January 1st, 2008
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Kucinich: Back Obama if I’m not viable

Kucinich is encouraging his supporters to make their second choice Obama.

Kucinich is encouraging his supporters to make their second choice Obama.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Dennis Kucinich urged supporters Tuesday to make Barack Obama their second choice in the Iowa caucuses, an unexpected boost in the closing days of this wide open race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Kucinich told backers to vote for him on the first ballot Thursday, but instructed them to support Obama if he did not reach the 15 percent threshold needed to be viable in the caucuses.

“I hope Iowans will caucus for me as their first choice this Thursday, because of my singular positions on the war, on health care, and trade,” Kucinich said in a statement released by his campaign. “This is an opportunity for people to stand up for themselves. But in those caucus locations where my support doesn't reach the necessary threshold, I strongly encourage all of my supporters to make Barack Obama their second choice. Sen. Obama and I have one thing in common: Change.”

With Obama competing with Hillary Clinton and John Edwards for every vote, Kucinich’s support could potentially be critical in Thursday night’s caucuses.

Kucinich did not fully endorse Obama, and said this statement only pertains to the Iowa caucuses, and only if he does not reach viability on the first ballot Thursday.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. Peter

    And it begins!!! Soon, the other candidates will follow Dennis's example, because they are all positioning themselves as the "anti-Hillary"......except maybe for Richardson.

    They know that their voices have a better chance of being heard by an Obama administration, then a Clinton one, so it only makes sense!

    January 1, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Jaime Scottsdale,AZ

    Read the whole story. His offer ONLY applies to Iowa. Hey "Denny" (quoting John Edwards), what if you meet the criteria? Are you going to take this back? Your just ticked off because you don't seem to have an invitation to future debates and pointing the finger at Edwards and Hillary for the reason. Wow BO, now you got to talk for you and DK. Awesome!

    Hillary in '08

    January 1, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  3. DeSwiss, Nashville TN

    This is the guy we REALLY need!

    January 1, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. BR-New York City

    The first in a series of endorsements to come...when will Hillary and John follow suit?

    Obama08

    January 1, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  5. Trang, Fremont CA

    Thank you, Dennis Kucinich. You certainly are a man of principle. You certainly have many good ideas. Somehow it doesn't seem to stick to the majority of the American people.

    January 1, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. Adam, Plano, TX

    AlwaysforHillary, NYC said:

    I always thought Kucinich was a JERK and now I know it is a FACT!!!

    If people have any common sense, they will vote for HILLARY CLINTON!!!! SHE IS THE MOST QUALIFIED, EXPERIENCED AND INTELLIGENT CANDIDATE. SHE HAS THE STRENGTH AND WISDOM TO LEAD THIS COUNTRY BACK ON THE RIGHT TRACK!!

    HILLARY CLINTON IS BATTLE TESTED AND WILL BE ABLE TO SUSTAIN ALL THE ATTACKS BY THE REPUBLICAN ATTACK MACHINE!!!

    OBAMA WOULD NEVER STAND UP FROM THE REPULBICAN ATTACKS AND THERE IS NO WAY HE COULD EVER WIN THE GENERAL ELECTION!!!
    are you serious? if you really want to talk experience, and qualified, the Biden is the man, or Richardson. Hillary has nothing on either of them, and she has nothing on Obama, hence she won't be part of this election.

    January 1, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  7. FV, Tampa, FL

    Yeah well, Dennis... yop always were a screwball so who really cares?
    Why don't you just endorse Ralph Nader, he has about as much experience as Obama and wears better suits.

    January 1, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  8. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX

    We knew you NEVER viable so why declare your true loyalties NOW. You can not as a fringe candidate affect the outcome on Super Duper Tuesday. Its a lost cause. Hillary will be the nominee.

    Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/

    January 1, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. Jaime Scottsdale,AZ

    "Thank you, Dennis Kucinich. You certainly are a man of principle. You certainly have many good ideas. SOMEHOW IT DOESN'T SEEM TO STICK TO THE MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE." Thank you, Trang in CA! You could not have summed up the importance of this story any better. This is the kind of endorsements I would want...hey Bama?!?

    Hillary Clinton '08 🙂

    January 1, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  10. GG, Frisco, Texas

    Dennis you have been honest throughout your campaign and I have alot of respect you. I think you see what alot of American are seeing and that Obama can make us proud again that we're Americans.

    January 1, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  11. Dee, Plano TX

    A long resume as Hillary,Biden, Dodd,Romney and others would like us believe is not enough. CHARISMA IS AN INTRINSIC FACTOR OF LEADERSHIP.

