Joe Andrew, who was Democratic National Committee chairman from 1999-2001, planned a news conference Thursday in his hometown of Indianapolis to urge other Hoosiers to support Obama in Tuesday's primary, perhaps the most important contest left in the White House race. He also has written a lengthy letter explaining his decision that he plans to send to other superdelegates.
"I am convinced that the primary process has devolved to the point that it's now bad for the Democratic Party," Andrew said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
Bill Clinton appointed Andrew chairman of the DNC near the end of his presidency, and Andrew endorsed the former first lady last year on the day she declared her candidacy for the White House.
Andrew said in his letter that he is switching his support because "a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue this process, and a vote to continue this process is a vote that assists (Republican) John McCain."
"While I was hopeful that a long, contested primary season would invigorate our party, the polls show that the tone and temperature of the race is now hurting us," Andrew wrote. "John McCain, without doing much of anything, is now competitive against both of our remaining candidates. We are doing his work for him and distracting Americans from the issues that really affect all of our lives."
Update 1: A pre-emptive strike from Andrew
n his letter to fellow superdelegates, Joe Andrew -- whose switch today is a very useful moment for Obama -- pre-emptively guesses how the Clinton campaign will cast him, and accuses them of hypocrisy.
Full Letter Here
My endorsement of Senator Obama will not be welcome news to my friends and family at the Clinton campaign. If the campaign's surrogates called Governor Bill Richardson, a respected former member of President Clinton's cabinet, a "Judas" for endorsing Senator Obama, we can all imagine how they will treat somebody like me. They are the best practitioners of the old politics, so they will no doubt call me a traitor, an opportunist and a hypocrite. I will be branded as disloyal, power-hungry, but most importantly, they will use the exact words that Republicans used to attack me when I was defending President Clinton.
When they use the same attacks made on me when I was defending them, they prove the callow hypocrisy of the old politics first perfected by Republicans. I am an expert on this because these were the exact tools that I mastered as a campaign volunteer, a campaign manager, a State Party Chair and the National Chair of our Party. I learned the lessons of the tough, right-wing Republicans all too well. I can speak with authority on how to spar with everyone from Lee Atwater to Karl Rove. I understand that, while wrong and pernicious, shallow victory can be achieved through division by semantics and obfuscation. Like many, I succumbed to the addiction of old politics because they are so easy.