“You should always take the best from the past, leave the worst back there and go forward into the future.” Take that, Sean Wilentz. In an interview with The Times (concerning his touring art show), the freewheelin’ Bob Dylan backs Barack Obama. “Well, you know right now America is in a state of upheaval. Poverty is demoralising. You can’t expect people to have the virtue of purity when they are poor. But we’ve got this guy out there now who is redefining the nature of politics from the ground up…Barack Obama. He’s redefining what a politician is, so we’ll have to see how things play out. Am I hopeful? Yes, I’m hopeful that things might change. Some things are going to have to.”
While I’ve been packing things today, a few more key endorsements: First up, three former SEC heads back Obama. “‘Each of us has been committed to prudent economic policy and effective financial regulation for many years,’ they said in a joint statement along with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, also an Obama supporter. ‘We believe Senator Obama can provide the positive leadership and judgment needed to take us to a stronger and more secure economic future.’“
Then, much to the consternation of Emily’s List, NARAL gets behind the senator: “Today, we are proud to put our organization’s grassroots and political support behind the pro-choice candidate whom we believe will secure the Democratic nomination and advance to the general election. That candidate is Sen. Obama.“
And, tonight in Grand Rapids, it looks like John Edwards will come off the fence at last and officially endorse Obama. (Edwards is not a super, but he does still have 19 pledged delegates credited to him.) Well, it’d have been nice to see this a few months ago, of course, and now that People pledge just looks ridiculous. But, hey, better late than never.
Update:: Hmm. No sign of Elizabeth. Also, Edwards’ best line tonight (although the crowd didn’t seem to get it): “I still want my jet-ski.”
“In an interview yesterday, Hillary — whose connection to President Clinton’s 2001 sentence commutations for two members of the Weather Underground has become an issue since she tried to raise questions about Obama’s acquaintance with another ex-Weatherman — told ‘Inside Edition’ that she ‘didn’t know anything about’ the 2001 clemency case…If it’s true, it means that she got the worst briefings in the world when she was running for Senate in 2000 and the clemency issue was hot in Rockland County, and it means that Chuck Schumer didn’t even bother to mention the issue to his fellow NY senator-elect/ First Lady after promising the widows of two dead cops to fight against one of the clemencies.” Following her recent attempt to make hay from the Weathermen, Sen. Clinton gets caught in another obvious lie. Oops.
Meanwhile, following on the two he picked up yesterday, Sen. Obama scores another superdelegate in Oregon rep David Wu. “‘We need new policies both at home and abroad,’ Wu said in a statement. ‘Like Americans, the international community wants to see real change in America and I believe that Senator Obama embodies that change.’” As you probably know, Sen. Clinton needs the superdelegates to break 2-1 her way from now herein for the comeback math to make any sense at all. So, since Pennsylvania (1 for Clinton, 3 for Obama), she’s already 5 down on where she needs to be.
“Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.” Disgusted by recent events, such as the Osama ad and the warnings of “obliteration”, the NYT editorial board for all intent and purposes unendorses Sen. Clinton.
Meanwhile, Sen. Obama open the post-PA era with another super endorsement, Gov. Brad Henry of OK. “Senator Obama understands that the serious concerns facing average Americans must transcend partisan games if we are to rise to the challenges of today and tomorrow. He is a strong, committed and inspirational leader, ideally suited to bring together Democrats, independents and Republicans,” Henry said.” Update: Clinton gets one too: Tennessee Congressman John Tanner, while Obama counters with 49 high-profile Edwards supporters in NC.
“‘Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] — which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down,’ Clinton said to a meeting of donors. ‘We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn’t even want us to go into Afghanistan. [sic] I mean, that’s what we’re dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it’s primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don’t agree with them. They know I don’t agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me.‘”
As Sen. Obama racks up the endorsements of Robert Reich, Sam Nunn, and David Boren, Sen. Clinton gets her own private fundraiser gaffe: To wit, audio surfaces of her blaming the netroots and “activists” for her dismal showings thus far. Well, I’m sure that‘ll go over like gangbusters. (By the way, if you’re keeping score at home, it’s now screw the southern whites, screw the red states, screw the insignificant states, screw the impressionable elites, and now screw the netroots. But, if you’re a white working-class northerner without an Internet connection, you’re the bedrock of the nation, and no mistake.)
