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. MT

    Why is it that Hillary supporters don't understand that someone who is despised, yes despised, by almost 50% of this country will NEVER win? It is one thing to not agree with a politician and therefore support someone else but when you feel such intense deep dislike, nothing is going to make you vote for that person. That dislike did not just start yesterday – it has a 14 year history and runs deep. People think the Clintons are corrupt and that they will do anything to maintain power. But at least Bill Clinton had a reassuring and mildly inspiring personality. Hillary is not Bill Clinton. She does not make people believe in the possibility of anything better than what we have today. She makes me feel quite assured that there will be just more years of Washington fighting with nothing getting accomplished. Have you seen anyone but Hillary mentioned so many times in the line "Anyone but candidate X in 2008" on the blogs? And don't think that the Republican nominee will not drag out all her quotes this campaign season about fighting the Republicans and fighting the "right wing conspirary" to further mobilize their base. She has given them plenty of fodder with her combative comments. So please think before you cast your vote for Hillary. A vote for Hillary in the primaries is a vote for the Republicans in November.

    And BTW, how pathetic to attack Kucinich. This was a man who as a child was homeless – his family of seven slept in a car – and he worked his way up to where he is today. He may be extreme in his views for many but he has always shown a tremendous amount of integrity. Those making fun of him need to look in a mirror and ask themselves what they have accomplished. The reason I respect him is not that I agree with him, but that he is not afraid of anyone's laughter.

    January 1, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  2. Mike


    January 1, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  3. Kelli in IA

    You Obama backers are preaching on and on about change...well, what has he already done for "change"? Showed up to say "present" for his senate votes? Yeah, that's change alright!

    Hillary Clinton has been making positive changes in peoples lives for 35 years. Look at the changes she has made. She turned Arkansas schools from the worst in the country to some of the best. She helped kids in New Hampshire who weren't getting a chance at school because of disabilities. And in a Republican-dominated New York, she WON the same counties that G.W.B. won in the prior presidential election. "Republican" farmers in upstate New York LOVE her and are here in Iowa campaigning for her. If that's not change, then you must think Bush is the best president in the history of the U.S.

    Do the right thing, Iowans, and caucus for Hillary Clinton, so we can take our country back!

    January 1, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. Bretsuaz

    Obama doesnt have a chance.

    January 1, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  5. Lance in Monrovia

    Barack Obama is continually downplayed by the main stream media and attacked by special interest groups pouring money into Iowa. Why?

    Because he doesn't take corporate PAC money. He will take a sledgehammer to the broken system while Clinton would play ball with them like usual.

    The media is attempting to throw the focus to Edwards because they know he has no chance of actually getting the nomination. Anything they can do to throw the focus off Obama helps Clinton, which is repeatedly CNN and other big media outlets goal.

    Barack Obama is now clearly the front runner in the most predicitive polls. Yet they marginalize him. You really have to ask why and ask who it is that they really are scared of.

    They're scared to death of Barack Obama, which is good for the American people, because he can actually win, and he can actually change politics as usual

    January 1, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |

    Thanks Dennis we need every vote we can get OBAMA 08

    January 2, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  7. Brad

    Well, there goes one of the two honest candidates in the entire race.

    I'm still in shock that anyone is impressionable enough to be suckered into voting for Obama or Clinton. Just another two shills who never stood up against the Bush administration, and gave them all the room in the world to take away our civil liberties.

    January 2, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  8. kyu

    xtina chicago IL, You are right, Kucinich's eyes and mouth are jut like Hugo Chavez, his mind is even more like Hugo. Nobody will care about Kucinich's speech except Obama, he may use Kucinich, but Obama's mind is someone else. Sorry Kucinich.

    January 2, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  9. Len, Fallbrook, CA


    Which battle may that be? I must have missed it on the news tonight.

    January 2, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  10. Tim

    Edwards won't be viable once the general elections campaign starts. He's not raised enough money, and he's accepting matching funds which will limit his spending when it really counts.

