Barack Obama is
being endorsed by fellow Sen. John Kerry, the Democrats'
2004 presidential nominee who lost to George W. Bush that
year and gave up his own plans for a 2008 run a year
Kerry, a senator
from Massachusetts, planned to announce his support
Thursday at 11 a.m. EST at a rally at the College of
Charleston, said a Democrat familiar with Kerry's
decision. The 2004 nominee was to argue that Obama can
best unite the country and has the potential to create
transformational change, the person said.
Kerry lost the
South Carolina Democratic primary in 2004 to John Edwards,
the former North Carolina senator who now is running third
in the 2008 campaign behind Hillary Rodham Clinton and
potential help for Obama, Thursday's endorsement was a slap
at Edwards, who was Kerry's running mate in the last
election. The two had their differences during the
campaign over strategy and spending. In post-mortem
interviews, Edwards said he would have been more aggressive
in challenging the unsubstantiated allegations of the Swift
Boat Veterans for Truth, the Vietnam War veterans who
questioned Kerry's military record.
endorsement also was a jab at Clinton, the New York Democrat
who won the New Hampshire primary after a loss to
Obama in the Iowa caucuses.
withheld his endorsement, hoping to have an impact on the
race and avoid the fate of fellow Democrat Al Gore,
the 2000 nominee who endorsed Howard Dean in 2004
shortly before the former Vermont governor's campaign
imploded. Gore has made no endorsement so far this year.
While Kerry has
been close to Clinton's husband, the former president, he
was incensed in 2006 when she chided him after Kerry
suggested that people who don't go to school ''get
stuck in Iraq.'' Aides said Kerry meant to jab at Bush
and say ''get us stuck in Iraq,'' and that he didn't
appreciate Clinton piling onto the criticism he was already
getting for the remark.
Kerry himself had
considered running for president in 2008, but that plan
fizzled with the botched remark. For many Democrats, his
words revived bitter memories of his missteps in 2004,
when he lost to Bush.
As for Obama,
Kerry gave the young Illinois state senator his first turn
in the national spotlight when he chose him to deliver the
keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National
Convention. Later that year, Obama won election as a
a year ago he would not make the run, Kerry has prodded
Democrats to take a stronger anti-war stance, pushing for
troop withdrawal deadlines. In another area, he has
backed environmental causes, writing a book with his
wife on the issue.
Kerry should be
able to provide some organizational muscle to Obama.
Since losing the
2004 race, Kerry has kept a national network of
supporters intact. He has an e-mail network of 3 million
supporters, according to aides. He also has traveled
extensively raising millions of dollars for Democratic
candidates nationwide. (Glen Johnson, AP)