“‘It was one of the worst political meetings I have ever attended,’ one superdelegate said.” From denial to anger? Bill Clinton goes off the rails at a superdelegate gathering in California, after a question about the Bill Richardson endorsement. “It was as if someone pulled the pin from a grenade. ‘Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that,’ a red-faced, finger-pointing Clinton erupted.” Meanwhile, it comes out that, while trying to woo Gov. Richardson, Sen. Clinton repeatedly emphasized her view her view that Obama is a general-election loser: “He cannot win, Bill. He cannot win.” She didn’t say why she thought this, although one can presume.
Fortunately, more and more supers don’t share the Clintons’ dim view of the American electorate. Recent announcements of note: Montana super John Melcher, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, and, if you read between the lines, former president Jimmy Carter: ““My children and their spouses are pro-Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama. As a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for, but I leave you to make that guess.” Also, New Jersey Gov. John Corzine, like Cantwell before him, began laying the groundwork for a Clinton-to-Obama switch on CNBC this morning, although he retained some degree of plausible deniability [video.]
“As Bill Clinton put it on March 17: ‘If Senator Obama wins the popular vote then the choice will be easier’…Even Mr. Clinton seemed to concede the nomination to Mr. Obama unless Mrs. Clinton wins the popular vote; without that, she doesn’t even have an argument. Unfortunately for the Clintons, almost nobody who has done the math thinks that she can win the popular vote without re-votes in Florida and Michigan…All this means that Mrs. Clinton’s chances of winning are negligible, barring some major development.“
Like Alter, Morris, Todd, Politico, Brooks and Obama Girl before him, the NYT‘s Nicholas Kristof joins the ranks of those calling the race for Obama, and takes the high road in trying to convince the Clintons to beg off: “Senator Clinton, who has done so much fine work on health and children’s issues for so many years and who more recently has been an outstanding senator, deserves better. Likewise, Mr. Clinton, who tackled AIDS and poverty so passionately since leaving the White House, risks tarnishing his own legacy.” I applaud the effort, Mr. Kristof, but if that sort of reasoning had any purchase with the former First Couple, I think we would’ve already seen its results by now.
“On questions of substance and leadership style, Mr. Obama is the better choice. In sharp contrast to Mrs. Clinton’s antics mocking his optimism, Mr. Obama has shown that it is possible to have both hope and intellectual heft. Her campaign has confused proximity to power with work experience, selectively taking credit for her husband’s accomplishments.” The Dallas Morning News endorses Obama, as does the Cincinnati Enquirer: [I]t is Obama’s ability to reach beyond the partisan divide and gather in support that prompts The Enquirer to give him our endorsement for the Democratic nomination.” As far as Ohio and Texas go, Sen. Obama has previously earned the endorsements of the Houston Chronicle, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express-News, El Paso Times, and Austin American-Statesman.
“‘As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I am all too aware that the threats we face are unconventional. They are sophisticated. They are constantly changing and adapting. And they are very serious,’ Rockefeller said in a statement issued by the Obama campaign. ‘What matters most in the Oval Office is sound judgment and decisive action. It’s about getting it right on crucial national security questions the first time — and every time.‘” In response to Clinton’s fearmonger ad today, the Obama campaign announces the endorsement of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). “‘The indisputable fact is Barack Obama was right about Iraq when many of us were wrong,’ added Rockefeller. ‘It was a tough call and the single greatest national security question, and mistake, of our time. Today, we remain a country at war, and countless mistakes over the last six-and-a-half years have made us less safe. The stakes have never been higher, and that is why we must take a stand.’” (So that’s 5 supers today, not 4.)
