January 22nd, 2008
04:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama gets big endorsement in South Carolina

WASHINGTON (CNN) - South Carolina's largest newspaper endorsed Democrat Barack Obama Tuesday, hailing the Illinois senator's "unifying style of leadership."

In an editorial posted on its Web site Tuesday afternoon, The State's editorial board praised Obama for not using his rhetorical skills to demonize his rivals, and said he has the ability to win over independents and Republicans without "neglecting his core values."

"He defends his progressive vision with vigorous integrity," the editorial board wrote. "But for him, American unity – transcending party – is a core value in itself."

While they praised Hillary Clinton as a policy wonk with a "deep understanding of many issues," the editorial board wrote her administration was bound to be highly partisan, and said the Clintons often seem motivated by personal vindication.

They also discounted John Edwards, saying he is no longer "the optimist who won South Carolina in 2004."

Meanwhile, Clinton picked up a key South Carolina endorsement Tuesday in State Rep. Fletcher Smith, a longtime African American legislator from Greenville County.

Clinton will be the third presidential candidate to be endorsed by Smith, who began the race supporting Bill Richardson, but defected to Sen. Joe Biden last fall. Smith has been uncommitted since Biden dropped out of the race after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.

Smith's blessing may come in handy for Clinton in the population center of Greenville, where Obama has already enlisted the support of former state party chair Joe Erwin.

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Peter Hamby

soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. CK Clarke

    After last night's debate, I realized how much I really dislike Obama. Edwards really showed his true colors, and made many fine points. I do not see where the editorial board sees Obama's integrity. He has been the cause of every major dispute between the Democratic candidates in the past two months. The Clintons may seem ruthless, but they're only being so because they were forced onto the defensive.

    South Carolina will be Obama's last stand, and I personally cannot wait until Hillary makes him sit down on Super Tuesday. Clinton/Edwards in 2008!

    January 22, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  2. David

    In these troubled times, we are in desperate need of recognizable experience in the White House. Hillary has commited her life to serving the public and has world recognition. Obama is a good man, he would be a good candidate in possibly 8 yrs, but not now. It's time for Hillary !

    January 22, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  3. Lena

    I applaud Barack for his retaliations because the people need to know the truth, but I also urge him to discuss urgent issues that affect the American people.

    Billary represents status quo. Doesn't anyone realize that the Clintons are campaigning with the same message they had 10 years ago. The same healthcare plan too. If it didn't work then, it won't work now.

    Overcome your fear of change and open your hearts to unity and peace everyone (including all candidates)!

    January 22, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  4. Lena

    ps. to everyone who seems to think that Hillary is the innocent victim of last night's debate, think again. she has been attacking obama for weeks now and if you look at the "know the facts" section on his site, you will realize that she has been throwing accusations his way for a long time now. if you look at her fact check, you'll realize that obama started to retaliate two weeks ago...

    January 22, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  5. Jolly in NYC

    Congratulations to Senator Obama on yet another endorsement. Perhaps some of the people leaving the more vitriolic comments above have spent a bit too long in the muck of politics as usual. I find Senator Obama truly inspiring. I imagine even the most jaded and divisive amongst us aren't blind to the magnitude of his intelligence and charisma. As my Mama for Obama says, living well is the best revenge. Continue to hold your head high Senator, but watch out for elbows.

    Ready for some unity
    Ever a hope-monger in NYC!

    January 22, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  6. KM

    Are any of you Hillary supporters watching the news or reading the articles with your eyes closed??? You are blinded by some sort of belief that electing Hillary into office will be a positive change in the White House and cannot see the lies, mudslinging and dirty politics she plays. Come on people, it's been Bush or Clinton in the White House for 27 years!! It's time to do a serious house cleaning and get all of them out now!!

    What the heck has Hillary done that puts her so far ahead of Obama in your minds besides being a president's wife and faking a tear In NH? She is and always will be 'politics as usual!'

    Wake up – get educated about Obama and who he is as a person and a politician. He's a straight shooter who can and will bring about desperately needed change for our country. He's a family man, an honest man, a politician without all the BS!

    Hillary could never bring about the kind of change Obama WILL when he is elected.

