Superdelegate Casey chooses Obama

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Sen. Bob CaseySen. Barack Obamathe scoop
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.\ \ \ “There are few stronger advocates for working families in Pennsylvania than Sen. Casey,” Pfeiffer said.\ \ \ By coming out for Obama, Casey puts himself at odds with many top state Democrats — including Gov. Rendell, Rep. John P. Murtha and Mayor Nutter — who are campaigning for Clinton.\ \ \ The endorsement also comes at a crucial time for Obama, who has been trailing Clinton in Pennsylvania polls by double-digit margins but who also has bought at least $1.6 million worth of television advertising statewide in the last week, more than double Clinton’s expenditure.\ \ \ Obama strategists hope that Casey can help their candidate make inroads with the white working-class men who are often referred to as “Casey Democrats.” This group identifies with the brand of politics Casey and his late father, a former governor, practiced — liberal on economic issues but supportive of gun rights and opposed to abortion. (Obama favors some gun-control measures and backs abortion rights.)\ \ \ Obama badly lost the white working-class vote to Clinton in Ohio and Texas on March 4, keeping the outcome of the fight in doubt amid questions about whether he could appeal to a group of voters that has often strayed from the party in presidential elections.\ \ \ Since then, Obama has been stressing economic issues important to the middle class more often than his calls to reform politics. His campaign’s recent TV ads in Pennsylvania also feature blue-collar imagery.
six-day bus tour
Sen. Barack Obama yesterday called for tougher government regulations of Wall Street and another $30 billion economic stimulus package, prompting his presidential rival to say he copied her plan while both Democrats criticized the presumptive Republican nominee.\ \ \ Mr. Obama, echoing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s call from last week, said the government should pass a second stimulus package to help with the mortgage crisis.\ \ \ Mr. Obama, of Illinois, also laid out an economic plan for regulatory reform and said he would rein in special interests as president, complaining the government has allowed the markets to “bend the rules” for the most profit at the expense of the nation’s workers.
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Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times

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