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. carol in MA

    Thank you Mr. Andrew for support the voters this early on. That shows that you thinking of the American people are are very patriotic.

    I realize that you will be called all sort of names for jumping ship but in my eyes, we must do everything possible to unite the party for the good of the country.

    I wish that more SD are as brave as you are and help stop this madness before they help hand the key of the WH to the republicans.

    Once again on behalf of American people everywhere I want to say a big THANK YOU!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  2. Patty

    That is definitly not a good reason. Wonder what's going on with what he will reap from that endorsement. I cannot imagine that switching is good for the country. It is very obvious that Senator Clinton is looking out for our country. Obama's behavior with the Rev Wright situation should tell what is going on with him and what he believes and that is not good for our country.

    May 1, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  3. carmen

    Mr. Andrew is a true American! No more old politics, no more of old Washington, it is time to act, America needs it now more than ever!

    May 1, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  4. MJ

    Obama now looks like a lost puppies who has to have Mommie Michelle by his side to protect him.

    May 1, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  5. Lawrence

    WOW!!! Just WOW!!!

    I think this is a first for this race. Welcome aboard Mr. Andrews.

    May 1, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  6. Mike

    NObamas people are desperate, (knowing that Hillary is gaining momentum).

    How long were you on the telephone crying NObama?

    GO Hillary!!!

    May 1, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  7. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    Welcome aboard Joe Andrew.....Another super for Barack!

    Unfortunately, the HRC supporters will now come out and brand him a traitor as well!

    May 1, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  8. BR

    I guess you need to rethink your previous article about Obama losing ground. Picking up a delegate means gaining ground.

    May 1, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  9. Dusacre

    Keep them Coming

    May 1, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  10. Kayln

    that is good news for this country.....not only for Obama

    I think it is high time we realize that this country needs someone like Obama.....

    May 1, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  11. Interesting

    And you are?

    Aren't you the one who lead the Gore v. Bush fiasco in 2000 and made our party alienate the Clintons, hence blue collar working base of voters to win the Electoral Map in 2000.

    What is going on is a struggle between RADICAL DEMOCRATS (Obama) v. Democrats of FDR (Clinton).

    We, the Democrats of FDR, are going to take back our party to get a President who can win in Nov-08.

    May 1, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  12. Terry from Indiana

    It's time for all of us to stand behind Barack Obama and have this thing moving. The republicans love the situation right now.

    May 1, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  13. Dom

    Someone at the best political team on television ? Ha ! Tell Malveaux The reporter that interviewed Michelle angry black women Obama. That the term is an 800 pound Gorilla in the room not a 800 pound elephant ? Was she intimidated to say gorilla in front of Michelle Obama ? What a joke of cast of characters you call the best political team on TV.

    May 1, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  14. Jim, Indiana

    Jerk!!! Obama is unelectable, losing one primary after another, falling daily in opinion polls, insulting the voters he wants to vote for him, and what little we know of him has been shaped by his pastor Wright, the man he calls his "father" which is just one of serveral things that would bring him down if the Republicans have him as an oponent in November.



    May 1, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  15. Marc

    Amazing how many people bend over backwards to help Obama. He must be a really nice and charming guy. Whether that makes him presidential material is another question altogether.

    May 1, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  16. Justin

    What God has for Obama, no one can take from him! Despite her negativity, her backbiting, and her attempts to undermine the democratic process, Obama is still charging forward and will be the next president of the united states.

    Yes We Can/Si se puede

    Obama 08

    May 1, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  17. Tired of W, OH

    Ouch. That's gotta hurt Clinton. I wonder if Carville will call him a "Judas" too.

    May 1, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  18. luis

    here comes james carville!

    "support obama!!! what!!!!!! but the queen appointed him!"

    May 1, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  19. Formal Clinton Supporter

    I am switching my support to Barack Obama because he has shown courage, humility and strength. We as a people (world) should want to support someone that his record have stood for change and there is no flip flopping about that. We all make mistakes even Obama. The story here is we all should learn from them, and move forward which Obama has. I like Hillary, but she is a real politician of the past. I see Obama as being a future for this country. We all need a change and Obama speaks to such Hope, and I as an American I believe where there is Hope there is Liberty.

    May 1, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  20. Dr SP Ward

    Drip drip drip...lets turn this into a deluge for the good of the country!

    May 1, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  21. Jeremy

    This is pure nonsense! Simply withdrawing to bring a very well contested primary to an end, is not a valid reason for a withdrawal of an endorsement. This guy's rationality is warped. How did he become a super delegate?

    May 1, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  22. bigben

    Lets go support Obama the racists

    May 1, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  23. Eddie

    Hillary's going to the gas station; with all the Federal protection cost the taxpayers big $$$ and we have elderly geting only $600.00 or so per month to live on.. we know the price of gas and how much the oil companies make in profit. Shame on Hillary, she don't care for low income and the eldery. I do hope the people in the next primary elections don't vote for the waste and lies, but vote for sensible person......

    May 1, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  24. Susan MO

    Wrong move.

    We need a president who is experienced, for the people and a fighter,

    Clinton 08

    May 1, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  25. rev israel akinadewo

    Fantastic. Hillary is only not being factual and objective about her chances. She should quit now when the ovation is loudest and allow democratic to have better chance in Novemeber.
    Irrespective of her win in pennsylvania, she stand no chance against Obama and she may end up being a spoiler.

    Others will shift ground very soon to Obama. Simple word is enough for the wise

    May 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
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