John Edwards announced his endorsement of Barack Obama on Wednesday. Edwards’ support has long been coveted by both Democratic candidates, particularly because of his populist appeal. Indeed, he won about 7 percent of the vote in West Virginia, despite having dropped out of the race at the end of January.

Edwards recently declared that he would not endorse during the primaries. He and his wife, Elizabeth, explained that they had likes and dislikes about both candidates.

There have been numerous reports over the past few months that “Edwards insiders” thought the couple preferred Hillary Clinton, because of her health care plan and her more attentive lobbying for their endorsement.

Edwards praised Clinton in his endorsement speech, and explained his decision this way: “I am here tonight because the Democratic voters of America have made their choice and so have I.”

Endorsements don’t always have the impact they are expected to, but Edwards has proved himself during this campaign as a fierce advocate of working people. Clinton’s appeal to that constituency is currently her chief argument to superdelegates. Whether or not the endorsement is a boost to Obama, it is definitely a blow to Clinton. Someone close to Team Clinton reportedly told ABC News that Edwards “brings the workers” Obama’s way.

Click here to watch Edwards’ speech.


Wednesday’s endorsement could help Obama reach out to white blue-collar voters, a demographic that Obama has failed to capture, most notably in the recent Pennsylvania and West Virginia primaries.

Edwards had campaigned on the message that he was standing up for the little guy, the people who are not traditionally given a voice in Washington, and that he would do more to fight special interests.

After dropping out of the race, Edwards asked both Clinton and Obama to make poverty a central issue in the general election and a future Democratic administration, something both agreed to do.

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