Barack Obama had cause for celebration Friday. Though he still trails Hillary Clinton in most big states, he picked up two endorsements that will undoubtedly have an impact. MoveOn says it is already mobilizing its 3.2 million members—more than half of whom live in super Tuesday states—on behalf of Obama. The Los Angeles Times was flattering of Clinton, but, as the editorial board put it: “Clinton would be a valuable and competent executive, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing far too long—a sense of aspiration.”
Endorsements aren’t exactly rare these days, but California has gone from a Clinton stronghold to a competitive state, and these two endorsements in particular are significant.
Although MoveOn comes with some baggage (don’t forget that Obama appeals to independents and “even some Republicans”), its membership is extremely active and has committed to going to work for him right away. Adding 3 million people in one day, many of whom want to make phone calls, give money and knock on doors, is a big deal for any campaign. What’s more, Hillary has gotten a lot of support from the base of the party. MoveOn’s members voting overwhelmingly to endorse Obama means that he can and has made inroads there.
Any major newspaper endorsement is significant, especially when it comes from the largest newspaper in a contested state that has a large number of undecided voters and disenchanted Edwards supporters up for grabs. It’s also worth noting that the Los Angeles Times is owned by the Chicago-based Tribune company, not exactly a bastion of liberal sentiment.
MoveOn Press Release:
In a resounding vote today, MoveOn.org Political Action’s members nationwide voted to endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for President. The group, with 3.2 million members nationwide and over 1.7 million members in Super Tuesday states, will immediately begin to mobilize on behalf of Senator Obama. The vote favored Senator Obama to Senator Clinton by 70.4% to 29.6%.
Democrats preparing to vote in Tuesday’s California primary can mark their ballots with confidence, knowing that either candidate would make a strong nominee and, if elected, a groundbreaking leader and capable president. But just because the ballot features two strong candidates does not mean that it is difficult to choose between them. We urge voters to make the most of this historic moment by choosing the Democrat most focused on steering the nation toward constructive change: We strongly endorse Barack Obama.
The U.S. senator from Illinois distinguishes himself as an inspiring leader who cuts through typical internecine campaign bickering and appeals to Americans long weary of divisive and destructive politics. He electrifies young voters, not because he is young but because he embodies the desire to move to the next chapter of the American story. He brings with him deep knowledge on foreign relations and on this nation’s particular struggles with identity and opportunity. His flair for expression, both in print and on the stump, too easily leads observers to forget that Obama is a man not just of style but of substance. He’s a thoughtful student of the Constitution and an experienced lawmaker in his home state and, for the last three years, in the Senate.
On policy, Obama and his rival Democratic candidate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, are a hairsbreadth apart. Both vow to pull troops from Iraq. Both are committed to healthcare reform. Both offer candid critiques of the failed George W. Bush presidency, its blustering adventurism, its alienating stance toward other countries and its cavalier disregard for sacred American values such as individual liberty and due process of law.