Robert Reich endorses Obama

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, now a professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, has blogged today that he endorses Barack Obama for president. This comes about a month after Bill Richardson, a fellow Clinton Administration cabinet member and longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, also went against them. Will James Carville call him a Judas too?

“Although Hillary Clinton has offered solid and sensible policy proposals, Obama’s strike me as even more so,” Reich writes, later adding Obama “offers the best hope of transcending the boundaries of class, race, and nationality that have divided us” and “offers the best possibility of restoring America’s moral authority in the world.”

Reich’s endorsement comes on the heels of his passionate defense of Obama in the hubbub following the candidate’s “bitter” remark at a fundraiser April 6 in San Francisco.

It’s not as if Obama is sweeping the old Clinton cabinet, however — former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Secretary of Defense William Perry; and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo all have endorsed Hillary Clinton.


Can you say “running mate?”

ap-photo-alex-brandon.jpgNew Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson endorsed Barack Obama for president this morning at a joint appearance in Portland, Ore.

“Today I am endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States because I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America’s moral leadership in the world,” he said. “As a Presidential candidate, I know full well Senator Obama’s unique ability to inspire the American people to confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad in a spirit of bipartisanship and reconciliation.”

Richardson served seven terms in Congress before being appointed by President Clinton to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations and, later, Secretary of Energy; he was elected governor in 2002 and again in 2006. His track record includes negotiating with hostile regimes for the release of American prisoners, and he has been active both in seeking to secure loose nuclear materials and in seeking to end the genocide in Darfur.

Said Obama: “He knows that to secure American interests, we have to talk to our enemies, as well as our friends, which is why he stood up to North Korea and Saddam Hussein to secure the release of American hostages. And that’s the kind of tough, aggressive diplomacy we need to meet the new challenges of the 21st century.”

Richardson’s among the Democratic superdelegates who most likely will end up determining the nomination this year, and could help tip more superdelegates Obama’s way, but I think there could be something more significant going on here.

Ever since Richardson dropped his own White House campaign in January, I’ve been among those saying he’d make a potent running mate for either Obama or Hillary Clinton, but especially for Obama. The nation’s only Latino governor, he would help Obama make deeper inroads into that community, and his foreign-policy chops would help blunt criticisms of Obama’s relative inexperience; Clinton needs less help in both those areas. Richardson would help strengthen either Democratic ticket in John McCain’s southwestern regional home base. And Richardson left the race before he’d said anything too harsh about Obama or Clinton that the GOP could turn back against him later this year.

the-two-bills.jpgI’d been waiting to see whether Richardson’s longstanding ties and loyalty to the Clintons would win out — he and Bill Clinton watched the Super Bowl together last month — but now that he has cast his lot, I’d not be surprised if you see him taking a verrrrrrry active role in Obama’s campaign from here on out.

UPDATE @ 2:24 P.M. FRIDAY: Maybe Richardson waited until now because only now are people and pundits beginning to grapple with the true state of the race for the Democratic nomination: He didn’t want to betray the Clintons’ friendship while she still stood a realistic chance.


Barbara Lee endorses Barack Obama

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will announce her endorsement of Barack Obama in an 11:30 a.m. conference call. Rationale and details to follow after the call, but I’m guessing it has a lot to do with Iraq.

The announcement comes as Obama heads for Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles this evening for a Generation Obama concert fundraiser, wherein thousands will pay $25 or $50 to see the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls, Ne-Yo, Jessica Biel, Mehcad Brooks, Taye Diggs, Hill Harper, Scarlett Johansson, Kal Penn, Ryan Reynolds, Kate Walsh, Olivia Wilde, Will-I-Am… oh, yeah, and Obama himself.

Today’s endorsement marks a difference of opinion between Lee and some of her closest Oakland political allies. Lee had spoken briefly at Obama’s big St. Patrick’s Day rally in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza, but also had appeared at Hillary Clinton’s big downtown Oakland rally Sept. 30. She made it clear at each event that she had not yet endorsed anyone, but Clinton on Oct. 1 collected the endorsement of Lee’s political mentor, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums; Clinton also has the endorsement of another Dellums protege and her own former chief of staff, Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland.

A nationwide Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted Dec. 3-5 found U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton in the lead, backed by 45 percent of Democrats, followed by Obama at 23 percent, John Edwards at 12 percent and Bill Richardson at 4 percent, with a 4.5-percentage point margin of error. In California, a SurveyUSA poll conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 2 for several television stations found Clinton at 50 percent, Obama at 24 percent and Edwards at 16 percent, with a 3.6-percentage point margin of error.

UPDATE @ 12:30 MONDAY: Get the whole story here.


More Barack by the Bay

Before Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., holds a mass grassroots fundraiser in San Francisco next Wednesday, he’ll spend some time earlier that day holding a town-hall meeting with Google employees (an event not open to the public) and touring the company’s Mountain View headquarters.

Google’s wallets certainly seem to like Obama. A database maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics shows workers listing Google as their employer have anted up $175,450 to presidential campaigns this cycle. Of that, $93,750 has gone to Obama; $40,050 to Hillary Clinton; $22,650 to Ron Paul; $5,600 to Rudy Giuliani; $4,500 to John Edwards; $3,800 to Bill Richardson; $2,300 to John McCain; $2,300 to Sam Brownback; and $500 to Fred Thompson.


Here they come again…

Three Democratic presidential hopefuls will swing through the Bay Area in the next week.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, will speak at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at the 6th Annual San Francisco New Living Expo in the Concourse Exhibition Center at 8th and Brannan streets. Admission to the Expo for Saturday is $15, or $10 for students and senior citizens; a Friday, Saturday and Sunday pass is $30. Kucinich will have addressed the California Democratic Party convention earlier Saturday in San Diego.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will speak about 4 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at a Save Darfur rally in San Francisco’s Civic Center; he will have addressed the California Democratic Party convention Sunday morning in San Diego, and he’ll be headed to an event in Carson City, Nev., on Sunday night.

U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., will speak to the Commonwealth Club of California at noon Wednesday, May 2, in the Parc 55 Hotel at 55 Cyril Magnin St. in San Francisco; standard seating costs $15 for members and $30 for nonmembers, while premium seating costs $45 for members and $65 for nonmembers. Biden will speak again at 6 p.m. Wednesday to the World Affairs Council in the main ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 480 Sutter St. in San Francisco; standard seating costs $10 for members and $25 for nonmembers, while preferred seating costs $20 for members and $35 for nonmembers. The World Affairs Council even requires pre-payment; order tickets here.

UPDATE @ 3:06 P.M. THURSDAY: Looks there’ll be some Republican action here next week, too.

Folks at the the Hoover Institution at Stanford University confirm that U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will deliver a policy speech there at noon Tuesday; details haven’t been released yet. McCain’s campaign calendar shows he has fundraisers scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Westminster and 6 p.m. Wednesday in Beverly Hills.

And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will speak to the Western Association of Venture Capitalists about “A Venture Perspective on Politics” at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, in the Quadrus Center, 2400 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. The event is for WAVC members and their guests only.