- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2008

LANCASTER, Pa. — Sen. Barack Obama has won over another freshman senator and superdelegate, this morning getting an endorsement from Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Mrs. Klobuchar said she is backing her Illinois colleague over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton because continuing to stay silent would be awkward, she told reporters on a conference call.

She cited the big crowds he attracted before winning Minnesota’s caucus by 34 points, and said the enthusiasm and idealism she witnessed at his events was simply impossible to contain. Mrs. Klobuchar called Mr. Obama a new kind of leader who can dissolve the cynicism of President Bush’s administration and who offers a new perspective.

She also called Mrs. Clinton of New York a friend, saying she hopes the primary contest continues, adding: The Democratic Party is truly blessed this year with two candidates.

I believe that Senator Clinton has every right to continue her campaign, Mrs. Klobuchar said, following a weekend where many Obama supporters called for his rival to end her bid.

The latest endorsement, on the heels of critical backing from Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, brings Mr. Obama’s total superdelegates on board to 220. Mrs. Clinton has 251, including her most recent from Pennsylvania’s Rep. John Murtha.

Superdelegates will help decide the Democratic nomination. They are local party activists, state elected officials and members of Congress.

Though Mrs. Clinton holds the superdelegate lead, Mr. Obama has more endorsements from governors and Senate colleagues. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning the entire Democratic delegation from North Carolina will soon be backing Mr. Obama as a group in advance of the state’s May 6 primary. His campaign has not commented on the report.

Among the key Democratic senators who are still neutral are Virginia’s James H. Webb Jr., Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

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