“‘Barack is very precise,’ the governor observed, sitting in his office at the New Mexico Capitol. The Obama campaign rarely pesters him with surrogates. Mr. Obama’s approach is like ‘a surgical bomb,’ he said, while ‘the Clintons are more like a carpet bomb.‘” Governor Bill Richardson tells the NYT of his being wooed for an endorsement, and says at the moment he’s “genuinely torn.” “‘I feel a great deal of personal loyalty to the Clintons,’ Mr. Richardson said several times in the interview, his face betraying the agony of indecision as much as fondness. He went on to describe Mr. Obama as ‘remarkable,’ ‘someone I like very much’ and a leader ‘who is creating something that’s really good in this country.’”
“The Mexican American Democrats believe that Senator Obama’s experience bringing Americans of all ages, religions, races and ethnicities together make him the best candidate to make progress on the issues that matter to Hispanics in Texas and across America. Obama’s leadership in the U.S. Senate on comprehensive immigration reform and his specific plans to strengthen our schools, bring about universal healthcare, and provide tax relief for working families show us that he is truly committed to improving the lives of Hispanics and all Americans.” Sen. Obama receives the endorsement of the Mexican American Democrats of Texas, the state’s oldest Hispanic political organization.
The Houston Chronicle endorses Sen. Obama: “Of the two finalists for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Chronicle believes Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is best-qualified by life experience, skill and temperament to be the standard bearer for his party…The passion and excitement that Obama has brought to the race can only stimulate more citizens to participate in the electoral process. The Chronicle urges Texas Democrats to cast what could be decisive ballots for his presidential nomination.”
“The Obama campaign has been derisively and incorrectly described as more rock tour than political campaign and his supporters as more starry-eyed groupies than thoughtful voters. If detractors in either party want to continue characterizing the Obama campaign this way, they will have seriously underestimated both the electorate’s hunger for meaningful change in how the nation is governed and the candidate himself. In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board on Wednesday, the first-term senator proved himself adept at detail and vision. They are not mutually exclusive.” The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel endorses Obama for president.
“Senator Obama understands the needs of working people. As a community organizer, he understands that America must restore the balance between working America and corporate America. He will fight to level the playing field on behalf of workers across our country. He will fight to regain the rights and protections workers have lost after too many years of the Bush Administration.” Sen. Obama picks up some key labor endorsements. First up, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which is 1.3 million members strong and “has a powerful presence and a strong organization in key primary states such as Wisconsin, Hawaii, Texas and Ohio.” And, though it hasn’t been announced for sure yet, Politico‘s Ben Smith says an SEIU endorsement is imminent. “‘It’s done,’ said one person close to the union.” Let’s hope so — we’ll know tomorrow.
Also, we should probably expect Bill Clinton to dust off the union-busting rhetoric.
Update: SEIU endorses. “‘There has never been a fight in Illinois or a fight in the nation where our members have not asked Barack Obama for assistance and he has not done everything he could to help us,’ Andy Stern, the union’s president, told reporters in announcing the decision.“
“‘The Obama campaign is a phenomenon,’ says Hightower, who will make his formal endorsement soon but spoke this week with Laura Flanders and this writer on Radio Nation. ‘Í am impressed with the tone of his campaign and, most of all, I am impressed with the people who have surged behind his campaign –- especially the young people,’ the Texan says of Obama.” Well-known Texas populist Jim Hightower gets set to back Barack Obama.
Speaking of much-loved Texas populists: Alas, the late Molly Ivins is no longer with us. But, she made her own feelings pretty clear back in the day: “I’d like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.”
“”What we are seeing is way beyond historical or transformational. The human mind cannot get around what is happening in politics.” James Carville (my former employer) goes on the record about election 2008, and Clinton’s prospects going forward. “She’s behind. Make no mistake. If she lose either Texas or Ohio, this thing is done.” (What he didn’t say: if Clinton doesn’t win Texas and Ohio by large margins, this thing is also done. Given the delegate situation, a tie goes to Obama.)
