Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hoosier Super Delegates back Obama

Two prominent Hoosier Super Delegates have thrown their support behind Barack Obama. Rep. Baron Hill, who represents a crucial swing district in Indiana, endorsed the Illinois Senator yesterday and later today, former DNC chair, Joe Andrew, will announce he is switching from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama.

According to an AP story:
"I am convinced that the primary process has devolved to the point that it's now bad for the Democratic Party," Andrew said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Bill Clinton appointed Andrew chairman of the DNC near the end of his presidency, and Andrew endorsed the former first lady last year on the day she declared her candidacy for the White House.

Andrew said in his letter that he is switching his support because "a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue this process, and a vote to continue this process is a vote that assists (Republican) John McCain."

"While I was hopeful that a long, contested primary season would invigorate our party, the polls show that the tone and temperature of the race is now hurting us," Andrew wrote. "John McCain, without doing much of anything, is now competitive against both of our remaining candidates. We are doing his work for him and distracting Americans from the issues that really affect all of our lives."

Andrew said the Obama campaign never asked him to switch his support, but he decided to do so after watching Obama's handling of two issues in recent days. He said Obama took the principled stand in opposing a summer gas tax holiday that both Clinton and McCain supported, even though it would have been easier politically to back it. And he said he was impressed with Obama's handling of the controversy surrounding his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
As for Hill, the AP said:
Hill said in a statement that some had advised him to not choose yet between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, but decided he could not wait.

‘‘We cannot continue to pursue the same politics of personal destruction we have engaged in for a generation,’’ Hill said. ‘‘I believe Senator Obama has the capability to change the tone and tenor of politics in Washington. I believe that he can and will work with both parties and elevate the level of public discourse.’’

Hill joins Rep. Andre Carson of Indianapolis in endorsing Obama. The state’s three other Democratic congressmen have not backed either candidate, while Sen. Evan Bayh is supporting Clinton.

Hill’s endorsement give Obama the backing of four Indiana superdelegates to five supporting Clinton. Those superdelegates are party leaders and elected officials who are free to vote as they choose at the Democratic convention.
Both of these endorsements come at a crucial time in advance of Tuesday's Indiana primary.
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