Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
GRAND RAPIDS —
With over 15,000 screaming supporters of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination looking on, Obama delivered some political theatre of his own here on Wednesday. He brought former opponent and former Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards to this Republican strong hold to have Edwards announce his endorsement of Obama for President, helping change the political tunes in the hard fought primary between Sen. Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Shortly after that appearance in Grand Rapids, former Edwards’ endorser Sean Kosofsky, who is also a member of the Pride PAC Election Committee, said the LBGT-centered political action committee had just voted unanimously to give Obama their nod for the presidency. The Pride PAC team was meeting in the Detroit area while Edwards and Obama were on stage at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
“I have been an Obama supporter ever since [John] Edwards jumped out of the race,” Kosofsky said. “I was not public about it. I have been privately supporting Obama. As of tonight, a few minutes ago Pride PAC just endorsed Obama. We made a decision to give a strong endorsement for Obama. So did NARAL. So there is some real momentum. We want to be very clear that if the Michigan delegation is seated we want to be able to have people who we think are best on our issues.”
The surprise endorsement of Obama by Edwards had mixed responses from those outside the Arena following the speeches.
Jean Blossfeld and her husband Bob, both from Grand Rapids, gave their reactions. Asked how she felt about being pigeon-holed as an older white woman voter as a likely Clinton supporter she said, “No. Wrong. I don’t like it.”
Both were pleased to have had the chance to hear Obama and Edwards speak.
“We got more than we anticipated,” Bob said. “We are glad we came.”
Jean said the endorsement by Edwards was “wonderful.”
“We were so thrilled,” she said. “I would like to see him as a running mate, too.”
Asked if she would support Clinton as a running mate, Bob said, “I think John would be a better one.”
Jean then chimed in, “I think Obama has to do the choosing, whoever he chooses.”
But not everyone at the Van Andel Arena following the speech was keyed up for Obama. Shelley Adamczak of Kentwood joined with Leslie Davis and Kathy Laugh, both from Grand Rapids, to support Clinton. They were carrying large signs supporting Clinton, including one which listed the states where Clinton had won primary votes.
“I do believe that is kind of more a phenomenon that’s backing Obama,” Adamczak said. “It’s kind of the ‘in’ thing to do. I really don’t think Obama has come across with any real ideas for change. He has just said the word ‘change.'”
She said sexism was playing a role in the Democratic race and Clinton was the most qualified for office.
“I think a lot of people are intimidated by a female in a high professional role,” she said. “I do believe Obama has that charisma behind him, but ultimately he serves as a puppet.”
All three women said they were disappointed Edwards had endorsed Obama, with Davis saying, “He said Monday he was not going to do anything.”
Asked if they would support Obama if he gets the Democratic nomination, all three said they wouldn’t.
“No. I think you will see a lot of people who just won’t vote at all,” Adamczak said.
For Davis, the issue goes back to the January primary ballot on which Clinton appeared without Obama or Edwards.
“We feel as though if he doesn’t want our support in the primary, he doesn’t want it in the general,” Davis said. She accused the Obama camp of blocking moves by the state legislature to have a new primary vote. “I wouldn’t block his vote. Why is he blocking mine? If he is so secure in himself, why would he block a re-vote?”
The Obama camp has endorsed a proposed resolution to the Michigan delegate crisis that would seat the delegates based on a split and would award Clinton more delegates than Obama. The Clinton camp has rejected the resolution.
“I have no intention (of voting in November),” Davis said if Obama were the top of the ticket. “I have been a lifelong Democrat. I say forget it.”