In related news, another 1992 Clinton campaign head, David Wilhelm, jumps ship to Obama. “He said in a conference call today that Mr. Obama was more electable than Senator Hillary Clinton. Mr. Obama’s campaign is evidence of his leadership, he said, calling it ‘masterful.’ ‘He has out-worked her, out-organized her and out-raised her,’ Mr. Wilhelm said. ‘I know organizational excellence when I see it, and the Obama campaign, win or lose, will serve as a model’ of execution of strategy, message discipline, application of new technology and small-donor fund raising.” Happily, Wilhelm is also a resident of Ohio, a former DNC head and a superdelegate.
“Republicans, of course, are bound to dislike his liberalism – but what is there for Democrats to think about? Why are they even having this conversation? They have been waiting an awfully long time for a politician like Mr Obama. If, having come so close, they still manage to nominate Mrs Clinton, I think it is a choice they will regret for years and maybe decades.” In the Financial Times, Clive Crook sees the Democratic choice for Obama as a no-brainer.
Wow. Make that 5-for-5. Senator Obama wins the Maine caucus going away. (Final tally: 59%-40%.) I have to say, I didn’t see this one coming — I expected Sen. Obama to lose close. Either Obama’s starting to pick up real momentum, the Clinton campaign is just terrible at caucuses (which doesn’t speak well of Sen. Clinton’s ability to “manage the bureaucracy”), or everyone severely misunderestimated the impact of the King endorsement.
Well, at any rate, good job by Team Obama in Maine, and hopefully the completed weekend sweep bodes well for Tuesday’s big Chesapeake/Beltway primary: Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Sen. Obama is favored in all, but, of course, nothing’s certain, and the margins matter. (By the way, New Hampshire and Massachusetts? Not to rub it in, but the Pine Tree State just made y’all look kinda silly.)
“Obama’s frequent talk of hope strikes some people as naive. It leads others to question his toughness. But Obama understands something his critics do not: Change requires vision and optimism, shared sacrifice and mutual trust. Hope can sustain those elements; a presidency defined by political tactics cannot.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio’s biggest paper, backs Barack Obama. “America needs a fresh start. Barack Obama is the Democrat to provide it.”
“The point of Obama’s candidacy is that the damaged state of American democracy is not the fault of George W. Bush and his minions, the corporate-controlled media, the insurance industry, the oil industry, lobbyists, terrorists, illegal immigrants or Satan. The point is that this mess is our fault. We let in the serpents and liars, we exchanged shining ideals for a handful of nails and some two-by-fours, and we did it by resorting to the simplest, deepest-seated and readiest method we possess as human beings for trying to make sense of the world: through our fear. America has become a phobocracy.“
In the WP, author Michael Chabon makes his case for Obama, and argues we should vote against fear. “Thus in the name of preserving hope do we disdain it. That is how a phobocracy maintains its grip on power. To support Obama, we must permit ourselves to feel hope, to acknowledge the possibility that we can aspire as a nation to be more than merely secure or predominant.“
“‘Barack Obama, like John Edwards, is redefining what is possible and in so doing he’s changing us, each one of us,’ she said in a letter released by Obama’s campaign. ‘Many who had given up on politics are re-engaging. Many who had grown tolerant of the intolerable are now ready to demand more – and not just from themselves but others. And many who had given up believing that the ideals of equality, dignity and justice would ever again be as politically important as money and power, now believe again.’” Former NARAL president Kate Michelman moves from Edwards to Obama (as, it seems, have many high-profile Edwards backers.)
“‘I’m happy to support your candidacy, which is so full of promise for our country,’ wrote the best-selling author, who has long backed liberal causes and progressive candidates such as the late-Paul Wellstone. ‘Seven years of a failed presidency is a depressing thing, and the country is pressing for a change and looking for someone with clear vision who is determined to break through the rhetorical logjam and find sensible ways to move our country forward. That’s you, friend.‘” Senator Obama picks up a Minnesota ally in Garrison Keilor.
