Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"A Key Endorsement For Obama -- and, No, It's Not Oprah"

The Nation:
Barack Obama has gotten a pair of endorsements that could mean more to the Democrats that matter than the high-profile backing he gained over the weekend from Oprah Winfrey.
While the media -- especially conservative talkers such as radio's Rush Limbaugh, who spent Monday claiming he could draw bigger crowds -- could not get enough of the Oprah-Obama story, a potentially more meaningful endorsement for the Illinois senator came a woman most Americans have never heard of.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter's decision to back Obama would not be a big deal, except for the fact that the first-term member of the House happens to represent the state of New Hampshire. She also happens to be best-known in the state for displacing an entrenched Republican incumbent in 2006 with an aggressively anti-war campaign.

As such, Shea-Porter gives Obama a dose of anti-war credibility at a point when he is narrowing the gap in the first primary state with New York Senator Hillary Clinton, the long-time frontrunner in the often definitional primary state.

The state's other Democratic representative in the House, Congressman Paul Hodes, endorsed Obama in July.

Shea-Porter had suggested for some time that she might remain neutral in the Democratic primary. Her decision to back Obama, which was reported Monday night in New Hampshire media and is expected to be announced Tuesday, comes as new polls show the Illinois senator is trailing Clinton by as few as three points.

The endorsement is already big news in New Hampshire. No, not as big as a visit by Oprah. But, with more clearly anti-war Democratic contenders such as Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson trailing in single digits, the Shea-Porter endorsement might be just what Obama needs to secure the support of anti-war New Hampshire voters who have never been all that enthused by his tepid stances but who hope to block the more hawkish Clinton.



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