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Bob Casey, Pennsylvania's Democract Senator, Endores Obama

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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Comments (4)

Jan T.:

I'm a lifelong Pennsylvania Democrat, and though Casey's announcement doesn't shock me, it makes me ill. The only reason Casey won by so large a margin in the Senatorial election -- believe me, because everyone I know, even staunch Republicans, voted for him -- was that he was running against Rick "man-on-dog" Santorum. After this, I hope the Rs put up a good candidate when Casey's up for re-election, because I'll vote for that candidate without reservations. Casey is a Republican in Democrat's clothing.

Imagine if Hillary stays in until the convention -- and because the race is undecided, the Democratic National Convention will actually be INTERESTING to people, and the big networks have to cover it live instead of relegating it to ten-minute excerpts on the nightly news. People will be able to see for themselves what the party stands for instead of hearing third-hand crap. I can't imagine anything better for the party.

All of you whiners calling for it to end now, get over it! Contrary to popular belief, a contested primary season only makes the party stronger, and makes the ultimate unification after the VOTERS EVERYWHERE are heard, rather than those who cast votes early-on commandeering the election, much more powerful.

Steve Crickmore:

Larkin, we are in accord today..That's what I was thinking too about your prediction .I mentioned it in comment on a post on your Politics site today, in response to Lee,.... that is unless Obama nips Hillary in Pennsylvania ,then it even might be over earlier.

Jan T 's comment about making the candidate stronger has some merit..Lee has been saying that too. It makes Obama a little more aggressive and most Americans like to see a little assertiveness in their candidates and focuses on some of Obama's 'negative associations'-Rezko and Wright earlier rather later which may be a blessing in disguise.

The problem is that Hillary seems to relish the idea "this is the fun part" of 'strippin the bark' of Obama, makes unfair insinsuations, "as far as I know he's not Muslim", and overpraises McCain to contrast his experience to Obama's..This as we have seen has raised the public's negative perceptions of both Hillary and Obama and that can't help in November...Now it is only late March but if she is still doing this in July and August, it will be a big handicapweight to carry against McCain.

Casey's endorsement is certainly a help to Obama, although his influence has yet to be tested. Remember, also, that there are other possible motivations at work here for Casey.

The Clintons killed his father's hoped-for big moment, a televised address to the 1992 Democratic Convention, so there could be some residual ill will there. Also, Clinton's big gun in PA, Ed Rendell, is a natural rival of Casey for influence in the state party.

It was especially nice of Casey to show up for the announcement, too. Given his known work habits, that wasn't a given.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Yeah, there's a backstory to Casey's endorsement, but whatever -- a vote's a vote, no matter who's petty anger is behind it. Just another example of the Clinton baggage trailing behind them. That's what happens when your a major player. Barack will learn that too; he'll never be able to win back some of those who were mortally offended by Reverend Wright.

I can't believe that Obamatrons are still beating the "Hillary should quit" drum. There are state primaries remaining where she's in the lead, and those voters should be heard. Wasn't the unnecessary debacle of shutting down Michigan and Florida's do-over primaries damage enough?

Haven't you guys figured out that through your marginalizing Clinton you're disenfranchising 30% of the Democrats who support her (so far, that number will grow)?

Get a grip, you can win the battle and lose the war, and that's exactly the road Obama's going down by trying to shut Hillary down and prevent Democrats from having a say.

What's the matter - are you all afraid there are more "Wright Land Mines" out there? Better to find out now than after SpeechMan has nailed the nomination...


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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