Manchester, N.H. – New Hampshire resident and famed filmmaker Ken Burns said today that he is throwing his support behind Sen. Barack Obama for president, complaining that "recent events" and the negative tone of the campaign compelled him to come forward.
Burns, who lives in Walpole, said he had originally planned to stay neutral because there were things he liked about all the Democratic candidates for president.
When asked what specifically prompted him to come forward, Burns said, "Those recent events are pretty obvious."
Last week, Sen. Hillary Clinton's state co-chairman resigned his position after saying that Obama's acknowledged use of drugs as a young man would prevent him from getting elected president because of likely Republican attacks.
"I'm really just disappointed in the tone this campaign has taken on their part," Burns said, referring to Clinton. "I think she's getting some bad advice."
Burns recently produced "The War," an examination of World War II that took him seven years to make. He's also well known for his documentary about baseball, as well as historical sagas about the West, Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright, and suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
Burns said he liked Obama right off the bat and felt he could stamp out society's "creeping cynicism" with his "unironic posture."
"I have been attracted from the beginning to his authenticity," he said. With the country facing difficult times, he said, the nation needs "someone able to dream and suggest a future without being tied to the past."
He also said he appreciated Obama's stand against the war when other candidates supported it.
"I think this is a human being who knew in advance how unnecessary and foolish this war was," Burns said, adding that Obama knows how to distinguish between "fraudulent wars," and "those that really need to be fought."
As a state senator, Obama spoke out against the invasion of Iraq, while Clinton voted for the use of force resolution.
"His record is utterly clear and unassailable on this point," said Burns.