“The first-term senator from Illinois has become one of the top two Democratic contenders by the strange tactic of perceiving the widespread disgust with political business as usual and by giving it voice…[B]e positive and vote for Sen. Barack Obama. At worst, he’s guilty of campaigning on the promise of hope.” Following in the footsteps of the Albuquerque Tribune and Santa Fe Mexican, New Mexico’s largest paper, the Albuquerque Journal, endorses Obama for president. In not unrelated news, Clinton and Obama appear to be statistically tied in New Mexico. (Obama’s up 6, but the margin of error is 7.)
“Would you hear his voice come thru the music, Would you hold it near as it were your own?” The surviving members of the Grateful Dead are reuniting to back Obama. “Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir will be joined by Jackie Greene, John Molo and Steve Molitz at the concert, which will be simulcast live onto the internet on iclips.net. This will be the first time that the members of the band have performed together since 2004.“
In related news, Jesse Dylan (not his brother Jakob of the Wallflowers, as I earlier reported, but still of the same esteemed lineage) has directed a video for “Yes We Can”, a music-speech hybrid by Senator Obama, the Black-Eyed Peas, John Legend, and a smattering of celebrities. (For her part, Super Obama Girl works alone.)
“Obama’s Democratic critics worry that his soaring rhetoric of reconciliation is naïve. But, as Mark Schmitt has argued in The American Prospect, Obama’s national-unity pitch should be viewed as a tactic as well as an ideal. It might lengthen his coattails, helping Democratic candidates for the House and the Senate in marginally red districts and states…Hillary Clinton would make a competent, knowledgeable, and responsible President. Barack Obama just might make a transformative one.” The New Yorker‘s Hendrik Hertzberg makes the case for Obama…and against Clinton. “Obama has turned out to have a kind of political magic unseen since the Kennedy brothers of the nineteen-sixties. He has something of Jack’s futuristic, ironic cool, something of Bobby’s earnest, inspiring heat…’The Clintons’ used to be a Republican trope, calculated to make one or the other half of the couple look like a puppet or a victim or a co-conspirator; now it is simply descriptive.“
Meanwhile, in a cover story for The Nation, Christopher Hayes laid out his own reasoning for Obama. “Obama’s diagnosis of the obstacles to progress is twofold. First, that the division of the electorate into the categories created by the right’s culture warriors is the primary means by which the forces of reaction resist change. Progress will be made only by rejecting or transcending those categories…Second, that the reason progressives have failed to achieve our goals over the past several decades is not that we didn’t fight hard enough but that we didn’t have a popular mandate. In other words, the fundamental obstacle is a basic political one: never having the public squarely on our side and never having the votes on the Hill…The candidacy of Barack Obama represents by far the left’s best chance to, in Buchanan’s immortal phrasing, take back the bigger half of the country. It’s a chance we can’t pass up.“
“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.“
The Los Angeles Times endorses Barack Obama for president. “In the language of metaphor, Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility. 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.“
“‘Obama’s campaign has been extraordinary and titillating for me and my family,’ Mr. Carter said…’He has an extraordinary oratory…I think that Obama will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now that exists, that relates to our country and its government.’“
Former president Jimmy Carter compliments Barack Obama, although he also says he will not be endorsing anyone before the nomination is decided. “Mr. Carter also said he talked by telephone at length on Monday with former President Bill Clinton, who was ‘trying to explain that he was not raising the race issue’ on the campaign trail…Mr. Clinton ‘has said a few things that I think he wishes he hadn’t said,’ Mr. Carter said. ‘He doesn’t call me often, but the fact that he called me this morning and spent a long time explaining his position indicates that it’s troublesome to them, the adverse reaction.’”
