Defection of key Clinton ally tilts balance to Obama

For all his recent troubles – his resounding loss in Pennsylvania 10 days ago, his inability to crack Hillary Clinton's hold on white, working class voters and, of course, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright chronicles – Barack Obama still seems to be winning the battle that really counts: the one for superdelegates.

Harvesting superdelegates is now more important than ever since they will almost certainly determine who wins the nomination at, or before, the Democratic National Convention in August. And yesterday saw a defection that serves to underline that garnering superdelegates is an area where Mr Obama is still doing surprisingly well.

Joe Andrew, a former leader of the Democratic Party and a native of Indiana, announced he was flipping from Mrs Clinton's side and now supports Mr Obama.

That switch alone should be an important boost to the Obama campaign. Appointed as chairman of the Democratic National Committee in the waning days of Bill Clinton's presidency, Mr Andrew declared his support for Mrs Clinton on the day she announced she was running for president.

But in a letter to party members in Indiana and in media interviews, Mr Andrew said he was jumping the fence because he felt "inspired" by Mr Obama and he urged Indiana voters to join him in the state's primary on Tuesday.

In particular, he cited the manner in which Mr Obama has handled the continuing flap over the Rev. Wright controversy, as well as his refusal to join Mrs Clinton and Republican nominee John McCain in calling for a suspension of the federal tax on petrol on the grounds that it is a political gimmick.

"He has shown such mettle under fire," Mr Andrew said. "The Jeremiah Wright controversy just reconfirmed for me, as the gas tax controversy confirmed for me, that he is the right candidate for our party." He also said that voting for Mrs Clinton, who faces almost insurmountable odds in collecting enough convention delegates actually to win, will only prolong a process that is hurting the party.

"The math[ematics] for this is simple," Mr Andrew told ABC News. "A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue this process." If Mr Obama can carry both Indiana and North Carolina on Tuesday – he is ahead in the latter but appears to be in a close race in the former – it could be enough to force Mrs Clinton out.

A CBS-New York Times poll offered mixed news for Mr Obama. On the one hand, it showed him leading Mrs Clinton by eight points among Democratic voters nationally, an improvement over early April when the same survey saw him holding only a three-point edge.

But on the other hand, any notion of inevitability for Mr Obama seems to have evaporated. A month ago, 69 per cent of Democrats said they thought the nomination would be his. That number has shrunk to 51 per cent, reflecting the damage done by his recent losses and the Wright saga.

There would be outright panic in the Obama camp if the bumps of recent weeks were translating into a rush of so-far uncommitted superdelegates to Mrs Clinton. But, to date, the opposite seems to be happening. His net gain in superdelegates just yesterday morning: 4. Her net gain: 0.

Mrs Clinton is winning a few, most notably the endorsement of North Carolina Governor Mike Easley earlier this week. But in two months, the most recent estimates show that Mr Obama has halved Mrs Clinton's previously healthy advantage in superdelegate pledges. Moreover, for the first time he has taken the lead over Mrs Clinton among superdelegates who are members of Congress.

For rolling comment on the US election visit:

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
Life and Style
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice