From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Despite Clinton's 41-point win West Virginia, Sen. Robert Byrd has thrown his support to Obama. He cites the latest dust up between Obama, Bush and McCain.
"As people all across this great nation know, I have been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Bush Administration's misguided war in Iraq and its saber rattling around the globe," Byrd says in a statement released by the campaign. "With the Bush Administration's latest request to fund this on-going war in Iraq without any attempt to start bringing our troops home, the issue of the upcoming presidential contest has been weighing heavily on my heart. The loss of life continues and the sons and daughters of tens of thousands of American families remain in harm's way every day.
"This Democratic primary campaign has been tough and competitive. I had no intention of involving myself in the Democratic campaign for President in the midst of West Virginia's primary election. But the stakes this November could not be higher. After a great deal of thought, consideration and prayer over the situation in Iraq, I have decided that, as a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention, I will cast my vote for Senator Barack Obama for President. Both Senators Clinton and Obama are extraordinary individuals, whose integrity, honor, love for this country and strong belief in our Constitution I deeply respect.
"I believe that Barack Obama is a shining young statesman, who possesses the personal temperament and courage necessary to extricate our country from this costly misadventure in Iraq, and to lead our nation at this challenging time in history. Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support."
The NBC NEWS Delegate Counts:
PLEDGED: Obama 1,602 to 1,444
SUPERDELEGATES: Obama 302.5 to 279.5
TOTAL: Obama 1,904.5 to 1,723.5.
*** UPDATE *** Kansas Democratic Party Chair Larry Gates throws his support to Obama as well. (Numbers adjusted.)
*** UPDATE 2 *** Two new Alaska superdelegates for Obama: Cindy Spanyers and Blake Johnson