“‘I think he represents the kind of leader that we need for the future of the country,’ Sebelius told The Associated Press. ‘I think he brings the hope and optimism that we really need to restore our place in the world, as well as to bring this country together and really tackle the challenges that we have.’” Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius endorses Barack Obama for president. (Sebelius also gave the Democratic SOTU response last night, and her upcoming endorsement was one of DC’s worst-kept secrets last week.)
And another intriguing endorsement via the Daily Dish: Obama gets the support of 80 volunteer lawyers of Gitmo detainees: “Some politicians are all talk and no action. But we know from first-hand experience that Senator Obama has demonstrated extraordinary leadership on this critical and controversial issue.” (Their full statement is here.)
“Obama can help this nation move forward…In the minority party for all but his final two years in the Statehouse, he tempered a progressive agenda with a cold dash of realism…Racial profiling, death penalty reform, recording of criminal interrogations, health care — when victory was elusive, Obama seized progress. He did so by working fluidly with Republicans and Democrats. He sought out his ideological foes. He listened closely to them. As a result, many Republicans in Illinois have warm words for Barack Obama.” One I missed earlier: Sen. Obama’s hometown paper, The Chicago Tribune, endorses him for president.
“[T]oday I see across the generational divide the spirit, excitement, energy and creativity of a new generation bidding to displace the old ways. Obama’s moment is their moment, and I pray that they succeed without the sufferings and betrayals my generation went through. There really is no comparison between the Obama generation and those who would come to power with Hillary Clinton, and I suspect she knows it. The people she would take into her administration may have been reformers and idealists in their youth, but they seem to seek now a return to their establishment positions of power. They are the sorts of people young Hillary Clinton herself would have scorned at Wellesley. If history is any guide, the new ‘best and brightest’ of the Obama generation will unleash a new cycle of activism, reform and fresh thinking before they follow pragmatism to its dead end.“
In The Nation, SDS co-founder, author of the Port Huron Statement, and longtime progressive Tom Hayden endorses Barack Obama for president. “Barack Obama is giving voice and space to an awakening beyond his wildest expectations, a social force that may lead him far beyond his modest policy agenda. Such movements in the past led the Kennedys and Franklin Roosevelt to achievements they never contemplated. [As Gandhi once said of India's liberation movement, 'There go my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.'] We are in a precious moment where caution must yield to courage. It is better to fail at the quest for greatness than to accept our planet’s future as only a reliving of the past. ”
“Clinton, who arrived in the U.S. Senate four years before Obama, has tried to make experience the issue…But if she wants to highlight her White House experience as a defining difference, then it’s only fair to point out that two of the projects she was most deeply involved with produced a debacle (health care) and scandals (fund raising). Especially in recent days, her campaign has shown the sharp elbows that evoke the ugly underside of the Clinton years, and the (Karl Rove inspired) Bush years that succeeded them: the reflex to scorch the Earth, to do what is necessary to vanquish political adversaries … all is justified if you are left standing at the end.
The San Francisco Chronicle endorses Barack Obama for president. “America deserves better than these cycles of vengeance and retribution. Its possibilities are too great, its challenges too daunting, for partisan pettiness.”
“This letter represents a first for me–a public endorsement of a Presidential candidate. I feel driven to let you know why I am writing it. One reason is it may help gather other supporters; another is that this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril. I will not rehearse the multiple crises facing us, but of one thing I am certain: this opportunity for a national evolution (even revolution) will not come again soon, and I am convinced you are the person to capture it.“
Author and Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison endorses Barack Obama for president. “In addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don’t see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. Wisdom is a gift; you can’t train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace — that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.“
Also, since Toni Morrison’s invoking of Clinton as “the first black president” has been getting a lot of run lately, it helps to remember it in context. “Morrison was not saying that Bill Clinton is America’s first black president in a cute or celebratory way, nor was she calling Clinton an ‘honorary Negro.’ Rather, she was comparing Clinton’s treatment at the hands of Starr and others with that of black men, so often seen as ‘the always and already guilty “perp.”‘”
I feel change in the air.