    January 22, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  7. kay

    I agree with Rosemary and Bimmer. Obama is shallow and how will he work with the military? HRC! HRC for President!

    January 22, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  8. tom

    go hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i endorse you..unite us

    January 22, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  9. JohnS


    If the FIRST WOMAN president is to be elected, should it not be because she demonstrated to the voters that SHE was the BEST PERSON to do the job? As an INDEPENDENT Canadian WOMAN, watching the election process from Canada, I am left with the impression that the job "competition" you are holding, for the office of the president, is unfair. That the former president's involvement in his wife's campaign is excessive. I can not determine if it is Bill Clinton or his wife competing for the job, nor, who will be doing the job. When did two against one become a fair contest in the USA?

    Is it really a VICTORY for women if the FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT gets her job by riding on a powerful man's coat tails, or, through her special PERSONAL relationships with the boss or a man with more powerful connections? How much respect will she receive from the international community when she needs it if they all believe she only got her job through her connections and through an unfair competition

    January 22, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  10. C. O.

    Rosemary Garza, please check your facts. I don't see how someone can be a bully, simply by defending his name from unwarranted and continued attacks.

    Anyway, Obama truly is a man of integrity, and I am happy that many people are clear-minded enough to see his intentions, and recognize his vision for a country that isn't caught up in ruffian, partisan politics and twisted dishonesty.

    Obama '08.

    January 22, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  11. AJ, IL

    Obama needs to stay focused on his campaign message and don't get the mud with the Clintons. Whenever Obama is in a national setting, like a televised debate, he needs to quickly and forcefully refute false claims against him, however he needs stay focused on his campaign message. If the majority of Democrats vote for Hillary as the nominee in pite of your extraordinary inspiring national message then let it be. Obama needs to stay focused and crisp on his plans for the economy, national security, and immigration, because those topics will come up again especially in the California debate.

    Obama just keep going on. Fighting with Bill and Hillary is counter-productive, not only to the Democratic party but for the country. Obama can't win getting dirty with the Clintons, especially Bill. Bill is a popular former president even though he has demonstrated the uncanny ability to lie convincingly.

    Obama has to stay above the Clintons, sticking to the national issues and his message of change.

    OBAMA in '08!

    January 22, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  12. Mz Baker

    Rosemary, are you kidding? Are you paying attention! It is the Clintons who keep attacking Obama!! And itis Obama who is rising above her insulting politics. I think Hilary is STRICTLY running of her husband's popularity. I TOTALLY agree with Murry's comment. We,as a country, do not need the same old 'good old boys' mentality. It is time for a true change. And time for another 'First' in black history. GO OBAMA!!!!

    January 22, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. TAYLOR

    Obama is not picking on Hillar.y I think her husband is the bully and she needs to fight her own battles. Michelle Obama is not engaging in this type of rift raft that clearly the Clintons started. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen.
    By the way, Obama has every right to defend his record and any other lie that the Clintons are trying to throw at him. He is tryin gto bring the country together. he is not out there to win the Black, White , Spanish, or Asian vote for the moment.
    He wants everyone to feel and have apart in his message.

    January 22, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  14. A.G. Atkinson

    My wife is 44 years old and this will be her first tme voting, this is my second time.

    We are South Carolinians. That will be two more votes for Obama and for the futureof our chldren.

    January 22, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  15. Bernard

    Great Endorsement...OBAMA got the NY Observer Endorsement as well...great job OBAMA!

    January 22, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  16. DPP

    Obama's presidency will only polarize this country. This is the opinion of many African Americans. It is too much to have GWB. This country has been divided between red and blue states. Should we have another "black" state? Let's keep in mind that Obama's speeches are made by professional political speech writers. These are paid individuals, and financially supported by political businessmen who are hoping to get appointments should he get elected. For people who want a Democrat at the WH, the only electable person is Hillary Clinton. Electing Obama will only help the Republicans to retain the White House. The Republicans will destroy Obama just like what they did to John Kerry.

