Friday, February 01, 2008

Moving On--and Up!

It's has endorsed Barack Obama. He got more than 70% of the vote. MoveOn, which has never endorsed a presidential candidate before, boasts that it has 1.7 million members in Super Tuesday states. The group has over half a million members in California alone – roughly one out of ten primary voters in Tuesday's largest state... Organizers said they would "immediately" begin mobilizing on behalf of Obama, leading turnout programs and phone-banking members of MoveOn in targeted states. The group made seven million "GOTV" calls for Democrats in the mid-term elections, and it has an extensive voter file database.

It's also becoming a trend--the Service Workers Union, formerly for Edwards, has endorsed Obama. It's one of California's largest unions: The 650,000-member union's backing could help Obama cut into Hillary Rodham Clinton's lead in the polls among Democratic base voters, many of whom are union members. The SEIU includes city, county and state employees, as well as in-home support and health care workers.

The Transport Workers Union will also switch from Edwards to Obama on Saturday. It has 140,000 members and is particularly strong in New York state.

One of the endorsements hoped for today won't be coming--Bill Richardson announced he won't endorse anyone before Tuesday (he'll watch the Super Bowl with Bill Clinton though), and Chris Dodd made a similar announcement. (Dodd's former chief of staff--Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Conn., will endorse Obama Saturday.)

But Obama got an unexpected endorsement: the Los Angeles Times:

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.

The Oakland Tribune also endorsed Obama today--as did a total of 28 California newspapers. Candidates themselves can't be everywhere at once, so the so-called surrogates are important. Obama is sending starpower to California: how about Oprah, Caroline Kennedy and Michelle Obama together in L.A.? And the three surviving members of the Grateful Dead reuniting for a benefit Monday in San Francisco.

Obama is also moving up in the latest round of polls. There seems to be no precedent for this kind of rapid movement, so nobody knows if it will continue and be enough to score outright victories where he's not expected to win, but it does at least bode well for a big delegate haul. Plus these days, every day is a like a week as election day approaches. In South Carolina, the major movement to Obama reputedly happened the day before.

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