Friday, March 28, 2008

The significance of Casey's endorsement of Obama

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(Creature posted on it earlier today. Here's some reaction, along with the video.)

Sasha Issenberg at The Boston Globe: "Senator Bob Casey, a champion of the working-class Catholic voters at the core of Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania coalition, bypassed Clinton to endorse Barack Obama today, the latest swipe between two warring dynasties whose battles have defined the Democratic party's search for a modern identity."

Katharine Q. Seelye at the NYT's The Caucus:

In a surprise move, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has endorsed Senator Barack Obama in advance of the April 22 Democratic primary. Mr. Casey had said he would remain neutral in the race in part because he wanted to help broker a reconciliation between Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton afterward.

"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." Mr. Casey said during a rally in Pittsburgh Friday.

"I really believe that in a time of danger around the world and in division here at home, Barack Obama can lead us, he can heal us, he can help rebuild America," he said.

The transcript of Casey's remarks is here.

"Vice President Casey?" asks Noam Scheiber at TNR's The Stump. (Makes sense, no?) See also Scheiber's comments on what the endorsement means here. What is noteworthy is that in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary that pitted him against the eventual winner, current Gov. Ed Rendell, Casey "dominated among working class whites -- which means most of the counties outside the Philly metro area." And so: "[W]ith Casey now endorsing Obama, I suspect he'll be able to make up for some of the bleeding in Philly with a better-than-expected showing out west. I still don't think he can win, but he's got a shot of getting within ten points, which would be a moral victory of sorts."

(Ben Smith at The Politico thinks "[t]he endorsement also will help Obama with Roman Catholic voters.")

Chris Cillizza at WaPo's The Fix also thinks it's a big deal -- sort of: "The Caseys have long been the power brokers of the northeastern Pennsylvania thanks to their power base in Scranton. The Casey name should help Obama make inroads into the blue-collar, white, rural communities that he struggled to penetrate in Ohio -- though it's unlikely that simply being supported by Bob Casey will change voters' mind about Obama."

And, of course, Casey's a superdelegate. Which is no small thing.

There's more reaction at Memeorandum.

Here's the video:

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