    Hillary would draw more Republicans to the polls (and they aren't terribly enamored of any of their candidates at present) than she would Democrats.

    Barack is the smartest choice, in my book. He tends to be very popular as a second choice, so he'll likely pick up a good many of the non-viable candidates' supporters in states that use caucuses like Iowa and Nevada.

    January 2, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  11. Nancy, Dallas TX

    Kucinich is irrelevant.

    Anne – the Breadbasket of America,
    Well done and a good read. The apt comparison of Obama to the inexperienced Jimah Carter should force people into a reality check of the dangers of having a president with no experience. This is akin to making the new hire at the office president of the company. Handing over the presidency of the US to a completely inexperienced former professor is ludicrous when there are smart, deeply experienced alternatives.

    January 2, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  12. Reggie Boykins, St. Louis, MO

    I believe our next president will come from the the Democratic side. I believe the Republicans and the American people in general want a Democrat to clean up the mess the current administration has created.

    This current administration did not have the leadership or the EXPERIENCE to conduct our nations affairs. They have raided our country's treasury and delivered it to Haliburton and Blackwater (an organization rooted in the KKK). No one denies the incompetency of the administration and I am certain many are ashamed to have been associated with it.

    I believe the media is thirsting for an historical event this election cycle. We will either have our first Black, or, our first woman as the next president of this wonderful country.

    I believe the Republican party is going to realize that they must separate themselves from the religious fanatics who dominate that part today. More and more, they are beginning to present like one of those religious sects out of the Mid-East. There will never a time when this country will elect a religious leader to lead this democracy. NEVER!

    January 2, 2008 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  13. Jacky N

    What has the Bush or Clinton done that after 28years, they are asking for another four to eight years. For 28 years of Bush-Clinton, Clinton-Bush, and Bush again, there has been very little but devisiveness. We don't just need to change the wine in the bottle, we need to change the wine and the bottle. Obama is the answer

    January 2, 2008 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  14. Al, MN

    The number one problem in this country is unity. If this polarisation is overcome, all other problems like healthcare, economy, Iraq, terrorism and immigration can be resolve. Any politician with over 15years of Washington experience of any level is not the best candidate. May be Ron Paul and Kicinich are exceptions but Obama is the best choice

    January 2, 2008 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  15. johnE

    Enemies of the United States couldnt be more ecstatic at the possibility of Barak Obama winning the White House. Barak is a girlie man dove in the likes of Jimmy Carter and his pretty little sweater. It is appeasement minded wimps like Carter and Obama that led Russia's Lenin to write long ago that "western socialists were his useful idiots" John McCain 08!!!!

    January 2, 2008 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  16. johnE

    Be assured if Obama wins the White House, the REAL president will be
    HIS WIFE!!!! It is she who wears the pants in the Obama family.

    January 2, 2008 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  17. Gracey Knowles, Dallas

    The Edwards campaign workers deriding Kucinich and Obama and promoting their candidate at the head of this correspondence would be more plausible if they spread their comments out over time. To have their comments bunched together as soon as the topic opens is just too obvious.

    January 2, 2008 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  18. Bill

    "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."

    Great line! I have to remember this one. Hillary backers, please understand this: the rest of America HATES her.

    January 2, 2008 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  19. J. Francisco, Yakima, WA

    Recognize a man of integrity when you read his words. A wonderful citizen and statesmen of our USA. By many accounts a great person. Potshot all you want, he has his supporters. His qualified backing–while qualified–means something.

    January 2, 2008 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  20. Mark G., BBH, ME

    I know this will not make it past your moderators, but:

    All Kuchinich votes go to Dr. Ron Paul. It is obvious if you are paying attention.

    January 2, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  21. Purnell Millbrook, New York

    People who complain about money being spent for social programs are brainwashed. We could have have written everyone last man woman and child in Iraq a check for $40.000 and paid for universal healthcare in this country with the money that has been pounded down that rathole.

