John Kerry Endorses Barack Obama


John Kerry is endorsing Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic nomination. The two will be making a joint appearance today in Charleston, South Carolina. I am not at all surprised by this, having long considered Obama to be the most like Kerry of the 2008 candidates, especially when the second tier candidates were excluded. Kerry and Obama both share similar foreign policy views, with both opposing the Iraq war before its start, in contrast to Clinton and Edwards. Both have expressed an intellectual dedication to liberal values which are severely lacking in both Clinton and Edwards. Both have shown a willingness to consider ideas beyond the Democratic Party orthodoxy. The major difference is that while Kerry has more experience, Obama is a better campaigner with a better chance of winning a general election and moving beyond the old blue/red state divide.

It is particularly no surprise that Kerry would not endorse his 2004 running mate, John Edwards. Edwards would not have been Kerry’s choice other than for political considerations and this wound up being one of the more significant errors made by the Kerry campaign. Edwards was a light weight on the campaign trail, and often an embarrassment to the campaign such as in his debate against Dick Cheney. Edwards was not able to bring in southern votes as hoped, and could not even win his home state. Edwards also showed far more concern for his own 2008 run than for the good of the ticket or party. This included refusing to take a forceful line against the Republicans as Edwards wanted to preserve his sunny, nice guy image. Edwards further lost the respect of many Kerry supporters after the election as he attempted to rewrite the history of the campaign to make himself look better at Kerry’s expense.

Update: Kerry’s connection to Obama goes back to Kerry’s choice of Obama to speak at the 2004 convention. Barack Obama’s Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic Convention is available here. One of the advantages of the endorsement from Kerry is access to his mailing list for fund raising. The following email has been sent:

Martin Luther King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” So I’m choosing this time to share an important decision I’ve made, one I believe is right for this country.

The community has been very important to me and very important to the Democratic resurgence over the last couple of years, so I wanted to let all of you know my decision before I confirm it with anyone else. I want to share with you my conviction that in a field of fine Democratic candidates, the next President of the United States can be, should be, and will be Barack Obama. Each of our candidates would make a fine President, and we are blessed with a strong field. But for this moment, at this time in our nation’s history, Barack Obama is the right choice.

Please join me in supporting Barack Obama’s candidacy.

I’m proud to have helped introduce Barack to our nation when I asked him to speak to our national convention, and there Barack’s words and vision burst out. On that day he reminded Americans that our “true genius is faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles.” And with his leadership we can build simple dreams, and we can turn millions of small miracles into real change for our country.

At this particular moment, with our country faced with great challenges in our economy, in our environment, and in our foreign policy, and with our politics torn by division, Barack Obama can bring transformation to our country. With Barack, we can build a new majority of Americans from all regions who can turn the page on the politics of Karl Rove and begin a new politics, one worthy of our nation’s history and promise. We can bring millions of disaffected people – young and old – to the great task of governing and making a difference, child to child, community to community.

Please click here to give what you can to Barack Obama’s campaign for President and help build this future for our country.

The moment is now, and the candidate for this moment is Barack Obama. Like him, I also lived abroad as a young man, and I share with him a healthy respect for the advantage of knowing other cultures and countries, not from a book or a briefing, but by personal experience, by gut, by instinct. He knows the issues from the deep study of a legislator, and he knows them from a life lived outside of Washington. His is the wisdom of real-world experience combined with the intellect of a man who has thought deeply about the challenges we face.

History has given us this moment. But we need to decide what to do with it. I believe, with this moment, we should make Barack Obama President of the United States.

Please join me in supporting his campaign.

Thank you,
John Kerry

Update II: John Kerry introduces Barack Obama in Charleston, South Carolina (video and transcript)

Update III: Barack Obama’s Comments Following Endorsement by John Kerry

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  1. 1
    natthedem says:

    Kerry and Obama both share similar foreign policy views, with both opposing the Iraq war before its start

    That’s not right. Kerry voted for the war. He’s since recanted, of course, but he definitely supported the war.

    Also, I’m surprised you didn’t take the time to again point out what Bob Shrum said in his book: there is no love lost between John Kerry and John Edwards.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    No, Kerry never supported the war. You are confusing his vote on the IWR with his position on the war, which are quite different things.

