Former Labor Sec. Reich endorses Obama

April 18, 2008 8:10:53 PM PDT
He played an important role in the Clinton White House, but Friday he's abandoning the Clinton campaign. It is a key defection, at a crucial time. Friday could be a big turning point in the Democratic race for president, after Senator Barack Obama racked up three major endorsements, including a former Clinton cabinet member, now at U.C. Berkeley.

Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich endorsed Sen. Barack Obama on Friday, saying the Illiinois senator has a better platform and is running a better campaign.

"I was not going to endorse," said Reich.

He says he's known the Clintons for decades and wasn't going to back Obama because of that, but this past week convinced him differently.

"I got so angry with the stupid political ads and mud throwing coming out of the Clinton campaign," said Reich.

What made him mad, was Clinton making a big deal out of the word "bitter" and going after Obama using the issues of guns and religion.

"Millions of people losing their jobs and their health care, you got an Iraqi War that's going nowhere, and we're talking about the word "bitter." I'm sorry I basically got fed up," said Reich.

Also endorsing Obama, is former Senator Sam Nunn, who served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Nunn says "I believe that Senator Obama has a rare ability to restore America's credibility and moral authority."

The other big name to join the Obama camp, is former Senator David Boren, who headed the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Like Riech, Boren says "Our most urgent task is to end the divisions in our country and stop the political bickering."

"Well I think it's sort of a momentum factor," said Terry Madonna. Madonna is director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania.

"One by one important U.S. Senators and party leaders as the weeks go on want to end this contest, they want to get it over with," said Madonna.

Madonna who does polling for several Pennsylvanian newspapers and television news organizations says Obama has steadily gained while Clinton who just weeks ago had a double digit lead in Pennsylvania, has seen that cut in half in the past month. Madonna says the heavily populated south eastern portion of the state is Obama country. Clinton country is western Pennsylvania and the northeast.

"Her supporters in the Pittsburgh area and his supporters in the Philadelphia region and it really going to boil down to which part of the state turns out the most voters," said Madonna.

ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain says if it's close on Tuesday night, Obama wins.

"She really needs to get at a minimum a 10 point victory and quite honestly she probably needs something like a 15 to 20 point victory to turn things around," said Cain.

Friday afternoon Clinton's senior spokesman emailed ABC7 the campaign's comment on the Reich endorsement: "Hmmmmm? thought he endorsed him months ago."

This week Hillary Clinton was endorsed by the newest member of Congress, Jackie Speier of San Mateo. Speier says "She will not only bring an extraordinary grasp of the issues to the White House, but also a uniquely feminine skill set: consensus building, negotiation, and patience."

Clinton also picked up the endorsement on Friday of an Ohio super delegate. She now holds a lead of "24" in super delegates.

Professor Terry Madonna's latest poll on the Pennsylvania primary:

Franklin & Marshall College Poll: Survey of Pennsylvanians Summary of Findings
Dr. G. Terry Madonna bio


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