January 17th, 2008
11:37 AM ET
14 years ago

Senior senator to back Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/17/art.leahy.gi.jpg caption=" Sen. Patrick Leahy is backing Obama."] LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the powerful chairman of the Judiciary Committee, will back Sen. Barack Obama’s bid for president, three Democratic sources familiar with the pending endorsement tell CNN - the Illinois senator's fourth Senate endorsement in a week.

Leahy, first elected in 1974, is charged with vetting nominees to the federal bench, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Pat Leahy is one of the finest members of the U.S. Senate, and he sees the kind of possibilities that Barack Obama can bring to effect change to this country and world,” said one of the sources.

UPDATE: On a conference call with reporters, Leahy said he endorsed Obama because he believes he can bring reform to the nation's health care system and schools, and end the Iraq war. "Barack Obama gives us that hope," he said, saying the Illinois senator "represents the America we once were, and want to be again."

"We need a president who can reintroduce America to the world, actually reintroduce America to ourselves. I believe Barack Obama is the best person to do that," said Leahy.

He also said that "My endorsement is not in opposition to either Sen. Clinton or Sen. Edwards, both of whom I know and admire. I'm looking at who can do this best, and I believe Barack Obama can."

- CNN's Candy Crowley and Ted Barrett

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (392 Responses)
  1. cyrille

    Only when we are blind by hate,fear,racism that we choose not to see the FACTS.

    Check Obama website and learn about him and visit Clinton´s website too and ..
    then make a Judgement.

    Can you do that?

    January 18, 2008 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  2. Susuviri

    Boca, what you wrote about being a Muslim is misleading SHAME ON YOU! Barack Obama is not a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim! Stop spreading lies!

    January 18, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  3. Connie

    As an NPA , I will vote Republican. I do not trust Hillary…She wants power her and Bill are obsessed for power. If she is nominated as president of our country. She will divide the country because she will carry the effect of racism obtaining from her campaign. Her strategies for power are cheap and low. She has no class. I am ashamed before the world to have a candidate like Hillary Clinton running for president in my country. She will cause America to continue to collapse before the world. Already, the American dollar is lower than the Canadian dollar. I remembered couple years ago …I went to Canada and the people in Canada were begging for the American dollar. America has became a thrift store.

    Thanks!

    January 18, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. The Great

    This is very great. Obama is a man with great vision for America and the rest of the world. He has a great support from the great people like me. I have undoubtedly, admired his campaign simply because he does not create confusion as the Clintons are doing. He deserves this.

    I prefer someone with a greater IQ than someone with an experience. IQ counts more than an experience because given the shortest possible time, a person with a strong IQ can do a lot. And this is what I see in Senator Obama.

    January 18, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Trueamerican

    Sen Obama, just go ahead and stay fired up, so that real change comes to America.

    January 18, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. Brian Nancoo - Trinidad

    Isn't this the Senator who Dick Cheney cursed off in the Senate and just took it and shut up?And after the Democrats took control of the senate,has spent most of the Senate's time trying to get back at Dick Cheney,without success?Everybody knows that this isn't about what he truly believes about Obama,but to get back at Clinton for some unknown past greviance.That's Leahy for you.

    January 18, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  7. David S., Chicago, IL

    Obama '08

    January 18, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. Brendan D, Niles, IL

    Everyone seems to misunderstand why this endorsement, along with Kerry's, is important. Leahy and even moreso Kerry have lots of contacts. They bring establishment credibility to Obama's campaign, and, as John McCain found out in 2000, you can be an outsider, but without some kind of establishment backing, you can't actually win. These endorsements mean that Obama might actually have a shot against the ruling patriarchy - and yes, even with Hillary Clinton running, the specter of Bill still rules the name Clinton the same way John F. Kennedy's name dominated his brothers' and his son's.

    Meanwhile, can my fellow Democrats please explain to me why Bill is tarnishing what was an almost pristine legacy as the president who came BEFORE the debacle of George W. Bush? Acting as the attack dog only makes him look smaller, and it makes Hillary look like she can't fight herself, that she needs somebody to do the tough fighting for her. It's not a good dynamic the Clintons are setting up, at least not in the long-term.

    January 18, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. Arkansas for Obama!!

    It's horrible how the media has used the demograpics of the democratic candidates to essentially separate fact from oppinion. The "Democrats Divide" tug a war for the black vote, but they "vie for the hispanic vote." I guess it's okay to degrade African Americans to a color!

    The media tirelessly attempts to paint Sen. Obama as only appealing to African Americans...making predictions that he'll only win states like South Carolina as Iowa was a strange state. Strange because people in Iowa didn't allow racism and public biased to inluence their vote? If people believed everything that they've heard on CNN... aka the Hillary show, than no one would ever vote for Sen. Obama. Did anyone ever ask if Sen. Obama could compete in New Hampshire for the "white vote," oh yeah that's right...his demographic is the minority. America is full of states like Iowa, not hugely populated with minorities. According to you guys, Obama can not and will not win anything except admiration for trying.

    My point is that the media habitually limits and degrades Sen. Obama to "the black candidate" and it just not right. With the media being for many the only method of getting informed about a candidate, it unfair... especially to minorities seeking public office to be portrayed in such a biased and degrading manner on a daily basis. Then again, this is America, as if I expected better.

    January 18, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. Sal......Illinois

    I knew that John Kerry was out there but I did not think that about Senetor Leahy....I seriously question his judgement on this one.....Just last night Obama said in an interview that he was more impressed with Reagan's time in the white house than any democrat in the white house.....I question his and every one that endorses him ....their loyalty to the democratic party......Plus Obama admitting in a national debate that he is not a good manager......my word.....I wonder if Leahy had know all these goof up by Obama in just the last couple of days....this wise man would not have endorsed Obama....Obama needs another 8-10 years before he is anywhere close to running the biggest...most responsible and most accountable office in the world......Let me tell you .....they make you earn every bit of the $400,000.00 a year there in the white house.....No chance for a freshman to survive there.....Lets hire hillary for this job......she has the Resume......

    January 18, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. Jen VA

    Just remember for all those people out there who are trying to somehow make "establishment" endorsements for the "change" candiate seem bad must not truly understand how the government works. These "stanblishment" congressmen and women are the very people who Obama would have to work with in the Congress. Remember, having an allie in the Congress when you are the President is NOT a bad thing!!!!!

    OBAMA '08!!!!! cause... YES WE CAN!

    January 18, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  12. Gil - California

    Obama in 08 is the only way for the Democrats to win. A vote for Hillary is a vote for a Republican President.

    January 18, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. sjl

    the Media coverage of this campaign is so biased ( against Obama and Edwards ) it's ridiculous..particularly with CNN and MSNBC....when Barak won Iowa, race was not an issue, when he had a close loss in NH, race was not an issue....now that there is a chance that he may win Nevada and/or SC...Race is an issue...unbelievable. Am I to assume that GENDER was an issue when Hillary won NH???
    Clinton's camp and the Media thought this Presidential race was going to be a landslide for Clinton..it appears the voters of America are going to have something to say about that....
    BTW..interesting endorsements for Obama ( i.e unions and experienced politicians ). I believe if Edwards drops out of the race ( and I am not implying that he should )...I wouldn't be surprised if he also endorsed Obama.

    January 18, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Abdul Kane

    Hillary clinton is not really a bad person imo people seem to think she is bad. With that said i am a obama supporter because i believe he can honestly bring change, if you hear this guy speak in person you will just be awestruck(saw him at washington square park in NYU)

    I think its pretty sad how Hillary tries to downplay obamas exp. For starters the only people who have the most exp to be president are the people who are getting sworn in for a second term. Every single one of the presidents had to do on the job training. I dont think anything makes you truly prepared to be president of the U.S. You might have a little knowledge but nothing can truly prepare Hilary down played obamas time spent in indonesia. Well 8 years in the white house isnt that big of deal either then as i recall it was bill clinton in charge not her. And if she thinks that qualifies her then what is stopping laura bush from running? Plus obama has spent more time in elected office than hillary has.

