John Kerry Endorses Barack Obama

Election '08

I'm generally skeptical of the notion that candidate endorsements, even from big-name figures, translate to a significant number of votes. But this one is nevertheless pretty interesting.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential nominee, will endorse Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president in South Carolina today, Democratic sources told Politico.
Kerry is flying to South Carolina for an event to be held shortly after 11 a.m. in Charleston, the sources said. Obama is holding a "Rally for Change" at the College of Charleston ahead of the Democrats' South Carolina primary on Jan. 26.
Kerry's endorsement message will focus on Obama's ability to bring the country transformational change, the sources said.
Some media outlets have characterized this as a major setback for John Edwards, who, of course, was Kerry's running mate just four years ago. But did anyone seriously believe that Kerry would back Edwards this year? The two were a relatively awkward pair in 2004, and when Edwards questioned Kerry's campaign strategy after their narrow defeat, the two weren't exactly on good terms.

Regardless, I look at this as a pretty significant boost for Obama, if not in votes, than at least in stature. Kerry is arguably one of only a handful of national Democratic leaders, and a member in good standing of the Democratic establishment, most of which is backing Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

I mentioned on Tuesday that most of the Senate Dems -- 38 out of 50 -- had not endorsed anyone in the presidential race, and to keep an eye on which direction the caucus went in. If Kerry is any indication, it might signal a shift in Obama's direction.

Mike Allen added:

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