Posted: March 28, 2008 12:33 PM
Casey Endorses Obama in Major Pennsylvania Boost
Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey threw his super delegate support behind Sen. Barack Obama, Friday in a Pittsburgh rally, offering the Illinois senator a major boost in his Keystone State campaign.
“I believe in my heart that there is one person who’s uniquely qualified to lead us in that new direction, and that is Barack Obama,” said Casey, whose endorsement came as a surprise after his earlier decision to remain neutral in the race between Obama and rival Democrat Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Voters in Pennsylvania, the largest of the remaining primary contests with 158 delegates at stake, cast their votes April 22, and Casey’s bid is expected to help boost the appeal of Obama, who currently trails Clinton in the state in recent polls.
“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,’” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “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.”
Casey will join Obama on his six-day bus tour across his state, the New York Times reported.
The Pennsylvania senator previously wanted to remain neutral in order to “help broker a reconciliation between Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton” after the primary election, according to the Times. The day after the March 4 primaries in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont, he told Politico reporters that “endorsements by super delegates are vastly overrated.”
“[The candidates] have plenty of time to debate the challenges in Pennsylvania … I said a long time ago I’d stay neutral,” he said.
A source close to Casey told Philadelphia Inquirer reporters that Casey was “impressed with how Obama had stood up to the pressures of the campaign, including recent attacks over the racially incendiary remarks of his former pastor.” The New York Times reported that Casey was also influenced by his four daughters, who support the Illinois senator.
“Not that they dictate to him, but he was paying attention,” a source close to the Casey said, as reported by the Times. “He was wondering, why are these kids, who aren’t very political, so interested? [Obama] does have the ability to light up a younger generation.”