Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) surprise visit Thursday to the House floor has already paid dividends in the form of a superdelegate endorsement.
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) announced, after meeting with Obama at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee headquarters, that he would endorse the Illinois senator for president.
Larsen had planned to delay an endorsement until after Democrats voted in the last primaries in South Dakota and Montana. But the lawmaker said Obama’s performance in Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina and Indiana changed his mind.
“For me, what happened in North Carolina and Indiana ended up being a game changer,” said Larsen. “Especially in Indiana where he came back after getting hit hard for a couple of weeks.”
Obama spent much of the week before the Indiana primary distancing himself from the incendiary comments of his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. There had been much speculation among political analysts and Democratic strategists that Wright’s public appearances days before the Indiana primary would hurt Obama significantly among white, working-class voters.
However, the Illinois senator finished only two points behind Clinton in Indiana and beat her by 14 points in North Carolina, which also held a Tuesday primary.
“We need a change and a clean break,’ said Larsen, adding that Obama’s candidacy represented change to many voters in his district and that his message is one that “people want to be a part of.”
Larsen also noted that Obama won overwhelmingly in his northwest Washington district.