From NBC's Chuck Todd and Domenico Montanaro
NBC News has learned the MoveOn.org PAC and the California SEIU will endorse Obama.
The 600,000-member union had been behind Edwards and has now moved to Obama -- the second reported union to do so. NBC News reported yesterday afternoon that the 200,000-member Transportation Workers Union was set to switch from Edwards to Obama today as well, now that the former North Carolina Senator has suspended his campaign.
MoveOn Endorsement Throws Progressive Weight
Behind Barack Obama
3.2 Million Members Nationwide Mobilize to Get Out the Progressive Vote for Senator Obama
Group Has Over 1.7 Million Members In Super Tuesday States
In a resounding vote today, MoveOn.org Political Action's members nationwide voted to endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for President. The group, with 3.2 million members nationwide and over 1.7 million members in Super Tuesday states, will immediately begin to mobilize on behalf of Senator Obama. The vote favored Senator Obama to Senator Clinton by 70.4% to 29.6%.
Senator Obama accepted the endorsement stating:
"In just a few years, the members of MoveOn have once again demonstrated that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up. From their principled opposition to the Iraq war - a war I also opposed from the start - to their strong support for a number of progressive causes, MoveOn shows what Americans can achieve when we come together in a grassroots movement for change. I thank them for their support and look forward to working with their members in the weeks and months ahead."
Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org's Executive Director, issued the following statement on the group's endorsement:
"Our members' endorsement of Senator Obama is a clear call for a new America at this critical moment in history. Seven years of the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration have left the country desperate for change. We need a President who will bring to bear the strong leadership and vision required to end the war in Iraq, provide health care to every American, deal with our climate crisis, and restore America's standing in the world. The enormity of the challenges require someone who knows how to inspire millions to get involved to change the direction of our country, and someone who will be willing to change business as usual in Washington. Senator Barack Obama has proved he can and will be that President.
"With 3.2 million members nationwide and over 1.7 million members in states that vote next Tuesday, we'll be able to immediately jump into action in support of Senator Obama's candidacy. We've learned that the key to achieving change in Washington without compromising core values is having a galvanized electorate to back you up. And Barack Obama has our members 'fired up and ready to go' on that front.
"We congratulate Sens. Clinton, Dodd and Biden, former Senator Edwards, Governor Richardson, Congressman Kucinich and former Senator Gravel on running tremendous campaigns. We thank them for their contributions to the important debate that has gripped our nation and for their ongoing engagement with our members. We're looking forward to working together to bring progressive values to the nation's capitol and to end this disastrous war in Iraq. MoveOn members are committed to putting a Democrat in the White House in 2008 and ushering in a new era of progressive values no matter who wins the nomination."
MoveOn members' comments in the vote reflect the reasons they support Senator Obama:
"Obama's grassroots organizing experience and unifying message combine to show he will work for working people and speak to a broad cross section of the American public. We need this," said Linda Blong of Penngrove, CA.
"There are defining moments in our nation's political history and this is one of them. Barack Obama appeals to the very BEST of the American Spirit," said Estina Baker, Hackensack, NJ
"Barack Obama represents CHANGE in so many levels. He brings HOPE that America can, again, be respected by the rest of the world and that Americans can be proud, again, of our leaders!" Isabelle Mollien, Denver, CO
"Obama has the ability to draw people to him, to energize people who generally don't vote, to create an atmosphere of long-overdue possibility around himself and what he could bring to the office. It is my belief that he can re-establish the lost connection between the American people and their leader, and put our country back on course to be a positive force in the world." Matthew Smith in Columbus, OH
MoveOn's endorsement means a fresh infusion of people-power for Obama in the critical days before Super Tuesday. MoveOn will immediately connect thousands of progressive activists into the Obama GOTV volunteer operation. It will also use the same cutting-edge computer-based phone program that made 7 million GOTV calls for Democrats in 2006 to allow MoveOn members to call other MoveOn members in Feb. 5 states and encourage them to vote for Obama.
Today's endorsement is the first time MoveOn.org has endorsed a candidate for President in the Democratic primary. Over the past year, MoveOn surveyed a rotating sample of 30,000 members each week to determine their membership's preference in the Democratic presidential primary. For months, MoveOn members were divided among many candidates -- as many waited to see who would take bold progressive positions on the issues. As the primary race has gained momentum, the polling showed a consensus forming and, with Senator John Edward's withdrawal from the race, members made their decision in favor of Senator Obama. The vote took place from Thursday, January 31st to Friday, February 1st.