Flurry of Endorsements for Obama
Political observers were as stunned as everyone else by Hillary Clinton’s win in New Hampshire, and are struggling the re-establish the frame for the race. Many people thought that Clinton would get major momentum out of New Hampshire, and it certainly didn’t hurt her. She narrowly edged out Obama in Q4 fundraising, got a bevy of positive media coverage (ironically enough, most of which related to voter backlash against the media’s prior sexist coverage), and is looking to reestablish her status as the “inevitable” candidate. Iowa is now just a blip.
But Obama is showing himself to be surprisingly resilient, pulling in a flurry of new endorsements. John Kerry was the big name (indeed, there are few Democrats in all the country who have a higher profile than the 2004 nominee). But Obama also grabbed three other intriguing endorsements yesterday: Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), and 2006 Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont. Johnson is important because he has a vulnerable Senate seat in 2008, and his endorsement shows confidence that Obama’s coattails will be a boost for Dems in tough election fights down-ticket. Miller, for his part, is a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who herself has pledged to stay neutral in the race for the White House. Finally, Lamont doesn’t have the political pull of Miller or Johnson, but he is a progressive hero for taking on sworn enemy Sen. Joe Lieberman, and could help solidify Obama’s credentials with the base, which still reacts warily to Obama’s conciliatory, independent-appealing rhetoric.
Today, Obama built on that momentum, snaring the endorsement of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (someone I’ve mentioned as an interesting VP candidate). Napolitano helps Obama both as a governor of mountain west state, a state bordering Nevada, and by cracking Hillary’s hold over high profile female politicians. And finally, powerful Black South Carolina Democrat Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) has announced that he is considering ending his own stated neutrality in the primary process in reaction to comments by Hillary Clinton that seemed to minimize the importance and role of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King. Obama would be the likely subject of Clyburn’s support.
Folks have had questions about whether Obama possesses the raw political talent to hang with a seasoned player like Clinton. But so far, he’s run a rather impressive campaign, and this string of endorsements has really taken the bloom off Clinton’s New Hampshire boom.