Eight Senators Back Obama

Posted June 4, 2008 at 2:37pm

In a bid to unify their party, eight previously uncommitted Democratic Senators announced Wednesday afternoon that they are throwing their weight behind Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the presidential contest.

Those Democrats are Sens. Tom Harkin (Iowa), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Ken Salazar (Colo.), Benjamin Cardin (Md.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Tom Carper (Del.), Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).

In the letter, they reached out to supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Obama’s rival for the Democratic nod, but unequivocally backed Obama.

“Our focus now is on victory in November and on giving Barack Obama every ounce of our support, every bit of our energy, and our total commitment to do everything in our power to win the Presidency,” wrote the eight.

“We want to say, to the Clinton supporters who worked their hearts out and who we know are very disappointed, that their extraordinary effort on her behalf has strengthened our party and strengthened our nation. They should be proud of her groundbreaking candidacy and her tireless fight for America’s families.”

Harkin, who has led the group of uncommitted Senators, maintained that he and his colleagues are in a unique position because of their working relationship with both Clinton and Obama. But they are also party leaders who must signal the way forward.

On Wednesday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), an early supporter of Obama’s campaign, insisted that Clinton be given enough time and space to end her campaign and refused to say how soon that should be.

However, McCaskill did note that there would be problems for the party if Clinton withheld her support from Obama.

“If she were not to come forward and be a supporter of Sen. Obama that would be a problem, but I don’t think that is going to happen,” McCaskill said. “I think she is going to do the right thing because she’s a good person and she cares more about America than she does [about] herself.”