Kennedy: ‘Change is in the air’

Summoning memories of his slain brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy led two generations of the First Family of Democratic politics Monday in endorsing Barack Obama for the White House, declaring, “I feel change is in the air.”

Another Kennedy endorsement

Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts will endorse Senate colleague Barack Obama for president, party officials confirmed Sunday.

The endorsement will be announced Monday in Washington, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the record. An official close to the senator said the announcement will be made during an Obama campaign rally at American University, where he will be joined by Sen. Kennedy and his niece, Caroline Kennedy, who also has endorsed Obama.

Obama claims diverse win

An exultant Barack Obama said his overwhelming win in South Carolina disproved notions that Democratic voters are deeply divided along racial lines.

“We have the most votes, the most delegates, and the most diverse coalition of Americans we’ve seen in a long, long time,” the Illinois senator told joyful supporters at a rally. “They are young and old; rich and poor. They are black and white; Latino and Asian.”

As if anticipating his remarks, his supporters chanted “Race doesn’t matter” before Obama took the stage in Columbia, and again as he spoke for 20 minutes.

A Kennedy endorses Obama

The daughter of President John F. Kennedy endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, saying he could inspire Americans in the same way her father once did.

“I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them,” Caroline Kennedy wrote in an op-ed posted Saturday on the Web site of The New York Times. “But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.”

Can Obama cross racial divide?

The questions surrounding Barack Obama’s victory in South Carolina: Was the split between white and black voters an anomaly in a state were the Confederate flag still flies on the statehouse grounds? Or has the Clinton campaign successfully marginalized him as the “black candidate?”

What’s clear is that for Obama to win the nomination, he will have to improve his performance among white voters over South Carolina. Being the clear favorite among blacks won’t be enough as the candidates turn to 22 states that hold contests on Feb. 5.

Do fairy tales come true?

Barack Obama didn’t settle for a mere rout in South Carolina. After a landslide victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Illinois senator took a brash, brutal victory lap that he hopes will define her, her husband, and their his-and-hers candidacy in the days ahead.





And he was just getting started.

“The cynics who believed that what began in the snows of Iowa was just an illusion were told a different story by the good people of South Carolina,” Obama said to a huge crowd’s first cheers.

Did the Clintons learn?

Question of the day: What, if anything, did Hillary and Bill Clinton learn from the drubbing they received Saturday in the South Carolina Democratic primary?

Yes, we know, Bill is not on the ballot but this primary election has become as much a referendum on the former President and his campaign tactics as it is on his wife’s race for the White House. His rough-and-tumble, take-no-prisoners style has rankled rank and file Democrats and led to calls that he either tone down the campaign rhetoric or just shut up and go away.

Clinton’s enormous ego, however, will never allow him to do either and — for now at least — his wife appears content to let him play bad cop in their quest to return to the White House as a roles-reversed power couple.

But South Carolina voters sent the Clintons a message of repudiation Saturday, a stern warning that the politics of divisiveness doesn’t play along with a clear message that they want a candidate that unites, not divides, a nation.

Obama routs Clinton in South Carolina primary

Senator Barack Obama has won the South Carolina Democratic primary by a substantial margin, easily defeating Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

Obama pulled in more votes than all his opponents combined, collecting 57 percent from a record turnout of South Carolina voters. Clinton trailed far behind with 26 percent and Edwards came in a distant third with 18 percent. The broadcast networks declared Obama the winner within seconds of the polls closing at 7 p.m.

The value of a vote

I am always amazed at the number of people who are willing to say on national television that they decide for whom they will vote in presidential primaries when they enter the polling booth. Their lackadaisical attitude is disheartening.

If there is one thing we have in this country, it is an abundance of sources and people extolling the virtues — or weaknesses — of the candidates. Why is it we follow with more interest the ups and downs of reality-show contestants than the records and opinions of those vying to become our next president?

Thompson lacked substance

Post-mortems on Fred Thompson’s short presidential run focus on how the actor and former senator ran his campaign. Started late, poorly managed, lack of enthusiasm, etc.

But these analyses miss the more fundamental, and instructive, problem — his message. Touted as the only “real conservative,” a careful look shows that this label was pretty dubious. His ideas were devoid of the vision and leadership that fueled Republican ascendancy a quarter-century ago and badly needed today.