e_legs

Ted Kennedy backs Obama

In civil, Election 2008, Progressive Politics, Race, US Politics on January 28, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Kennedy’s seniority and force as a legislator will be a huge gain for Obama, whose primary weakness in this race may be a lack of Democriatic party connections as compared to the Clintons. Even if he wins the popular vote, the pimary could be decided by “superdelegates,” members of the democratic party who are not required to pledge their vote to any specific nominee. These delegates have been surveyed to support Clinton more than two to one over Obama, and if the race turns out to be a tight one in the state primaries, they could be the deciding factor in the final nomination. (For a breakdown of how the delegate system works, see CNN’s delegate explainer)

This makes Kennedy’s endorsement critical, as his seniority will put him in a position to sway some of the unpledged delegates who have favored Clinton over Obama. The Clinton’s had encouraged him to remain neutral, knowing his influence, but he has decided to be an active supporter of the Obama campaign.

From the International Herald Tribune:

[Kennedy] intends to campaign aggressively for Obama, heading West this week, followed by appearances in the Northeast. Strategists see him bolstering Obama’s credibility for the office and providing particular benefits with union members and Hispanics, as well as the party base. […]

After Obama won the Iowa caucuses, associates to both men said, Kennedy concluded that Obama had transcended racial lines and the historical divisions the Kennedy family had worked to tear down. […]

“For somebody who, I think, has been such an important part of our national imagination and who generally shies away from involvement in day-to-day politics to step out like that is something that I’m very grateful for,” Obama said.

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