Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey Endorses Obama; Obama Responds

Earlier today, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) endorsed Barack Obama.  What makes this an interesting endorsement is the fact that Casey had previously said that he would NOT endorse anybody for President.  Here’s a video of the endorsement speech:

Here are the highlights of the speech:

I have a very simple task today. I’m here today for one purpose, and it’s to endorse Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States….

We know what this is about. We know what this campaign is about. This campaign is a chance for America, a chance for America to chart… … to chart a new course to go down a different, a path, first of all, of change… … a path of a new kind of politics, a path… And, finally, a path of hope and healing. And I… I believe in my heart that there’s one person who’s uniquely qualified to lead us in that new direction, and that is Barack Obama.

I want everyone in this hall today to know something. I called Senator Clinton last night to tell her of my decision, and she was very gracious. And we know that she’s a great senator, she’s a great leader.

And one thing we all agree on, all of us as Democrats across this commonwealth and across this country, we agree on so much — and one thing we agree on is, in 2008, we’re going to elect a Democrat to the presidency of the United States.

And I know that in the next four weeks, as we campaign in Pennsylvania, we need to do a lot things; we need to work hard and we need to listen to the voices we’ve heard today. We need to hear and listen to the voices of young people all across this country. So many of them here.

Young people in this country, in this campaign, have spared a renewed sense of hope and optimism….

But really this is about all of us, of all ages, across this state and across this country. And we know one thing: We know that we have to bring change to America in 2008.

We’re here today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And if there’s one thing that Pittsburgh knows, one thing that Pennsylvania knows, that we’ve got to do some pretty hard work when it comes to major issues. We’ve got to invest in our economy. And the best way to start that is to invest in our kids. Early learning. Good health care. Pre- kindergarten education.

And we have in this state and across the country a lot of people hurting, and we know from our history here in Pennsylvania and our heritage that it’s not enough for elected officials like to me curse the darkness, we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and create good-paying jobs now, we have to…

We’ve got to confront — we’ve got to confront the housing crisis that the other party won’t do. We’ve got to do that as Democrats.

We also have to invest in the skills of our workers, meet the challenges of energy and our environment….

And finally, as we remember and fight hard against terrorists all over the world, we’ve got to remember something else. We’ve got to remember those who are serving for us in Iraq right now.

After five long years and 4,000 deaths, just consider this in Pennsylvania: 183 of our sons and daughters, more than 1,200 wounded, some of the grievously, permanently, irreparably wounded.

What do we have to do? We have to respond, I think, as Democrats across this country have about the war in Iraq. We know something about what the new direction for America means.

But the new direction for America has to begin with the question of the war in Iraq, and it starts with a strategy of redeploying our troops, beginning that process. It starts with insisting that the Iraqis do their part and take on the responsibility of ending the violence and bringing…

And they have to take responsibility for their own government. We know that.

But all these challenges and more demand that we respond as citizens, as elected officials. But you know what? We can work very hard, but we can only do so much as individual Americans.

We need a president who’s committed to change and we need a president who will lead us in that new direction, and he’s right here with us today, Barack Obama.

He’s right here….

I wanted to spend — I just wanted to spend a couple of moments talking about the person, the man who is on this stage.

Barack Obama, when you consider what his life has been, his life is a great American story.

It really is when you think about it. It’s a story borne of the diversity that is our strength, it’s a story of struggle and sacrifice and triumph, and it’s also a story about an abiding commitment to service and a story infused with the promise of America. That’s what his story is all about.

And you know what? That’s our story, too, here in Pennsylvania.

All of you in this audience who know something about his biography know about that life. His life has been a life of sacrifice and perseverance. He turned down a lot of very lucrative legal options. He could have been making a lot of money all these years, but he didn’t.

He started out working in the shadows of the steel mills of Illinois as a community organizer. We know that.

And his battle and his life’s work to help people is our battle here in Pennsylvania.

He started this campaign as an underdog, but he knows what it’s like to be a fighter….

But we know something about that in Pennsylvania. We know that we’ve been underdogs, too. There are a lot of people out there that are struggling right now in this economy. So, he understands that.

And I have no doubt that as president of the United States, he will take on, as he always has, the tough and big special interests in Washington, and he will fight for us here in Pennsylvania.

So, I’ve been impressed by so much watching this campaign. I’ve been impressed by his compassion, his strength, his ideas…

… and I think, especially, especially under fire, he has appealed, as Abraham…

Really under fire in a tough campaign. He has appealed, as Abraham Lincoln asked us to do many years ago, to the better angels of our nature. And we appreciate that as he’s campaigning.

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

The good Lord has blessed a lot of us, and he blessed Barack Obama with very important gifts. Some of those fists — the gift I think — one of those gifts that the Lord blessed him with was the gift of intellect and integrity…

… the gift of quiet strength and resolute faith.

And we know something about how he’s campaigned and how he will govern as president of the United States, because he has the kind of judgment that is steady in the eye of the storm.

And I believe he’s the kind of leader that’s ready to be commander in chief of the United States of America….

All these people — all these people deserve a president who will fight for them. And we know who that is, the next president of the United States, Barack Obama.

Again, this comes as somewhat of a shock, since Casey had previously said he would not endorse anyone.

Obama responded with the following statement: “You know, I did not press him on this endorsement, you know there were some people that I was nagging all the time.  Bob I thought to myself, there’s great reason for me to press him; I told him I’d love to have his support, but I understood that you know we’re behind in the Pennsylvania polls.  I just want to say it would have been easy for Bob just to stay out of it, just to stay neutral.  I think everybody would have accepted that.  But when he called me and said, ‘I think this is the right thing to do,’ it meant as much to me as any endorsement that I’ve received on the campaign trail.”

Now, this will certainly help Obama, since Casey is a very liked Senator, but Clinton still maintains a HUGE hold on Pennsylvania:

  • She’s been leading in all of the polls in Pennsylvania since day one.
  • She secured Governor Edward Rendell’s endorsement.
  • She secured Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s endorsement.

She’s definitely going to carry Pennsylvania, but remember, the Democrats have proportional primaries, so every delegate that Obama gets, even if he LOSES the state, still helps him – he could feasibly lose some of the rest of the states and still win just by the proportionally awarded delegates.  If he carries North Carolina (which he most likely will), he’s essentially guaranteed that he can’t lose based on primaries and caucuses, so it WOULD go to the Superdelegates (duh-duh-duhhhhhhh!).

This infighting is just tearing apart the party, but boy do I love it!

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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