If an endorsement falls in Hillary Clinton's forest on the same day Barack Obama gives a huge speech about race, does it make a sound? If it does, it's muffled at best.
Yesterday Representative John Murtha (D — PA) endorsed Hillary Clinton, the first superdelegate to line up behind her since her victories in the last big primaries. The endorsement is key for a number of reasons:
- Murtha is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He created a stir in 2005 by calling for an end to the war in Iraq, and in his endorsement stated that Clinton has "a similar position" on the conflict. This is significant backing given Obama's reliance on his 2002 speech against the war and his subsequent attacks on Clinton's war vote. Having Murtha's approval on her Iraq position and plan strengthens her cause.
But wait, that's not all! Please
- As Clinton seeks to close the delegate gap by rallying the superdelegates, Murtha's support for Clinton paves the way for three other Pennsylvania superdelegates to echo the dean of their state delegation. Reps. Robert Brady, Michael Doyle, and Tim Holden are big Murtha supporters and have so far been undeclared in the presidential campaign. Big props in Pennsylvania also help bolster Clinton's Keystone Cause among voters.
- Murtha's got cred. He's served in the House since 1974 and he's chairman of the US House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee that oversees defense spending.
It's huge. It's a big backing from a big fish with Iraq credibiltiy. Why, oh why then was it announced on the same day as Obama's speech? Did they think that it would be big enough to squash his race-based buzz? Given the shy attention given to Hillary's Iraq policy speech on Monday, and her apparent vague grasp of the content of Obama's speech, what in the world is going on at Hillary HQ? Surely her lack of enthusiasm about it was to strategically defray the buzz? Right?
Is Murtha's endorsement a boon? Will more superdelegates follow suit?