Monday, January 28, 2008

Kennedy Backs Barack

The announcement expected today that senior senator and liberal standard bearer Ted Kennedy will endorse Sen. Barack Obama will have a huge impact leading up to Super Tuesday on Feb 5th. This is a big blow to Clinton and sure just about wrap up Massachusetts for Obama (along with support from Kerry and Gov. Deval Patrick). But more importantly, it should provide Obama with greater support from the Democratic base across the other states voting on Super Tuesday and Florida. This piece of good news for Obama comes right on the heels of Barack's impressive, one would say landslide, victory over Clinton in South Carolina where he more than doubled Hillary's tally.

The support from Kennedy also comes on the heels of the endorsement from Rep Mel Martinez of Florida. Martinez' endorsement could help prop up support for Obama from Latinos, where Clinton has been strong. Clinton's strength with Latinos was most notable in the recent Nevada primary where Clinton produced a 6 point victory in a race where Obama won the endorsement of the largest union in the state, yet Clinton peeled off enough of the union's Latino membership to pull off the victory.

You can also read between the lines that this is a rebuke of the more active and aggressive role that former President Bill Clinton has taken in the race. Bill came under intense rebukes from Democratic leaders like Kerry, Pat Leahy and Tom Daschle in the past few days for distorting Obama's positions much like former Republican strategist Lee Atwater used to do (most famously with the Willie Horton attach against Gov. Mike Dukakis is the 1998 election).

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