U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack said today he is endorsing Barack Obama for president. He said that Obama, a senator from Illinois, offers the best chance to bring about change and healing.
"I believe he's our best candidate to change the way business is done, especially overcoming the partisan divide," Loebsack said in an interview this morning.
With less than three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, some of the state's major political figures and institutions are choosing up sides. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, endorsed John Edwards earlier this month, while Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, said last week he is backing U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York.
Loebsack, who is in his first term, represents the heavily-Democratic southeast part of the state, including Muscatine County in the Quad-City area. A college professor who was active in Democratic grassroots politics long before he launched his bid for office, Loebsack pulled off a major upset last year when he defeated 30-year incumbent Rep. Jim Leach.
Loebsack said as someone who ran a grassroots campaign himself, he understands the importance of effecting change from the bottom, not the top. And he said Obama can do that. He added he considered a number of factors when making his decision, including questions about Obama's level of experience. "I believe he does have the necessary experience," Loebsack said.
“I’m honored to have Congressman Loebsack’s endorsement,” Obama said in a statement this morning.. “Dave has been fighting tirelessly to change the same old partisan, divisive politics in Washington that’s blocked progress for the people of the Second District. And by working at the grassroots level, he’s helped build a real movement for change in Iowa.”
The endorsement is the latest in a round of good news for Obama. Polls in the state have shown him leading.
Loebsack's endorsement leaves just one Democrat in Congress on the sidelines. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has said as recently as this month that he is not going to make an endorsement.