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Lee Hamilton set to endorse Obama

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April 2, 2008

Former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton is backing Sen. Barack Obama in an endorsement that could boost the presidential hopeful’s national security standing, The Associated Press has learned.

Hamilton, who during a three-decade House career rose to be chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees, also was vice chairman of the Sept. 11 commission. He planned to announce his endorsement of Obama on Wednesday.

In an interview Hamilton said he viewed the Illinois senator as a champion of “the politics of consensus and not of partisan division.”

“I think he is driven by the search for the common good,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton is best known as the top Democrat on the panel that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He also was co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan commission that assessed U.S. policy in Iraq.

Although Hamilton is not a Democratic superdelegate, his backing comes on the heels of several high-profile endorsements for Obama, who leads Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in delegates for the party’s nomination. Sens. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota endorsed Obama in recent days.

Hamilton is the highest-profile Indiana Democrat to back Obama before the state’s May 6 primary. Sen. Evan Bayh and the bulk of Indiana’s Democratic Party leadership have campaigned actively for Clinton in a state where neither candidate is regarded as a natural front-runner.

Hamilton, once mentioned as a possible running mate for Bill Clinton, told the AP he believed Obama was the candidate most likely to unite the country.

“I begin by asking myself what kind of leadership the country needs at this juncture and I think, for me at least, the answer is that you want a candidate that will try to bring together a country that is very evenly divided, a country in which partisanship has been very sharp and to try to get a candidate who will create a new sense of national unity and will try to transcend the divisions within the country,” he said.

Hamilton spent 34 years in Congress representing a southern Indiana district before retiring in 1999.

Hamilton now leads the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. In a speech there last year, written by a longtime aide to Hamilton, Obama warned Pakistan that he would use military force if necessary to root out terrorists.

5 Responses to Lee Hamilton set to endorse Obama

  1. Sandra Price

    April 2, 2008 at 7:39 am

    I think Lee Hamilton will help bring Indiana voters to Obama. He was a powerful Congressman.

  2. Janet

    April 2, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Great endorsement. Let’s hope it starts to snowball.

  3. AustinRanter

    April 2, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    America has a short memory. But to reinterate who Lee Hamilton is:

    As stated in this article: “Hamilton, who during a three-decade House career rose to be chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees, also was vice chairman of the Sept. 11 commission.”

    This is a brave man who went to Iraq to get the facts about our nations role (past, present, and future) in the war.

    He and the other members offered up some pretty intensive feedback from their investigation…and I guess the American people didn’t really hear what the recommendations were from the 9-11 Commission.

    Oh well…

    I’m glad to see that he’s made an endorsement decision and will make a public announcement that is, in my opinion, a reasonable endorsement.

  4. Sandra Price

    April 2, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Austin, that investigation may be back as some of the documents from the Pentagon have been found. I thought Hamilton did a good job on the investigation and I watch much of it and read the commission report. It did not jibe with other reports but with Bush in the White House, we got the best they had. Bush will probably leave the country but Cheney will stick around to report on what Obama is doing. I’m still waiting for the information from the NATO meeting and whether we are again backing some troubled nations from Russia. If Bush gets us into another cold war leading into WW3, it will be because the foolish voters put him back in in 2004.

  5. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    April 2, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Hey Seal, If your around, I thought up a variation on your
    term you coined, DEMOCRAPPER.

    How about when talking about a person who is a Democrat in the singular, for example: A ‘DEMOCRAPIC’ SENATOR….:D

    That sort of has a little bit of a lilt to it>

    DEMOCRAPIC :D