    When he voted for the IWR he made it clear that war was only justified under certain circumstances which were not met. He made this clear in an op ed in The New York Times and an article in Foreign Affairs. Kerry spoke out against going to war many times prior to the war. At the onset of the war he called for regime change in the United States in protest.

  3. 3
    Lou says:

    Hey Ron,

    I’m looking for the full video of the endorsement: Kerry and Obama’s speech. Any ideas?

    It was fun today!



  4. 4
    Lou says:

    Oops…never mind. I found it here:


  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    I was thinking maybe this would get you to post again at Liberal Cowgirl. If news like this isn’t enough to get you back up on the saddle again, I’m not sure what would. What are you waiting for–JK himself to run again 🙂

  6. 6
    Steve says:

    John who??

  7. 7
    Diane says:

    Clever, Steve. You make that up all by yourself?

  8. 8
    libgirl says:

    John Kerry, the man who won more votes than any previous Democratic candidate and who had there been no voter suppression in Ohio would be President, having accomplished a feat not previously done – beating a wartime President.

    He did this in a positive campaign, where he laid out visions of a better future. He was mocked for postulating a time where adequate sharing of intelligence internationally and law enforcement and occasional military action jointly with teh world would mean that terrorism would not be an ever present gray cloud hanging over us. He suggested greatly expanding diplomacy world wide, but particularly in Iraq, where he proposed the first of his evolving plan to get out of Iraq – ideas that have been consistent since 2003 and which the Iraq study group approved. Kerry/Feingold is the basis of the Democratic bills on Iraq. Kerry’s call for a summit was included in the 2006 Defense bill.

    He also spoke of a burst of creativity and innovation that could be created by aggressively pursuing alternative fuels and more efficient technologies. He spoke of really taking care of the environment and reducing toxins in the air and water. Things that all the 2008 Democrats have in their platforms, though none have much in the way of credentials in their resumes. Kerry has a record equal to anyone.

    Then there is health care. All the 2008 plans have some features that were first included in Kerry’s 2004 plans. By the way, HRC’s claim that she already made change and that thousands of NH kids have health insurance because of her. The original bill on that was Kerry/Kennedy. It was modified by Kennedy and Hatch (co-sponsored by Kerry and Dodd) to be S-CHIP – though much of the language of the bill was Kerry’s. HRC? She persuaded Bill Clinton to back its inclusion in the budget after it passed a Republican Senate.

    Read the endorsement. Kerry makes an excellent case as to why Obama is the only one (of those running) who could end the partisanship. Without doing that there is no way to address the many critical issues facing the country.

    The reason this is getting this reaction? This is an endorsement that Edwards or HRC would dearly love to have because of the accomplishments and the integrity of the man offering it.

  9. 9
    Lou says:


    Yes, I have thought of reviving the blog. Maybe changing the name to ‘Kerry freedom fighters for Obama’. 🙂

    Hope you are well.


  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    Yes, hope you are well too.

    As for “Kerry freedom fighters,” the Obama endorsement led to lots of discussion over at the DU Kerry forum. Most seemed happy but there are a few supporters of Clinton and Edwards who weren’t so happy.

  11. 11
    Lou says:

    I remember when Gore endorsed Dean, it was like a punch in the stomach when we were already feeling so beaten up. So I know this is particularly hard on the Edwards supporters. But with time the wound healed and now I hold no hard feelings toward Gore. It is politics and there is always more to the picture than we know, but it still hurts.

    Unfortunately, I think it is not Edwards time again. And I’m first and foremost anyone but the Clintons.

  12. 12
    Ron Chusid says:

    People see different things in different candidates, so obviously not everyone is going to agree. That said, I find it difficult to see how an old Kerry supporter can not only support Edwards but be so strongly against Obama. (There was one particular case of someone taking this stand at DU.)

    I would have been surprised if Kerry endorsed anyone other than Obama, at least once his long time Senate colleagues in the second tier were excluded. I see Obama as being closest to Kerry not only a number of specific issues, but on their philosophy of government. In contrast, I see Edwards’ stress on populism and weakness on so many other issues as placing him at the opposite side of the spectrum (at least within the Democratic Party). Besides, Kerry knew what a lightweight Edwards was when he campaigned against him in 2003-4, and his experiences with him as a running mate made that only more obvious.

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