Obama continues to pick up important endorsements of elected politicians, at key moments. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., son of former Pennsylvania Governor, of the same name, is the latest to endorse Obama. Casey defeated Rich Santorum in 2006. Casey won the senate race with 59% of the vote, compared to 41% for incumbent Rick Santorum. Penn's senior senator is long time serving Republican Alan Specter. The anouncement was scheduled for 11:00 am. This should be an important assest for Obama heading in to the upcoming Pennsylvania April 22 primary. 'The Philadelphia Inquirer' reports that,
Casey would announce his support during a rally at the Soldiers and Sailors Military Museum and Memorial (in Pittsburg) 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 (of Philadelphia) - 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.)
Pennsylvania is considered perhaps America's toughest blue collar state, not exactly fertile territory for Obama's cafe au lait/ wine tasting progressives.
In addition, HRC when she was growing up in Chicago, Illinois, had stronger family ties to anthracite Scranton and used to spend her vacations at her grandparents place in Scranton. The New York Tmes has an interesting video with reminiscences of a family neighbor, Hazel Price, talking about her memories of Hillary and her family in Scranton.
Pennsylvania is known as a parochial state where the state politicians have strong influence on the voter's choice. It is tough, stern and hard working but with many of its best days behind it. It's God's country of the God Bless America version, unless you are Obama's pastor or live in certain neglected pockets of blue collar Pennsylvania. Greg Palast continues in this vein.
But why? It seems likes He's already done a pretty good job of damning these United States.
And He seems to have really taken it out on this corner of Pennsylvania.
The gargantuan Bethlehem steel works have dwindled to a few robot-operated mills controlled from Mumbai, India. The only remainders of nearby Carbondale's mining industry are in display cases at the ageing Coal Inn.
Update: on announcement of endorsement this morning.
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