    January 2, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  22. Jay

    Trying to tap the popular ire over gas prices, Barack Obama told an Iowa crowd “Gas prices have never been higher, and Exxon Mobil’s profits have never been higher.”
    He’s wrong on both counts.
    Gas prices have soared this year, and so have the profits of Exxon Mobil and other companies. But in saying they’ve “never been higher,” Obama overstates the case.
    Obama’s plan includes a mandate to insure children, but it does not include a mandate for adults, as the Clinton and Edwards plans do. That likely means not as many people will be insured, said Kenneth Thorpe, professor of health policy and management at Emory University.
    So is it fair for Obama to call his plan “universal”? Well, not really. Even if you buy his argument that his plan will create the market conditions to make health care universally available, nothing in his plan guarantees it. We rate his claim Barely True.
    Last year he cosponsored an ethics reform bill and was the Democratic point man for drumming up more cosponsors. Joining him in cosponsorship were Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. That bill did not make it out of committee, but another, less stringent, ethics reform bill did pass the Senate. That bill, authored by Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., passed, but Obama can’t take credit for that one. He didn’t even vote for it.
    “Without a doubt,” Obama said in a memo, “President Bush can cite that language as authorizing him to maintain and use U.S. troops in Iraq for the purpose of containing Iran, curtailing Iran’s influence in Iraq, and, if need be, to expand our troops’ activities beyond Iraq’s borders to pursue and attack Iranian forces.”
    In other words, Obama's sweeping claim to have long opposed Iraq is true. Opponents have attacked Obama's record of opposition on two grounds. They argue that Obama should answer definitively how he would have voted if were in the Senate at the time of the vote. Obama said in 2004 he can't answer that question fully because he doesn't know what intelligence the senators had access to.
    Obama joined the U.S. Senate in 2005. He has voted several times to continue funding for the war, saying that troops in Iraq should be funded even if he disagreed with the overall war. (The measure passed 97 to zero.) In recent months, like other Democratic candidates, he has voted in favor of troop withdrawals and other measures to bring the war to a conclusion
    The announcer says, "He's leading by example, refusing contributions from PACs and Washington lobbyists who have too much power today."
    But his anti-lobbyist policy includes one caveat and a few loopholes that weaken his claim to be funding his political campaign in a way that's truly different from his competitors.

    January 2, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  23. alan St Louis MO

    Electability should be the top concern for Democrats

    Clinton loses in polls on some of the match up against republicans.
    That is based on a 1v1 match up with out a 3rd party candidate LOL
    Obama beats all em with plenty of margin to spare.

    Over Half of America will NOT vote for Hillary if she nominated
    Clinton will even push a lot of middle leaning Democrats to vote republican or abstain or vote 3rd party.

    That will also open a massive invitation for a 3rd party liberal candidate.

    Now will we have 1 republican and 2 democrats running in the general election.
    The 2 democrats will cancel each other votes for the republican to win

    Obama has the most support from independents and cross over republicans. Which will greatly out do the 3 Hillary nut cases that will not vote for Obama.

    Even if their is a 3rd party liberal democrat it will not effect Obama from beating the republicans in general election.

    But if Hillary is the nominee for the democrats you are gona see a Third party candidate almost almost win the election, But still lose to the republicans because their still be enough of them to stay unified to push there guy to the office.

    VOTE OBAMA IF YOU WANT A DEMOCRAT IN THE HOUSE and to break the status quo, break the partisan bickering, break the grid lock, end the war and go back to statesmanship.

    OBAMA 2009

    January 2, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  24. Eric, MD

    Question for the liberal masses on this website, do you truly want a socialist government where the government makes all of your choices for you? Honestly, I want to know how the diseased mind of a liberal works.

    January 2, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  25. Liam

    John Edwards could not handle Dick Cheney in the 2004 debate, has done nothing ever since, and now he claims that he will dictate to the ruling class in Washington, and change every thing for ever. When did he go through the pitbull backbone transplant surgery. Dick Cheney treated him like a timid poodle.

    Do you believe in Fairy Tales.

    January 2, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
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