    IN 2000 ,Then 2ND TERM VP Al Gore LOST TO THE MOST INEXPERIENCED 1-and-a-half Term Governor George W Bush from Texas.!!
    WHY DID AL GORE FAIL TO SELL IS EXECUTIVE AND FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIRENCE ?? GORE COULDN'T EVEN WIN IN HIS HOME STATE OF TN !
    …ONE WONDERS .

    OBAMA HAS CHARISMA.
    FIRED UP, FIRED UP !
    READY TO GO , READY TO GO !

    FIRED UP, FIRED UP !
    READY TO GO , READY TO GO !

    January 1, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. Wendel, Lakeland, FL

    All of the democrats should be united behind Obama. I cannot wait for the Presidential elections. Obama will win in a landslide.

    January 1, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  13. Anne -the Breadbasket of America

    CHANGE = The younger generation always seems to think THEY are the only ones who ever dreamed of change, of getting rid of the "outdated" ideas of all the generations who have come before them...

    In 1960 – America was moving into the suburbs, leaving the scars of WWII & the Korean War behind them. It was a time of renewed hopes and the America dream. John Kennedy & his wife Jackie, offered the fresh new faces & optimisn of a younger generation, sweeping out the past establishment.

    Those who like to compare Senator Obama to Kennedy by pointing out that he was only a 1st term Senator, somehow fail to see that JFK had spent 6YRS in the US House of Representatives, AND 6YRS in the US Senate, after having served as a Naval Commander in the South Pacific WWII. Still at 43, he was the youngest President ever sworn into office (as well as the first & only Catholic) and hailed by many as a celebrity. In Kennedy's 1961 inaugural speech, he declared that "the torch has been passed on to a new generation of Americans". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy

    HOWEVER America was fiteen years into the cold war in June 1961, when the Soviet Premier met the NEW American President in Vienna to discuss the east-west confrontation and the Berlin situation. Kruschev carefully assessed the new President, and left the summit THINKING KENNEDY WAS WEAK AND LACKING IN EXPERIENCE. As a result Kruschev felt embolden to ignore Kennedy's demands to stop the Russian military build-up, eventually leading up to the CUBAN MISSLE CRISIS. (for more details google)

    When John Kennedy was struck down by an assassins bullet Nov. 22, 1963, the whole world mourned with his young widow & children. They remember JFK (not for his weaknesses nor his many indiscretions in the White House) but for his youth & energy and courage in the face of adversity as well as the Space Race and the early Civil Right's Movement.

    But while the Nation had always admired Jackie for standing by her husband (despite the numerous public humiliations) – the American public was outraged by the perceived audacity to strike out on her own and marry Ari Onassis. Sadly it would seem that Our Great Nation has not come much further in the past 45yrs.

    Lyndon B. Johnson stepped into the Presidency – (VP)Johnson had been a Texas Senator and had a long illustrious career in Congress. Yet despite being a part of the ESTABLISHMENT his strength in the South was needed to win the Kennedy White House. LBJ continued the Space Race and enacted Civil Rights Laws, Medicare (health care for the elderly), Medicaid (health care for the poor), aid to education, and the "War on Poverty." Although he won election in 1964 , his downfall was the Vietnam War (which was actually inherited from JFK!)

    Richard M. Nixon won back the Oval Office in 1968 for the GOP, promising to end the long dreary War quickly – which he & his Secretary of State Henry Kissenger did. Nixon should be remembered for his brilliant foreign policy with the USSR and China, in addition to his disgrace from being corrupted by power (coupled with his continuous bouts of paranoia) which led to Watergate.

    His successor – Gerald Ford had slid into the VP position as Minority Leader of the House after Spiro Agnew has been forced to resign because of criminal investigations. Ford was left to withdraw the final US civilians from Vietnam – sparking the ensuing chaos and mass murders of American sympathizers who had no time to escape the collapse of South Vietnam. He will always be remembered for his Presidential Pardon of Nixon and his forthright honesty, decency, AND for being a klutz 😉

    Thus in 1976 with Nixon's Watergate Scandal still fresh in the voters' minds, the Nation was ready for YET ANOTHER CHANGE – out with the old establishment guard – in with the new non-Washington crowd. Hence, JIMMY CARTER'S position as an outsider, distant from Washington, D.C., became an asset. The centerpiece of his campaign platform was GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION. He & his wife Rosyln offered firm family values and refreshingly humble untarnished appeal..

    Unfortunately for America (although maturing into a great elder statesman) CARTER'S LACK OF EXPERIENCE RESULTED IN SEVERAL MAJOR CRISES: including the take over of the American embassy and holding of hostages by militants in Iran, a failed rescue attempt of the hostages, serious fuel shortages, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan!!!

