I especially love his comment that the switch was NOT solicited by the Obama campaign.

    The superdelegates are not stupid, and are not being taken in by the political shenanigans of the Clinton campaign.

    Maybe the Democratic Party process for nomination is not as flawed as we all thought?

    May 1, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  7. R.N. NC

    I am not with you on this one. Country first party second. If not Hillary, I am voting for McCain.

    May 1, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  8. Family in Missouri

    YES-WE-CAN !

    What a great way to start the day ! Obama is fighting Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, their negative campaigning, McCain, the right-wing media (Fix News), Rev. Wright and the notion that the color of his skin 'may' be an issue. Hillary Clinton is being treated with respect at the same time by Obama, she is applauded for being a 'female candidate' and McCain and the Republicans simply ignore her not to give her negative press – the media at the same time gives her too much credit simply for her last name. But Obama fights on ! We fight on !

    OBAMA'08

    May 1, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  9. Dan

    Interesting that people who worked in the previous Clinton administration are moving to Obama. Wonder what they know?

    May 1, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  10. DC Insider

    The problem with this delegate change is that Andrew came to this decision 5-6 weeks ago and Obama and Andrew secretly agreed to keep it on hold until he really needed a boost - this is just more deception and double speak by Obama and his campaign.

    On Wright, Obama needed to come clean 7 years ago; he didn't. Instead he appointed Wright as his spiritual leader for his campaign AFTER Wright had delivered all of his hate speec about 9-11 and the US being terrorists – which we now know was NOT just random rants but rather part of a hateful spiteful anti white anti america black minister. Obama has demonstrated for all to see that his judgement is IMPAIRED and that he cannot act deciseively or expeditiously when he needs to. These are NOT the traits we want in our president. Senator Cinton first; Senator McCain second; and Obama needs to go back to work in the senate for 4-8 years and then, MAYBE, he will be ready. But right now, Obama is not experieinced, and has NO record of political achievement that merits him taking the highest office in the land. If Obama gets the nomination, the Republicans get the White House - and it will not be really close either. Wake up DNC

    May 1, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  11. Brian

    Take note Indiana. Do what's best for our country!

    May 1, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  12. Bitter in Texas

    I agree.....it's time for this to come to an end. I have lost all respect for the Clintons....let the fat lady sing and let's get on with defeating McSame. Thanks for your support!
    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  13. carolinas

    Wise decision Andrew. I am very proud of America.

    OBAMA 2008

    May 1, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  14. PA

    Obama has shown great strengthen this week.. The Rev. Wright thing is dead and buried for me and a lot of people. It has nothing to do my life and how I can pay my ever-rising bills, so please stop reporting it!! I do agree with Mr. Andrews though that it was another example of how Obama performs well under pressure.

    The gas tax is a BIG ISSUE to me!! It reminds me once again how Hillary acted during the health care reform attempt in the 1990's. She did not take the advice of experts then and she failed at doing ANYTHING TO HELP AMERICANS. Once again, every expert is saying that her gas plan WILL NOT WORK and she is still saying it is worth trying. Well she tried her way with health care and I am STILL WAITING FOR HELP WITH HEALTH CARE!!!!!!!!!!

    GOOD JOD MR. ANDREWS!!!!!! OBAMA 2008!!

    May 1, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  15. Peter

    this issue, Obamas good handling of the Wright issue and the gas-tax issue, could give Obama som positive momentum towards tuesday.

    The gas-tax proposed by Clinton and Mccain is getting a lot of critic from major democratic politicians such as Steny Hoyer and several well knowned economists.

    May 1, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  16. Debbie

    Seems many leave the Clinton camp but none seem to leave the Obama camp. Interesting if ya ask me.

    May 1, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  17. Renee St.Louis

    He is rightI Plain and simple most of the Clinton SDs' aligned themselves with Clinton a long time ago. When thought no one else stood a chance.
    Barack has proven himself to be a once in a lifetime leader and we need to be on board.

    Also people we must remember that in the end God will decide this election. B/c what God ordain he will maintain. So what I am saying if it is for Barack or Hillary not one person can take it away. It's all about season and timing.

    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  18. David

    No matter what D's say about R's atleast we do not have Supers that can over rule the vote of the people. That is what you have with the DNC. No matter how you slice it if the party bosses think that the voter got it wrong they will change it to what they want.

    I hope you like your party where no matter what state you live in if you do not vote the way the party bosses want it will be overturned.

    Way to go DNC!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  19. Canadian Cate

    Another opportunist – the more I see of this the more I'm convinced that the U.S. is doomed to another failed presidency – good luck and CAREFUL WHAT YOU ALL WISH FOR!

    May 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  20. Lande Sanusi - Chicago, IL

    Chairman Andrew is right. This "fight" is not good for the democratic party and not good for America. We need to wrap it up now! Other superdelegates should follow suit and pick a nominee promptly.

    May 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  21. Dave

    This is huge for Obama. With his poll numbers slipping due to Hillary courting the "Stupid" vote, this will send a clear message to the other superdelegates as to the integrity of the Clintons.

    May 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  22. chris in chicago

    hooray for obama!

    May 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  23. Andrew B

    Yeah! Obama 08!! CNN has to start reporting REAL news – such as the fact that over 4000 US soldiers died in Iraq, rather than focus on non-issues such as Jeremiah Wright in a misbegotten belief that it increases their revenue.

    May 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  24. William

    I agree with Joe Andrew. Obama handled Wright and gax tax very well. It shows that Obama is the right choice for USA.
    Go Obama!

    May 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  25. Steve - Philadelphia

    Awesome! The list grows daily!

    May 1, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
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