Barack Obama has just picked up a fairly important endorsement in New Hampshire. Lenore Patton is the chairwoman of the Rockingham County Democrats and-- like every other party leader in NH -- had been relentlessly
courted by the Clinton campaign. Rockingham is one of the largest and most Democratic of NH's 10 counties -- it has a population of over 200,000, accounting for about 1 in 6 NH residents.
The Clinton strategy in NH relies very heavily on endorsements, key (they believe) to projecting inevitability; they have pursued them much more doggedly than Obama and have had much success. But this endorsement comes at a very good time for Obama, on the heels of Hillary's shaky debate performance and two days after a poll showed Obama cutting her lead to 10 points. This endorsement, as all endorsements, isn't going to change a ton of voters' minds about who to support, but it does feed into the newly fashionable storyline that doubt about Hillary is growing in NH and her that inevitability is finally being questioned. (Lenore Patton's husband Gary, mentioned in her endorsement letter, is the Democratic municipal chairman in the town of Hampton, about 10 miles south of Portsmouth.)
Here's the letter, which Patton is sending to local papers:
As chair of the Rockingham County Democratic Committee, I am fortunate to have had the ability to see and hear all of the Democratic presidential candidates numerous times. I am proud that we have such an excellent group of people vying for the Democratic nomination. I can easily support any one of them in the general election. In fact, I will vigorously support and work for whichever of them is nominated at the end of the primary season.
As county party chair, I have encouraged our committee members to attend as many candidate functions as they can and to support the candidate of their choice. The county committee does not endorse a candidate in a primary election. However, as an individual, and speaking only for myself and no one else (including my husband), I have decided to endorse Senator Barack Obama.
The moment Senator Obama is elected, a new image of America will be presented to the world. Instead of undermining America’s reputation for reasonable and prudent behavior by constantly threatening war as the present administration has done, Senator Obama will turn first to diplomacy and negotiation to reach rational solutions to the world’s problems. Only as a very last resort would he turn to the use of military force
Senator Obama spoke out against the war in Iraq in 2002, when many others had not yet realized what a terrible mistake it was to invade that country. He continues to oppose a reckless foreign policy. Most recently, on November 1, 2008, Senator Obama introduced S.J.RES.23, a joint resolution stating that the use of force against Iran has not been authorized by Congress.
In addition, Senator Obama will undo the damage to the Constitution of the United States caused by the Bush administration, and restore this document to its rightful place as a protection of the individual rights of all citizens. Taking away our civil liberties does not guarantee our safety. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
By electing Barack Obama, America can show its best face to the world - respect for individual differences, compassion for those in need, and a desire to work in harmony with other nations.