Endorsements Make a Difference -- In This Case

Washington Matters

Endorsements Make a Difference -- In This Case

Endorsements don't matter -- except when they do, and for Barack Obama, this is clearly one of those moments.  


In the last 48 hours, even as he was getting trounced by Hillary Clinton in West Virginia, Obama won the backing of  more than half a dozen superdelegates, a key abortion rights group, three former chairmen of the Securities and Exchange Commission (two of whom were appointed by Republicans) and  finally, former candidate John Edwards. Does it matter? You bet it does.

Together the endorsements allowed Obama to ignore the


The backing of the three former SEC chairmen -- Bush appointee William Donaldson, Clinton appointee Arthur Levitt and Reagan appointee David Ruder -- bolstered Obama's standing with Wall Street and investors. The three said they were confident Obama could strike the right balance between free markets and regulatory oversight.


The support of the PAC associated with the pro-choice group NARAL was a big blow to Clinton and signaled that traditional Democratic interest groups are getting behind Obama.


But the big prize was Edwards, whose endorsement was avidly sought by both Clinton and Obama. Edwards gave high praise to Clinton but made it clear he thinks it's time for the contest to end and for Democrats to unite and rally around Obama.


Edwards may be able to help Obama wrap it up. He released the 19 delegates he won and at least one has already switched to Obama. More significantly, he is especially popular with the working class white voters that don't seem to trust Obama. By actively campaigning, he may be able to help put them at ease with the almost-certain nominee.


Beyond that, there's a theme behind the latest spate of endorsements, and it's that the Democratic Party is truly beginning to accept the fact that it has a presidential nominee.