Every time I’ve been asked over the past year who I would support in the Democratic Primary, my answer has always been the same: I’ll support the candidate who inspires me, who inspires all of us, who can lift our vision and summon our hopes and renew our belief that our country’s best days are still to come.
I’ve found that candidate. And it looks to me like you have too…
I believe there is one candidate who has extraordinary gifts of leadership and character, matched to the extraordinary demands of this moment in history.
He understands what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “fierce urgency of now.”
He will be a president who refuses to be trapped in the patterns of the past. He is a leader who sees the world clearly without being cynical. He is a fighter who cares passionately about the causes he believes in, without demonizing those who hold a different view.
He is tough-minded, but he also has an uncommon capacity to appeal to ‘the better angels of our nature.’
I am proud to stand here today and offer my help, my voice, my energy and my commitment to make Barack Obama the next President of the United States…
We know the true record of Barack Obama. There is the courage he showed when so many others were silent or simply went along. From the beginning, he opposed the war in Iraq.
And let no one deny that truth.
There is the great intelligence of someone who could have had a glittering career in corporate law, but chose instead to serve his community and then enter public life.
There is the tireless skill of a Senator who was there in the early mornings to help us hammer out a needed compromise on immigration reform — who always saw a way to protect both national security and the dignity of people who do not have a vote. For them, he was a voice for justice.
And there is the clear effectiveness of Barack Obama in fashioning legislation to put high quality teachers in our classrooms — and in pushing and prodding the Senate to pass the most far-reaching ethics reform in its history.
Now, with Barack Obama, there is a new national leader who has given America a different kind of campaign — a campaign not just about himself, but about all of us. A campaign about the country we will become, if we can rise above the old politics that parses us into separate groups and puts us at odds with one another.
I remember another such time, in the 1960s, when I came to the Senate at the age of 30. We had a new president who inspired the nation, especially the young, to seek a new frontier. Those inspired young people marched, sat in at lunch counters, protested the war in Vietnam and served honorably in that war even when they opposed it.
They realized that when they asked what they could do for their country, they could change the world.
It was the young who led the first Earth Day and issued a clarion call to protect the environment; the young who enlisted in the cause of civil rights and equality for women; the young who joined the Peace Corps and showed the world the hopeful face of America.
At the fifth anniversary celebration of the Peace Corps, I asked one of those young Americans why they had volunteered.
And I will never forget the answer: “It was the first time someone asked me to do something for my country.”
This is another such time.
I sense the same kind of yearning today, the same kind of hunger to move on and move America forward. I see it not just in young people, but in all our people.
And in Barack Obama, I see not just the audacity, but the possibility of hope for the America that is yet to be.
What counts in our leadership is not the length of years in Washington, but the reach of our vision, the strength of our beliefs, and that rare quality of mind and spirit that can call forth the best in our country and our people.
With Barack Obama, we will turn the page on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion.
With Barack Obama, we will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender, ethnic group against ethnic group, and straight against gay.
With Barack Obama, we will close the door on the old economics that has written off the poor and left the middle class poorer and less secure…
So let us reject the counsels of doubt and calculation.
Let us remember that when Franklin Roosevelt envisioned Social Security, he didn’t decide—no, it was too ambitious, too big a dream, too hard.
When John Kennedy thought of going to the moon, he didn’t say no, it was too far, maybe we couldn’t get there and shouldn’t even try.
I am convinced we can reach our goals only if we are ‘not petty when our cause is so great’– only if we find a way past the stale ideas and stalemate of our times – only if we replace the politics of fear with the politics of hope – and only if we have the courage to choose change.
Barack Obama is the one person running for President who can bring us that change.
Barack Obama is the one person running for President who can be that change.
I love this country. I believe in the bright light of hope and possibility. I always have, even in the darkest hours. I know what America can achieve. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it — and with Barack Obama, we can do it again.
