John Lewis Switches

This is quite a moment. Last October, the titan of the civil rights movement signed onto the Clinton machine. A month ago, he even had this to say about Barack Obama:

"He is no Martin Luther King Jr. I knew Martin Luther King. I knew Bobby Kennedy. I knew President Kennedy. You need more than speech-making. You need someone who is prepared to provide bold leadership."

This is what he's saying now:

"In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit. Something is happening in America, and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap... I've been very impressed with the campaign of Senator Obama. He's getting better and better every single day."

If Lewis's original endorsement of the Clintons was a huge blow to Obama, then his reversal is an even bigger blow to the Clintons. The Obama campaign has now not only built a rival machine to the Clintons', it is poaching loyalists. A figure like Lewis also brings, for good reason, a vast moral credibility with him. He gives permission - even encouragement - for other Clinton super-delegates to move to prevent a bruising and bitter fight through the spring. It's a tipping point. I predict others will follow. And what both Clinton and Obama have to avoid is a polarizing racial divide.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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