- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 28, 2008

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) He’s for Hillary Clinton.

No, he’s for Barack Obama.

Wait, Kevin Rodriquez really is for Clinton.

Whichever candidate the U.S. Virgin Islands superdelegate really supports in this tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination, he has become the first Obama superdelegate to switch allegiance.

At least 13 have gone the other way.

Rodriquez committed to Clinton on March 10. Two months later, he changed his mind, saying Obama brought a new energy and generation to the democratic process.

This week, he announced his support for Clinton again.

“I decided to switch because that’s my right,” he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “I don’t want to say why I decided. It’s not about me … It’s about America and what’s best for America.”

The chairman of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Democratic party offered a different reason.

“At this desperate crunch time, anything should be expected, especially when political persuasions, promises and offers are made,” said Cecil Benjamin, adding that he had no proof that Rodriquez was being pressured to change his vote.

“I’m disappointed,” he said. “I believe that we must stand by our convictions.”

Benjamin said a superdelegate’s vote should reflect the opinion of those they represent. The majority of Rodriquez’s constituents are Obama supporters, he said.

The Illinois senator is popular in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he won all three pledged delegates at caucuses in February. Six superdelegates will go to the party’s national convention in August. As of Wednesday, four backed Clinton and two favored Obama.

Asked whether he might switch allegiances again, Rodriquez replied: “I don’t know.”

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