    January 18, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. Linda

    I am all fired up, ready to Go, keep bring us "Change"

    Obama '08

    January 18, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. sicofdemslikeu

    Stop acting like you know either of these candidates personally, I am so sick of people saying I don't know anything about Sen. Barack Obama, and everything about Sen. Clinton, face you don't know either, everything in your petty mind is based on what the media has re-gergitated to you. If you really wanted to know something about a candidate, then go learn about the personal choices that they have made over the course of their lives, and pair that against what you hear come out their mouths, that way your opinion is really yours. Personally, it means a lot to me that someone who was the President of the Harvard Law Review, and graduated at the top of his class, freely choose a life of public service and education, this tells me that people and causes means more to an individual than money, power and prestige. Sen. Clinton has also done wonderful things for this country, it is not that she or Bill is unfit for the Presidency, that has been proved before twice, however I am inclined to agree with Sen. Obama, and his supporters in part. America has changed greatly over the past 20 years the focus has been turned away from building and strengthening the middle class in efforts to stimulate our economy by increasing the spending power and financial security of the largest block of American citizens, and it has been redirected to a Reaganomics based fiscal policy which attempts to cut government spending, while simultaneously providing business friendly tax incentive based corporate stimulus packages under the belief that corporate leadership would promote corporate growth and job creation (as opposed to posting record profits and bonuses), both ideologies pruport the same desired end....building America's middle class. Reaganomics is business as usual in Washington, Democrats and Republicans alike have all supported this logic (Sen. Clinton & Bill Clinton included remember NAFTA) I fear that this is the reason we only have increases in service jobs while the other have gone overseas. The IRS tax receipts have gone up recently but individual middle class families are not the families posting income gains, only corporate elites and SOME of those receiving dividend payouts. This is why lobbyist run Washington, because the massive changes in fiscal policy made under both Repulican and Democratic leadership has both wrote this failed formula off as sound policy, which I feel is not the case. Experienced insiders have gained that so called experience from completely within that disastrous construct, and America's middle class has suffered because of that "experienced business" and I am sick of if. 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending, broke consumers don't spend, businesses do spend but 500 occurrences of 10,000.00 worth of business expenditures, is the same output as 10,000 occurrences of 500.00 worth of consumer expenditures. The only question is on who's behalf does the President of the United States of America speak for, those who need it the less, threaten to move businesses over seas, commits unspeakable securities fraud, exports jobs overseas, hires illegal workers, while posting record profits or those who need it the most and risk losing their homes, or can't send their children to college, or pay their own college loans, or even take a day off of work without harming themselves financially. Not to mention we are speaking about those who of their own free chooses who to elect as President into the office. Reagan started this, and initially we prospered all of us, then came the globalization trend, then came NAFTA, and now the picture is not the same, and we need a fundamental change it direction, a change that is not based in experience but rather in a unifyng leader like Ronald Reagan (not policy wise) who can present a new vision while quashing the partisan bickering which is counter-productive to reaching a plausible resolution to the issues we face as a country. Its simple I will vote for the candidate who has shown me through personal choices that people mean more than profits and income, someone who when faced with the opportunity to rise to the peaks of financial/ political elitism, along side the power-brokers of these failed fiscal /economic policies they of their own free will choose to stand by the side of the American middle class and all of those who do not have the lobbying power to get their voices heard by those so well "experienced" in Washington, unless it is election time, and everyone starts talking about changing the system that they have benefited all so well from.

    January 18, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. martlyNY

    HILLARY CCNCERNS –

    *SHE OPPOSED THE BANK SPONSORED BANKRUPTCY BILL IN 2000 AND CONVINCED BILL TO VETO IT.
    WHEN SHE WAS ELECTED TO THE SENATE AND TOOK BANK LOBBY MONEY IN 2001 SHE SUPPORTED THE BILL.

    *AFTER NO WMD'S WERE FOUND AND SENATORS SUCH AS JAY ROCKEFELLER OWNED UP TO THEIR ERROR IN VOTING FOR THE WAR
    AUTHORIZATION BILL, HILLARY WAS ASKED BY AN NPR REPORTER IF
    SHE REGRETTED HER VOTE HER ANSWER- "OH THIS IS MUCH TOO IMPORTANT A QUESTION TO ANSWER ON THE FLY"

    *IN THE 2006 ELECTIONS- INSTEAD OF HELPING TO ELECT DEMOCRATS TO GAIN CONTROL OF THE CONGRESS SHE WAS BUSY SENDING THOUSANDS OF TENS DOLLARS FOR FLOWERS AS THANK YOU GIFTS TO HER FAT CAT SUPPORTERS AND CAMPAIGN VALET EXPENSES.

    *ONE OF HER PROUD SENATE ACTS- CO-SPONSORING WITH RICK SANTORUM A SENSE OF THE SENATE ANTI-FLAG BURNING BILL. (THE SUPREME COURT HAD DECLARED FLAG BURNING WAS CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED)

    January 19, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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