Hat Tip: By Glen Johnson, Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a one-time Clinton administration aide, has decided to endorse Barack Obama over rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, The Associated Press has learned.
Patrick planned to make his declaration next week during a rally with the candidate in Massachusetts, according to a top administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity prior to the official announcement.
While Patrick served in the 1990s as head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division under former President Clinton, husband of the New York senator, he also shares a strong connection with Obama from their mutual Chicago heritage and experience as black student leaders at Harvard Law School.
Last fall, Patrick became the first black governor of Massachusetts and only the second black state leader in the nation’s history. Obama has the potential to become the nation’s first black president. He also visited Massachusetts on Patrick’s behalf during last year’s gubernatorial campaign and his endorsement returns the political favor.
In an e-mail sent Wednesday to his supporters, the contents of which were read to The Associated Press, Patrick praised Obama’s “unifying, visionary leadership.”
He added: “As a Democrat, I am proud that the field of Democratic contenders is so strong. Many are friends and colleagues with whom I have worked over the years. But frankly, I believe the importance of this election transcends friendships and party. I believe we need unifying, visionary leadership. I believe we need a president who would level with the American people. I believe we need Barack Obama.”
The governor declared that “not just national policy but the national character is at stake.”
Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said the campaign was mindful of the long-standing friendship between Obama and Patrick and of the fact that they share a chief strategist.
Obama strategist David Axelrod, a Chicago-based political consultant, was a media adviser to Patrick during his gubernatorial campaign.