United States Senator Jay Rockefeller endorsed Barack Obama for president Friday. Rockefeller, also a superdelegate, became the first member of West Virginia's congressional delegation to do so.
"Barack Obama is the most qualified person – Democrat or Republican – to lead our country in the face of enormous challenges – the very real threat of terrorism, economic uncertainty, and instability at home and abroad," Senator Jay Rockefeller said in a news release.
Just late last week, Rockefeller told us he was getting calls from both sides to secure his support. Rockefeller is one of hundreds of superdelegates. Those are party leaders who have one delegate vote each in choosing a president. With the distribution of delegates close between candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the superdelegate vote is considered more important than ever.
Other superdelegates include congressmen Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall, Governor Joe Manchin and United States Senator Robert Byrd. None have publicy endorsed either candidate at this point.
West Virginia's primary is May 13th.
Read Rockefeller's entire news release below:
Washington, D.C. – Statement from Senator Jay Rockefeller below:
“Today, I’m proud to lend my support and strong endorsement to Barack Obama and his candidacy for President of the United States.
“Barack Obama is the most qualified person – Democrat or Republican – to lead our country in the face of enormous challenges – the very real threat of terrorism, economic uncertainty, and instability at home and abroad.
“Barack is committed to changing lives – and changing the landscape of West Virginia and America . He genuinely cares about people, and he will fight for all the things I have fought for my entire public career – health care for all, good-paying jobs, a strong manufacturing base, protecting senior’s retirement, and fighting terrorism.
“As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I am all too aware that the threats we face are unconventional. They are sophisticated. They are constantly changing and adapting. And they are very serious.
“What matters most in the Oval Office is sound judgment and decisive action. It’s about getting it right on crucial national security questions the first time – and every time.
“The indisputable fact is Barack Obama was right about Iraq when many of us were wrong. It was a tough call and the single greatest national security question, and mistake, of our time.
“Today, we remain a country at war, and countless mistakes over the last six and a half years have made us less safe. The stakes have never been higher, and that is why we must take a stand.
“I am not just supporting Barack Obama because of his strength on national security. I am equally proud of his commitment to rebuild America – so that we’re a country of equality and prosperity – where no segment of society is left behind. I know Barack Obama will fight and win the battle for health care, good paying jobs, and energy security.
“Barack Obama is a uniquely gifted, brilliant and strategic thinker, who genuinely understands the hopes and desires of the American people. There is nothing sheltered about his life; he’s always had to work hard, and he’s always fought to make his community and his country better.
“A leader like Barack Obama just doesn’t come along very often, and as voters who care passionately about the future of our country, we cannot afford to squander this opportunity.”
Senator Obama said, “Senator Rockefeller’s leadership in the Senate has strengthened our national security and advanced economic opportunity, and I am honored to have his support. Nobody understands the unconventional threats of the 21st century better than Jay Rockefeller, and I look forward to partnering with him as President to strengthen our intelligence community and protect our homeland. Together, we will work to reclaim the American Dream for working families at home, and to restore our security and standing abroad.”