Kerry said Obama "can be, will be, and should be the next president of the United States.” (Photo Credit: AP)
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (CNN) - Sen. John Kerry endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, saying the senator from Illinois is a "candidate to bring change to our country."
"Barack Obama isn't just going to break the mold," said Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate four years ago. "Together, we are going to shatter it into a million pieces."
The senator from Massachusetts made the announcement in front of an enthusiastic crowd in Charleston, South Carolina, 16 days ahead of the state's Democratic primary.
Kerry said he was stirred by the way Obama "eloquently reminded us of the fact that our true genius is faith in simple dreams and insistence on small miracles."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson will endorse Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for president, two sources tell CNN.
Rep. George Miller of California will also back Obama's presidential bid. Miller is a top advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic leaders in Michigan are urging supporters of John Edwards and Barack Obama, who are not on the ballot in the state, to vote “uncommitted” in the January 15 primary – a move that could create an unexpected headache for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Clinton is the only major presidential candidate who did not pull her name from the Michigan ballot after the national party penalized the state for scheduling the vote in mid-January, rather than later in the cycle.
The national party voted to strip Michigan of delegates as a penalty, but party leaders in the electoral-vote rich state have expressed confidence that they will be seated at the convention.
None of the candidates, including Clinton, will be campaigning here, and none have authorized write-in campaigns – which means that, under state law, their supporters cannot cast write-in votes for any of them.
But if at least 15 percent of the voters in a congressional district opt for the “uncommitted” option rather than voting for Clinton, delegates not bound to any candidate could attend the national convention – a development that could allow Edwards or Obama supporters to play a role in candidate selection there.
In this cycle, more than in recent campaigns, the delegate count may prove important. Narrow losses – which still add to a candidate’s delegate total – could keep more than one presidential hopeful in contention. “For the first time since 1988, this is a delegate race,” Clinton aide Howard Wolfson told reporters Wednesday.
A new group, Detroiters for Uncommitted Voters, is launching a grassroots campaign to promote the “uncommitted” option. The Detroit News reported Thursday that Democratic Rep. John Conyers and his wife, Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, said they will launch ads calling for "uncommitted" votes if there is no other way to register support for Barack Obama.
The option is also being endorsed by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, and the state’s Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer as a way for Democrats who do not support Clinton to participate in the vote.
Neither man has endorsed a presidential candidate.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Rudy Giuliani takes aim at the media coverage of the presidential election in a new ad out Thursday.
“With pundits and politicos handicapping the campaign like the Super Bowl, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s at stake," an announcer says in the 30-second spot set air on Florida media markets.
"An economy in peril. A country at war. A future uncertain. The media loves process. Talking heads love chatter. But Florida has a chance to turn down the noise, and show the world that leadership is what really matters," the announcer continues.
Giuliani's campaign decided to largely bypass early voting states Iowa and New Hampshire, and instead target delegate-rich Florida, which votes January 29 - a move that has received some critical coverage.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
CNN's Bill Schneider takes a look at how Hillary Clinton was able to defy polls showing she would lose to Barack Obama in New Hampshire.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux takes a look at how the latest news from Bill Richardson and Michael Bloomberg may affect the presidential race.
(CNN) - Former 2004 presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry will endorse Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, two sources told CNN Thursday.
The announcement will come at 2 p.m. in Charleston, S.C., the sources said.
"(Kerry) remains one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party and (has) an e-mail list with millions of addresses," an Obama source said.
Kerry ran in 2004 on the Democratic ticket with former Sen. John Edwards, who is running this year for party's presidential nomination.
Edwards reacted Thursday to his former running mate's decision in a brief statement that hinted at the split between the two men following the last presidential election. “Our country and our party are stronger because of John’s service, and I respect his decision. When we were running against each other and on the same ticket, John and I agreed on many issues," he said in a statement.
"I continue to believe that this election is about the future, not the past, and that the country needs a President who will fight aggressively to end the status quo and change the Washington system and to give voice to all of those whose voices are ignored in the corridors of power.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will quit the race for the Democratic presidential nomination after fourth-place showings in the campaign's first contests, sources said Wednesday.
Richardson, who served as energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration, drew 5 percent of the vote in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary and 2 percent in last week's Iowa caucuses, far behind leading Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.
"The numbers are the reason - not enough votes and not enough money," a Democratic strategist involved in the campaign told CNN. However, "He enjoyed it and believes he made a contribution."
A second source close to Richardson confirmed the governor's plans to CNN. His campaign had no comment on the sources' accounts, but the party strategist said a public announcement was planned Thursday in New Mexico.
As of September, Richardson raised about $19 million during his White House bid and had spent about $13 million of that, according to Federal Election Commission records. A year-end report is due at the end of January.
- CNN's John King, Candy Crowley, and Mark Preston
Making news today:
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s all about South Carolina today, where GOP voters head to the polls in a little more than a week for the first of the state’s two presidential primaries.
Before the New Hampshire primary, Barack Obama was leading Hillary Clinton, and Mike Huckabee was leading John McCain and Mitt Romney, by double-digit margins in most recent Palmetto State polls. But with no post-New Hampshire numbers for guidance, the terrain is a bit tricky.
Rudy Giuliani is already looking past the state's January 19 primary, setting up shop in Florida and focusing his efforts on that state's January 29 primary.
Others are staking everything on their South Carolina Alamo: Fred Thompson has moved his entire campaign here, lock stock and barrel. (If that alone doesn’t say “last stand,” the pay cuts some of his staffers are taking to work the South Carolina effort speaks for itself.)
And John McCain, fresh off his New Hampshire triumph, is making a serious play for territory that served as his Waterloo eight years ago – and still planning to spend enough time in Michigan to once again make Mitt Romney’s life a lot more complicated.
All of them end the day in Myrtle Beach, at the Republican presidential primary debate.
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
The Democratic presidential field will get smaller today, as Bill Richardson is expected to abandon his bid for the White House. And Michael Bloomberg is still considering jumping into the race. Political Ticker
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
NY Times: Michigan Next, G.O.P. Rivals Turn to the Economy
Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney sped to Michigan on Wednesday and turned their focus to the slowing economy as they headed toward the next showdown in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Washington Post: Pace Quickens in Wide-Open Races
Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain each left New Hampshire elated over their victories in Tuesday's primaries, but neither could look ahead with confidence at a compressed calendar that will culminate in the biggest primary day in history on Feb. 5.
The State: Immigration Reform A Hot-Button Issue
The Republican presidential candidates will descend on South Carolina’s largest tourism market today for a debate that could turn on the topic of immigration. The subject is hot in this city, heavily dependent on seasonal and long-term workers to clean hotel rooms, cook in restaurants and build resorts for an estimated 14 million visitors a year.
LA Times: McCain Faces The Scene Of His Defeat
South Carolina crushed Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s hopes in 2000. This time, he has a new battle plan - and a 'truth squad.’
Detroit News: Dems Push 'Uncommitted' Option
Top Michigan Democrats made another plea Wednesday to coax supporters of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards to vote "uncommitted" in Tuesday's Michigan primary, rather than staying home or crossing over to vote in the Republican contest.