Super Tuesday V – Endorsements

With John Edwards pulling out, and there only being two serious candidates in the race, the endorsements came flooding over the past few days. With the decision apparently clear now, it made the choice easy for some people. As a result, over the weekend, many a people came out in support of Barack Obama, favouring him over his opponent in the race Hillary Clinton.

To begin with, more of the Kennedy clan came out in support of Obama. Ethel Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, completed the ‘trio’ with Teddy and Caroline. The three most known and surviving Kennedys have now all got behind Obama in support. She cited the ‘unity’ reason as her main reason of support:

Over these past few years, I’ve watched Senator Obama inspire Americans from all walks of life to believe in real change and a new sense of hope and possibility. He’s a magnetic force, drawing the nation together for the common good and galvanizing us all to help shape our country’s future.

I think he feels it. He feels it just like Bobby did.

While other Kennedys are supporting Clinton, there is another that is rallying with the Obama campaign in California too. And you might be a tad surprised to see it happen. Maria Shriver, J.F.K.’s niece and Governor Schwarzenegger’s wife, had been appearing alongside Michelle Obama and Oprah at California rallies.

Of more celebrity endorsements, we had Hulk Hogan (wrestler) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (basketballer), and then the very popular Garrison Keillor, author and radio host:

The country is pressing for a change and looking for someone with clear vision who is determined to break through the rhetorical logjam and find sensible ways to move our country forward. That’s you, friend.

Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Eisenhower and a staunch, lifelong Republican:

I am convinced that Barack Obama is the one presidential candidate today who can encourage ordinary Americans to stand straight again; he is a man who can salve our national wounds and both inspire and pursue genuine bipartisan cooperation.

Carrying some blows for the Clinton campaign, we have an endorsement from Harold Varmus, a winner of the Nobel Prize for his work on cancer and the man in charge of the National Institute of Health under Bill Clinton’s presidency:

He represents a new kind of leader, one without ties to a divisive past and one who portrays through his personal history a global perspective that is both crucial and unprecedented.

Kate Michelman, the former President of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (N.A.R.A.L.) Pro-Choice America and previously one of the biggest and most prominent John Edwards supporters, has come out for Obama now:

[Obama because he is prepared] to lead in a different way than we have seen for decades. Not out in front with us behind him, but rather with us beside him.

[That difference] separates just any president from a great president; and right now, we need a great president.

Now we move onto unions, and we’ll start with the smallest. The 50,000 strong Transport Workers Union of America has come out in support of Obama since the departure of Edwards. When Edwards dropped out, there were some key unions up for grabs between Obama and Clinton, and here was one that fell to Obama. Other unions that are now up for grabs, formerly of Edwards support, are the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, the United Steelworkers of America, and the United Mine Workers of America. Those are some big industries in the States, and if they got behind Obama, that would send quite a message to voters.

The biggest union to come out for Obama in the past few days is the California Service Employees International Union. It’s a whopping 650,000 member strong union just in California. This endorsement occurred before the poll came out that had Obama up in the state. The endorsement is big support in terms of voters, not so much the message, much like the Nevada unions that supported Obama. The sort of support Obama could get from this group may be enough to counter any advantage that the absentee votes are giving Clinton.

MoveOn.org, a liberal website that was founded as a result of the Clinton impeachment, has 3.2 million members, and 1.7 million living in Super Tuesday states. The site polled a pool of 200,000 of them, and their results would dictate who the website endorsed. By an overwhelming majority, Obama won with 70.4%, while Clinton mustered 29.6%. With MoveOn.org being touted as one of the main reasons the Democrats regained power of the House and Senate in 2006, the number of members, and the grassroots activism that it can implement, this is a very nice endorsement. It seems that when Edwards pulled out, the website was able to move on the endorsement issue.

Newspapers now, and the L.A. Times, a paper that hasn’t endorsed a single candidate for the past 36 years, came out in support of Obama. The paper stated that their reason to support Obama was because he was “most focused on steering the nation toward constructive change.” And with slaps to the face of Clinton, the paper stated:

Just because the ballot features two strong candidates does not mean that it is difficult to choose between them.

(In reference to her Senate vote on the Iraq war:) [She] faced a test and failed, joining the stampede as Congress voted to authorize war. [Obama] saw the danger of the invasion and the consequences of occupation, and he said so. He was right.

[Clinton’s election] would drag into a third decade the post-Reagan political duel between two families, the Bushes and the Clintons. Obama is correct: It is time to turn the page.

While the paper also endorsed John McCain, it had a long list of reasons why he wasn’t their favourite candidate between Obama and him. Their editorial also indicated that they would have liked to have supported Romney, but he was ‘trying’ to be a Republican, rather than being Romney.

La Opinion, which claims to be the leading Spanish-language daily newspaper in the States, and also claims to have a daily readership of over half a million, has also come out in support of Obama. This endorsement is a very good endorsement in terms of what it can do to sure up Obama among ‘Latino’ voters. Not questioning or disregarding his experience, they in fact applaud his work in Illinois on immigration bills (such as licenses for illegal immigrant), as well as in the Senate, and his resolve to continue believing in his views “despite the hostile political climate.” On Clinton, the paper had this to say:

Hillary Clinton is capable and competent but tremendous skills are not enough to inspire a feeling of renewal in our country after eight long years of George W. Bush.

The paper also endorsed John McCain. No surprise there really.

And finally, the endorsements that count the most and have a lot of weight around town: Politicians. The latest, and most exciting, come out of Connecticut. It happened two days ago, before the polls were released that showed Obama running a really close race in the state. Edwards’ departure meant that the decision became clear for quite a few House Representatives form the state, as well as State politicians. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Christopher Murphy, and State Treasurer Denise Nappier all endorsed Obama.

DeLauro’s endorsement is very interesting for observers, and bad news for the Clinton campaign. DeLauro was once the the director of EMILY’s List, a national group that was dedicated to getting pro-choice Democratic women elected to public office. Also, her husband, Stanley Greenberg, pollster, was a close adviser to President Clinton during his campaigns and presidency.

And that is another step of the evolution of the race. Edwards dropped out, and the decision was made for some people that were tossing up between Obama and Ewdards. Or perhaps it was the momentum that Obama had gained over the past weeks that pushed these people to support a man who could take the White House. You don’t want to get caught on the wrong side of the fence, but you also want to be part of the process. Endorsing a popular Obama before Super Tuesday lends help to his campaign, and all push him closer to winning the day. We will find out soon if it all comes together for him or not.

Thomas.

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