January 1st, 2008
04:00 PM ET
7 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. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT


    This one word will go down as the most classic understatement of the year.

    January 1, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    You haven't been viable for some time outside of the Mistake on the Lake, but neither is Obama or Hillary. It's wakeup time this week for the American electorate, and both "frontrunner" campaigns have already discounted Iowa results, knowing that Edwards may well win, if only by a thin margin.

    January 1, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. Anonymous


    January 1, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. Christian, Tampa FL

    Good for him! I have heard almost every other candidate on the campaign trail bash Obama over and over again, without mentioning him by name, by touting their "experience" and saying that the President "has to be ready on day one."

    Sounds like someone's scared! It's good of Kucinich to actually say something positive about Senator Obama.

    January 1, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. PulSamsara

    Good man Kucinich.

    Barack Obama for President.

    January 1, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. EE

    This message from Denis is a killer for Hillary and Edwards. Quote me on Friday Morning

    January 1, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. Nate Wonder

    That's an honorable thing to do.

    January 1, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Rafael Richmond Virginia

    I think this hurts Obama more than it helps him. But anybody but her is a better alternative I guess.

    January 1, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Renee

    Go Obama in 08

    January 1, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |

    Kucinich's encouragement makes sense. Without doubt Obama is a right choice for all American people. Congratulation dennis Kucinich....

    January 1, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Donna

    I hate to see Kucinich back Obama. That is like taking a flight with someone with a learners permit for your pilot. There is just way to much turmoil to take a chance on Obama with his lack of foreign experience. He needs to get more involved in foreign policies. Just to wet behind the ears right now. Then he hasn't really came around with any real ideas other than "vote for me for a change". But what real changes can he make with out the background and education. This is no time for an "on the job training" for our President. We have on of those now.
    I am a Joe Biden fan.
    I have family members that have been and one is in Iraq.
    68 year old
    Great grandma
    in Idaho

    January 1, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. C. Morgan, Bellingham, WA

    I hope Dennis does reach viability. He needs to be listened to.

    January 1, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. MT

    Another boon for Obama...this is great.

    CNN – by the way, you are the only news organization not reporting the DMR poll – trying to help Hillary again? No respect for CNN after all the Hillary stunts they have pulled this campaign season. Just as bad as Fox News.


    January 1, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    I wish Obama hadn't voted to fund the war all those times, and hadn't said that "nothing is off the table" in regards to Iran. These things make his anti-war stance not very credible.

    January 1, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. FSP

    I'm glad to see another candidate recognizes the candidate that is espousing real change and not just lip service to it. The inevitable candidate and the Clinton News Network (CNN) candidate only play lip service to change.

    January 1, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. John Cummings

    How sad. After the campaign help that Hillary Clinton gave to help Dennis Kucinich get elected in 1996, this is how he thanks her. Guess we know what Dennis cares more about who can help him at the time than who is best positioned to win back the White House.

    January 1, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Reggie, Germany

    Thank you Dennis you are one class act

    January 1, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Marcus

    Well, that's about it. I bet/think that's the sentiment of every Dem. candidate with the exception of Hil. "If not me then Obama". Think about that for a few! Has anyone posed that question to the other candidates?

    January 1, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. Ada

    Thank you for encouraging people to support Barak Obama. You are a wise man who knows what is best for this country and the problems all over the world. I hope Bill Richardson and Joe Biden would follow your step.

    January 1, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  20. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Obama could use Kucinich in his administration....maybe as a presidential coaster?

    January 1, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. Janice Cat lover

    Hillary has the most theatrical campaign.
    We have Nancy Polosi as Senate leader and my rule is only one cat in house.

    Mitt Romney will probably be president anyway he seems to have the most momentum and his passion for America shines through.

    January 1, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. Zac

    Wow. Great news for the Obama campaign, even if it is just a "quasi-endorsement"

    January 1, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. Adam, Plano, TX

    that is awesome dennis, you are truly a great man.

    January 1, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. Kyle G. Columbia SC

    WOW!! My hat goes off to you Mr. Dennis Kucinich. You are truly a man for democracy. The country is grateful to have men like you serve in the House. That is a noble move I'm not sure many politicans could do. You have transformed how I once viewed you. God Bless

    January 1, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  25. Ryan, New Jersey

    Thanks Dennis!

    January 1, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
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