View Full Version : PA Sen. Bob Casey to Endorse Obama (was going to remain neutral)

03-28-2008, 09:24 AM
I think this might be a MUCH bigger deal in the SD race than the PA race. But it certainly won't hurt in PA either.

I think the SDs are starting to get tired of the game and more comfortable with Obama. Makes me think that there isn't anything else major that they are waiting to see if it comes out.

I bet we will see a trickle of Obama SDs between now and IN/NC primaries and assuming things go well for Obama between now and then, a flood after.


Bob Casey to endorse Obama, join bus tour
By Thomas Fitzgerald

Inquirer Staff Writer

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey plans to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president today in Pittsburgh, sending a message both to the state's primary voters and to undecided superdelegates who might decide the close race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Dan Pfeiffer, deputy communications director for the Obama campaign, confirmed that Casey would announce his support during a rally at the Soldiers and Sailors Military Museum and Memorial and that he would then set out with the Illinois senator on part of a six-day bus trip across the state.

The endorsement comes as something of a surprise. Casey, a deliberative and cautious politician, had been adamant about remaining neutral until after the April 22 primary. He had said he wanted to help unify the party after the intensifying fight between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"There are few stronger advocates for working families in Pennsylvania than Sen. Casey," Pfeiffer said.

By coming out for Obama, Casey puts himself at odds with many top state Democrats - including Gov. Rendell, Rep. John P. Murtha and Mayor Nutter - who are campaigning for Clinton.

The endorsement also comes at a crucial time for Obama, who has been trailing Clinton in Pennsylvania polls by double-digit margins but who also has bought at least $1.6 million worth of television advertising statewide in the last week, more than double Clinton's expenditure.

Obama strategists hope that Casey can help their candidate make inroads with the white working-class men who are often referred to as "Casey Democrats." This group identifies with the brand of politics Casey and his late father, a former governor, practiced - liberal on economic issues but supportive of gun rights and opposed to abortion. (Obama favors some gun-control measures and backs abortion rights.)

Obama badly lost the white working-class vote to Clinton in Ohio and Texas on March 4, keeping the outcome of the fight in doubt amid questions about whether he could appeal to a group of voters that has often strayed from the party in presidential elections.

Since then, Obama has been stressing economic issues important to the middle class more often than his calls to reform politics. His campaign's recent TV ads in Pennsylvania also feature blue-collar imagery.

Other state Democrats who support Obama include Reps. Patrick Murphy and Chaka Fattah, and former Lt. Gov. Mark Singel.

Casey sees Obama as an "underdog" in the campaign who sacrificed at the beginning of his career to be a community organizer "in the shadows of the closed steel mills in Chicago," said a source close to Casey who is familiar with the endorsement decision but was not authorized to speak publicly about it.

The source, reached by The Inquirer yesterday, said that Casey was also impressed with how Obama had stood up to the pressures of the campaign, including recent attacks over the racially incendiary remarks of his former pastor.

Casey's decision was also personal, motivated in part by the enthusiasm his four daughters - Elyse, Caroline, Julia and Marena - have expressed for Obama, the source said. "He thinks we shouldn't be deaf to the voices of the next generation."

03-28-2008, 09:35 AM
Interesting, I guess Bill Clinton blocked Casey's father a speaking spot at the 1992 convention because of his anti-abortion views. Wonder if that played into his decision.

03-28-2008, 09:38 AM
I think you're going to see a quickening of announcements like this. The problem for Clinton is that if Obama doesn't get the nomination (after he got the leads in everything but the contemplated electoral delegates -- a stupid benchmark considering he'll win states like New York and California in the general election even if he didn't win them in the primaries) it will harm the party and lead to a greater loss of his constituency than if the roles are reversed. At least I think that's where the party elder's minds are going to start concluding.

03-28-2008, 11:08 AM

03.28.08 -- 11:24AM // link | recommend

Breaking Free
It appears that we may be seeing the first signs of the long predicted super delegate move against Sen. Clinton. Casey's endorsement today of Obama is a clear sign -- he'd been pledged to neutrality. Also of note is Dodd's call to bring the race to a close and Leahy's call for Sen. Clinton to get out of the race. On the one hand that's hardly surprising. They've both already endorsed Obama. So of course they want him to win it. But it's also a line they've been unwilling to cross to this point -- and a high hurdle for a fellow senator.

What's caught my eye even more (and we're putting together a piece on this) has been the trickle of comments -- often only noted in local papers -- from Clinton super-delegates who are maintaining their support for Hillary but also saying that that support either may or will change if Obama wins the majority of the pledged delegates.

There are clearly a number of forces in play here, not least of which is the clock and the math. But also playing a clear role are the initial signs that Obama has weathered the Wright controversy relatively unscathed. And perhaps more than anything the fact that in the last week or so the Clinton campaign has just descended into something like an all-night shark hop.

The letter from Hillary's top funders threatening to cut off funds to the DCCC if Pelosi wouldn't change her position on pledged delegates was clumsily goonish, but more than that just silly. As Atrios notes, about a third of the superdelegates are members of the DCCC, i.e., Democratic members of Congress. Presumably it's not a strong argument for them.

The Bosnia thing would be a couple days of embarrassment if it weren't for the fact that it was her speech line in an argument that is fundamentally bogus -- namely, her claim that she has significant foreign policy experience in the legislative and executive branches. Again, as I've said before, an argument she doesn't need to make. Many great commanders-in-chief have to the presidency without such experience. But her campaign's arguments on this front have been an insult to one's intelligence.

And now there's this.

In a conference call with Texas supporters, as reported by ABC News ...

"Right now, among all the primary states, believe it or not, Hillary's only 16 votes behind in pledged delegates," said Bill Clinton, "and she's gonna wind up with the lead in the popular vote in the primary states. She's gonna wind up with the lead in the delegates [from primary states]."

"It's the caucuses that have been killing us," he added.

Support for Bill Clinton has been a foundational part of my political identity. But I just find this sad. Perhaps especially because of that. Newsflash: Mitt Romney is ahead in the popular vote among the states that he won. It's not quite that silly. But it's close. Hillary's ahead if you lop off half the nomination process. And that's the thing, she's not even a ahead among primaries. As I've noted previously, I'm a bit of a caucus skeptic. But even among primaries she's not ahead. The only rationale for a dim view of caucuses is their relatively low turnout compared to primaries. But it's really not clear to me what the rationale is for writing off the votes of the people who actually participated in.

But this is the essential silliness of this argument or perhaps its purpose, that it pulls you down into this rabbit hole of nonsense that momentarily distracts you from its essential ridiculousness. It's like the Patriots on their final drive against the Giants saying that if you went by just touchdowns they were actually tied.

--Josh Marshall