I know that he’s ready to be President on day one. And when he raises his hand on Inauguration Day, at that very moment, we will lift the spirits of our nation and begin to restore America’s standing in the world.
There was another time, when another young candidate was running for President and challenging America to cross a New Frontier. He faced public criticism from the preceding Democratic President, who was widely respected in the party. Harry Truman said we needed ‘someone with greater experience’ — and added: ‘May I urge you to be patient.’ And John Kennedy replied: ‘The world is changing. The old ways will not do…It is time for a new generation of leadership.’
So it is with Barack Obama. He has lit a spark of hope amid the fierce urgency of now.
I believe that a wave of change is moving across America. If we do not turn aside, if we dare to set our course for the shores of hope, we together will go beyond the divisions of the past and find our place to build the America of the future.
My friends, I ask you to join in this historic journey — to have the courage to choose change.
It is time again for a new generation of leadership.
It is time now for Barack Obama.
Word leaks that Senator Ted Kennedy will endorse Barack Obama tomorrow. “The announcements also come on a weekend when the House’s highest-ranking Latino, California Rep. Xavier Becerra, also announced that he is backing Obama.“
“Thus did Barack Obama, in his campaign book ‘The Audacity of Hope,’ touch on a fundamental problem in today’s American politics: It’s too much about yesterday’s American politics. In too many ways, it’s still about Vietnam. It’s still about hardhats and hippies. It’s about Watergate and Iran-contra and Whitewater. It’s about the past. Barack Obama is aware of yesterday, but he is about today and tomorrow and next year. In a strong field of Democratic presidential contenders, he offers the best hope of transforming the debate and moving on to what America can be in the 21st century.“
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorses Barack Obama for president. “Comets don’t come around that often. In January of 1961, Ann Dunham Obama was six weeks pregnant with Barack Obama Sr.’s child when President Kennedy said at his inauguration that ‘the torch has been passed to a new generation.’ It’s that time again.”
“Barack Obama is the best Democrat to lead this nation past the nasty, partisan, Washington-as-usual politics that have blocked consensus on Iraq; politics that never blinked at the greedy, subprime mortgage schemes that could spawn a recession; politics that have greatly diminished our country’s stature in the world. Obama inspires people to action. And while inspiration alone isn’t enough to get a job done, it’s a necessary ingredient to begin the hard work.” The Philadelphia Inquirer backs Barack Obama for president. “[T]he Illinois senator has shown on the campaign trail that he offers more than pretty words. In debates and speeches, he has provided details of a White House program that, with adjustments, could produce the outcomes this nation needs.”
“Obama represents an opportunity for a Democratic nominee who represents the value of service, intelligence, and judgment, and, most of all, an opportunity for real change, unburdened by favors owed and ideals lost. He deserves your vote.” The Harvard Crimson endorses Barack Obama — on the issues.
“It is difficult to remember the last national candidate who has charged and jazzed the democratic system as Mr. Obama has. Partly as a result of his candidacy, college campuses have remembered why they are proud of the United States, kids are going door to door, runners are handing out leaflets on weekends, racial lines have been culturally melted and the electoral approach to presidential campaigning has been reborn. And, as more than one commentator has said, America is being reintroduced to the world.“
An endorsement closer to home: The New York Observer endorses Barack Obama for president. “[W]hen George W. Bush was driving a bleary, shocked nation into war with bait-and-switch deceptions in 2003, where was our experienced leadership? Meanwhile, in the west, an Illinois state senator — who has since served three years in the Senate, the same Congressional period that a fellow Midwesterner, Abraham Lincoln, had served when he sought the presidency — rose to exhibit courage and public judgment on that deceptive adventure, stating, ‘I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.’…His relationship to truth and plain speaking and public transparency is the first step toward reviving democracy in the United States of America. Barack Obama of Illinois is the future. New York’s Democrats should embrace him.”