More Senators Back Obama, Including Key Endorsement in Pennsylvania

Endorsements have not had much of an impact in the nomination battle, but this one might be a sign that more Senators are fed up with Hillary Clinton, and possibly that Obama might be able to narrow the gap in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey plans to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president today in Pittsburgh, sending a message both to the state’s primary voters and to undecided superdelegates who might decide the close race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Dan Pfeiffer, deputy communications director for the Obama campaign, confirmed that Casey would announce his support during a rally at the Soldiers and Sailors Military Museum and Memorial and that he would then set out with the Illinois senator on part of a six-day bus trip across the state.

The endorsement comes as something of a surprise. Casey, a deliberative and cautious politician, had been adamant about remaining neutral until after the April 22 primary. He had said he wanted to help unify the party after the intensifying fight between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This could be a sign that party leaders are deciding to rally around Obama as presumptive nominee. Yesterday Chris Dodd virtually declared Obama to be the nominee.  Another Senator, Patrick Leahy, has now made a similar statement and urged her to withdraw:

There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough delegates to get the nomination. She ought to withdraw and she ought to be backing Senator Obama. Now, obviously that’s a decision that only she can make frankly I feel that she would have a tremendous career in the Senate.

There has been an increasing sense this week that Democrats realize that Hillary Clinton might continue to harm Obama but cannot win the nomination.  Howard Dean is also giving indications that he wants this to be wrapped up by the beginning of July:

I think the superdelegates have already been weighing in. I think that there’s 800 of them and 450 of them have already said who they’re for. I’d like the other 350 to say who they’re at some point between now and the first of July so we don’t have to take this into the convention.