    "CARTER advocated a policy that held other countries to the highest moral standard possible, a standard by which, he believed, Americans would want themselves to be judged. His Presidency was dominated by the IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS, during which the United States struggled to rescue diplomats and American citizens held hostage in Tehran for 444 DAYS! By 1980, Carter was so unpopular that he was challenged by Ted Kennedy for the party nomination – and although Carter received the Democratic nomination, he lost the election to GOP Ronald Reagan." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter

    ONCE AGAIN THE NATION CLAMORED FOR CHANGE, sweeping in 8yrs of Ronald (Nancy) Reagan!!

    In 1988 as the incumbent VicePresident George HW Bush defeated Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis to keep the White House GOP for another 4yrs. But the 1980s economic recession plagued most of Bush's term in office and was a contributing factor to his defeat in the 1992 Presidential election to Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas.

    THE WINDS OF CHANGE HAVE SWEPT THROUGH AMERICA SINCE ITS FOUNDING. Yet the younger generation has no memory of the same changes sought by the older generations.

    IN COMPARING BARACK OBAMA TO PAST PRESIDENTS – PERHAPS IT WOULD BE MOST PRUDENT TO SEE THAT HE MOST CLOSELY RESEMBLES JIMMY CARTER – THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE WHO RAN ON A "WASHINGTON OUTSIDER" PLATFORM, WHO PRESENTED SOLID FAMILY VALUES, WHO HAD NO FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE, WHOSE "ON-THE-JOB TRAINING" BROUGHT 444 DAYS OF THE IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS.

    Where will the dreams of change in America take our Nation in 2008?? Perhaps PAUSE FOR THOUGHT...

    January 1, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. Marvin, Grand Rapids, MI

    Obama will not win this November, Trust me...if the republican can put down gerald ford last year, and even came up with an ad about mccain during the 2000 primary, it is easy for them to put Obama down. They hate Hillary coz they are going to have a bumpy ride this year for the presidency.

    HILLARY '08

    January 1, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  15. Bill

    Thanks Dennis. I always respected you, but now I have become a real fan. Obama is the way to go.

    January 1, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  16. Jaime Scottsdale,AZ

    "Obama will win in a landslide.?!?" Will leave the person's name out in FL who post this so it will not be censored, but I have to comment on this, simply, not in this Universe! An Obama nomination, which isn't going to happen, will be a cakewalk for John McCain. Democrats will jump ship faster than half dead rats.

    Hillary will win in '08

    January 1, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  17. Gil - California

    ALWAYS FOR HILLARY in NYC, if you like Hillary so much, why don't you keep her. No need to push her on the rest of the country.

    January 1, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  18. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    What a weasel.

    Enough said.

    January 1, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Kucinich was never really going to get far enough to make a difference. The fact that he is telling people to caucus for Obama if he doesn't make the first round is an edorsement. As much as Kucinich really claims to be following the constitution, I don't think that anyone in the race is really going against the constitution.

    I have to admit that I would love to a debate between Kucinich and Ron Paul. Which one would sound sillier in their boasting about being more for the constitution.

    January 1, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  20. AJ, IL

    Thanks for the Iowa endorsement Kucinich but you need to make it official and drop out of the race and endorse Obama. Notice that Kucinich could have endorsed Hillary, Edwards, Biden, Dodd or Richardson, but he chose Obama. Kucinich voted no to the Iraq War and no to the Patriot Act so he does have some good political judgement.

    Now we just need Dodd and Biden to drop out and endorse Obama. Richardson was a Bill Clinton appointee so he'll never betray the Clinton organization.

    Obama in '08!

    January 1, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  21. xtina chicago IL

    If you squint your eyes , Kucinich looks like Hugo Chavez after a makeover

    January 1, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  22. Paul Sutton - Colorado

    Coporations have almost taken over.
    Hillary is Corporate America.
    Obama will compromise in ways that will effect no change.
    Edwards is our only hope (i'd take Kucinich but he just quit).
    Why the Obama endorsement? I don't get it.
    Bring on the cuacuses. If it's not Edwards I think
    I'll move to another country 'cause I don't want to
    pay the accumulated debts....

    January 1, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. Marvin, Grand Rapids, MI

    OBAMA is now leading among all republican candidates. Watch out this November...whoever is the republican nominee will surely cut down his lead and even cost him his dream of getting to the white house. Obama said that he will change the washington playbook and players. Tell you what...the republican nominee will use the same washington playbook and even beat him this november.

    January 1, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  24. GreyWolf

    Anne Breadbasket: there are many subjective flaws or omissions in your selective history. For example, you forget that Carter was a commander of a nuclear submarine. That in itself brings some international experience (both dealing with Navy command, your mission, and responsibility of nuclear missiles. And Carter finished 59th out of his Naval Academy class of 820.
    Also a possibly conscious connection by Kucinich to Carter was a reported UFO sighting by Carter!

    January 1, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  25. TO

    Good for you Dennis, it makes a lot of sense. Sorry about your brother. God bless you and your family!

    January 1, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
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