    January 22, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  17. OldOne

    I am having a hard time believing you people are ruling out Edwards who was the only voice of reason in the debate last night!
    I do understand that the mudslinging of Obama and Clinton are more dramatic than the quiet man at the end who asked 'How is this helping?'
    Since the last election Edwards has been out learning about the problems of this country and finding workable solutions
    Democrats will continue to be a laughing stalk until we put someone up to run who is truly prepared to lead and not just add more "drama" to ours lives which already have too much!

    January 22, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  18. Mz Baker

    I guess the Hilary supporters are looking forward to her crying again......

    January 23, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  19. Boogie Los Angeles CA

    Notice how everyone's prized Televangilist (Obama) is getting nastier and nastier.
    A trait he swore up and down he wouldn't stoop to?
    Demonizing everyone around him...the great unifyer?

    It's sad to see because I really believe he has great intentions...but, you can't just win on ideals...you have to be ready for reality...and the reality is...we have a divided country with radically opposite beliefs...and it takes a lot more than a good stump speech to inspire Washington to "Real Change"...Real change historically has taken lots of time and effort from many people...not just one.

    He can inspire the citizens...great....but, a president is supposed to be a "Leader of Leaders" which includes the military and other world leaders.
    That lack of understanding makes Obama a huge risk right now.

    We don't need another "Captain Change the World" / Cowboy...we've had one of those for 7 years...didn't work out well.

    We need a consistant, strong and stable president to deal with global damage control before we try radical change in Washington.

    Hillary/Obama 08
    Obama/Edwards 2016

    January 23, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  20. Brad

    Obama doesnt know what he is talking about. how and what changes he will bring? . I am not impressed. He started playing dirty politics and a man who doesnt respect women will not get my vote.

    January 23, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  21. Mark, Washinfton, MD

    Living in the White House or Governor's Mansion does not necessarily constitute experience. Obama has been in elective office since Hillary's days as the spouse and I am yet to be told of her experience. Defending your spouse over adultery is not the kind of experience that we need. The Clintons had their chance and it is time they moved on. Their incessant ambition to rescue a lost legacy of sex, money, and corruption will ruin the Demcoratic party. Hillary lacks the judgement to be the president. She will divide this country like no president has ever done! She rarely inspires, never optimistic, and sees conspiracy everywhere. Obama is the best among the three candidates that we have.

    January 23, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  22. Denzil Nair

    I have one other thing to say-the American people may be ready to elect a woman president however the world is not ready to be led by a woman. Can you imagine Hillary Clinton trying to persuade the leaders of Islamic countries to do something. These people keep their women at home covered in black garb. Imagine how much respect Hillary Clinton is going to get when she tries to make an argument on behalf of the American people and even more so when she takes her husband along who can't keep his pants on to save himself. International heads of state snicker at people like Bill Clinton. What a combination.

    January 23, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  23. Karen in Ca

    Great Job Obama, Hillary is a well ok . I will take the high road. I was going to vote for Hillary until, the debate last night. I do not like how she treated Obama. She was extremely rude and harsh. There was no reason for her to react in such a negative tone. Be carefull Hillary and Bill ( the majority of us did not think Bill was the first Black Pres ) I actually think that was a joke that got out of hand. I just want African-American not to think that they have to vote for the "master". We don't have to do that anymore. It is ok now, you can let that go. Think for yourself. We are not on the plantation anymore (eventhough, it may seem that way in some areas of the USA). I am not

    January 23, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  24. kola sokefun

    We should be fair and let the best candidate win.

    Good luck, nice people of S.C

    January 23, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  25. Damon

    The first rock was thrown by the Clintons and sadly it worked. I applaud Barrack for defending his record. However, I do think Barrack's campaign needs to work on more crisp responses to these strategic attacks. Defend but don't stay where they want you to stay Barrack...keep inspiring us to be better than politics as usual!

    President Clinton is one of the best political speakers of this generation I must admit. However, his fake anger is laced with half truths that have always left me with the question...why can't I completely trust this guy? Hillary, far less capable a speaker, uses the same rhetoric and tone that reminds me of the 90's all over again...and that was painful. Change has to come from both sides of the isle if we are going to reclaim our country from Bush-Clinton politics.

    January 23, 2008 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
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