May 1st, 2008
12:12 PM ET
14 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. jack

    hillary is very very great keep up pls

    May 1, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. j williamson

    There will be no "Profile in Courage award" for you, dear sir. Ever hear about the courage of one's convictions?

    May 1, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  3. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    I have one thing to say "Praise the Lord.


    May 1, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  4. Raoul

    This should have happened the day after Texas announced a delegate win for Obama; The day we knew the math would never work for Hillary. Her and her selfish, ignorant supporters will destroy the "village" to try, in their eyes, to save it. They are bleeding money Obama could use to help the DNC on the McCain front. Why doesn't CNN poll likely Democratic party voters on this question, "How did Sen. Clinton vote on the authorization of force to invade Iraq?" I promise the number for nay is higher than the % of people think Obama is a Muslim. CNN doesn't want to loose the money in ad revenue lost when this primary fight ends. Shame on the Fourth Estate, Michael Powell turned you into for profit betrayers of the public trust. Scumbags.

    May 1, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  5. Nando, Florida

    the Tide is Turning!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. GM from MN

    I like how the other ticker states that Obama is LOSING ground.


    May 1, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  7. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    His endorsement seems very reliable, NOT!

    Obama shouldn't count it too much. Now that the wind is blowing Clinton's way following Obama's failure of judgement with Wright, I am sure this "loyal" Obama supporter will be back.

    As with all politics, politicians do what is best for them at the time, this guy is no exception, and neither is Obama.

    May 1, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  8. Robert

    so much for loyality.He should be ashamed

    May 1, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  9. A Citizen

    Too bad. After all is said and done, this is par for the course. Let's forget Rev. Wright....let's forget "bitter", let's forget Ayers. Resko, etc. Bottom line is that Sen Obama has changed his story on ALL the above, trying to back pedal in each and every case and flat out lying in other cases. He is right, these are all "distractions",....but they are his distractions. He will be too busy trying to prove himself, instead of governing. Please Democrats, think about winning the White House as the big picture here. Sen. Clinton is a fighter, she has not given up, she has stayed the course and she is ELECTABLE. Everyone is so busy bending over backwards to show they are not racist, that they are forgetting that they are Americans and Democrats to boot! I don't care what color or gender our nominee is....I DO care that they will fight for ME and not be defending themselves all the time.

    May 1, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. Tee

    Great Decision, Once again Obama has used better judgement then
    HRC with the gas tax. Putting a band aid over a problem that will hurt worse in the long run.

    May 1, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  11. jean - orlando

    Too Bad Al Gore and John Edwards don't have the backbone to make their preferences known. I am an independent – but I believe their endorsement of either nominee can sway the rest of the "NOT SO SUPPER DELEGATES" to end this circus once and for all. That way Hillary Cinton can go and lay down on the back of the Flat-bed truck that she is so adamant about debating Obama on – lol

    May 1, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  12. brenda

    CNN is talking good about Obama 24 hours a day, Give me a
    break. Hope you don't l live to regret it

    May 1, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  13. Nt

    It is gratifying to know that the American people can look past Mr. Wright to recognize the quality candidate Barack is. Go Obama; Go democrats

    May 1, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  14. Brazza Man

    Let the voters speak on Tuesday.

    Clinton now pouring $1 million in NEGATIVE campaign adds into Indiana.

    How refreshing to see that Mr. Obama continues to maintain the high ground.

    This is the morale fortitude the U.S. needs at a critical juncture in our history. We do not need additional years of the Clintons and lack of transparency which would only exacerbate a bad situation.

    May 1, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  15. For the love of this independent

    Another defector. Why are people defecting from Hillary but none from Obama. With all this wright stuff I would think it would be an exodus towards Hillary. I think folks want a thinker in the White House not another fighter. Ouick fixes don't work in the long run.

    Quick fix Long term affect
    Shock and Awe 4000 dead, 500 billion dollars
    Nafta Closed factories and lost job
    Gas tax Relief Lost construction jobs and higher gas prices

    For once this McDonalds Generation need to look at preparing a Sunday Meal.

    May 1, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  16. Julie VanDusky

    I really don't understand this switch. Obama has been doing poorly, and the NAFTA/ Rev. Wright scandals make him look terrible. It's like the worse Obama does, the more Democrat elites like him. Please explain the logic behind this?!?

    May 1, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  17. fred

    This party WILL NOT be united if Obama is the nominee!!! Most of us Hillary supporters will vote for McCain. The DNC is the one that screwed the primaries up in the first place. Get rid of Howard Dean and this screwball too.

    May 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  18. Mel

    Joe Andrew is gutless. What do you mean you don't want this race to fall any lower. You are the one that just sunk to a new low. Running for president of the United States is not supposed to be easy, and that's what you want it to be. So jump on that easy train Joe, I hope you can live with yourself after you help the Democrats lose this election. Have you not listened to Obama these past months concerning Reverend Wright? Obama is such a liar! He says one thing months ago and then says something else now, even though he is on tape. His last "denunciation" of Reverend Wright was pathetic. He was in no way believable. There is nowhere to go but down for Obama, and that means another chance at a Democratic president is GONE!

    May 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  19. Truth

    This is huge...
    A reporter from NY times said that almost all of the remaining super-delegates already made their minds to back Obama. They are just waiting for Tuesday. By Wednesday, Obama will be the nominee...
    Come on Indiana and join the winning team. We need to work hard after that to heal the party

    Yes, we can...

    May 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  20. OBAMA2008

    THE TRUTH HURTS!!! OBAMA 2008!!!

    YES WE CAN!!!


    May 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  21. mama4obama

    I love it....the angry because one switched sides, which is exactly what Hillary wanted, but she wanted them to switch to her. No you guys are angry because you are having to face what most of us already know. SHE IS LOOSING!!!

    I'm thrilled.

    OBAMA 08

    May 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  22. solution

    everybody can see what is going on as "BIG BROTHERS" team
    of Democrats are making big pressure on other Super Delegates to
    endorse Obama.To ignore big States such as Florida and Michigan is a crime therefore Democrats do not deserve to win in November to bad but it"s their mistake.
    Howard Dean along with known loosers as Kennedy, Kerry, Richardson,Dashel want to sit Barak Obama into White House and control him as Chenny do to Pres. Bush.Do we really want these loosers to run the country HOPE NOT.
    Obama is NOT ready to take such position he is inexperienced and will not be able ti face chalanges ahead.

    May 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  23. Debby

    This is pretty tacky. If Obama loses the general Clinton will have the last laugh.

    May 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  24. Ryan

    Yea Obama...for all the white people in america that are saying yea Obama....wait til his elected and Rev. Wright is eating dinner with him at the white house....WAKE UP!!

    NO OBAMA!!

    He's with this guy for 20 years and doesn't know he's like this?? He's either the poorest judge of character or he is lying....I believe it's both!!

    May 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  25. so ironic


    Hillary is NOT winning. Its too many misinformed individuals like you who help keep this pointless race going. You need to get caught up with the rest of us and get on board. Hillary is mathematically eliminated. She has been even way before Pennsylvania. She knows it too but needs to tear down Barack and the Democratic party so she can be "Inevitable" again in 2012. Its not all Hillary's fault though. The media are making a killing off of its coverage of the race and are keeping the illusion going as well.

    May 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
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