The dean of the Senate, Robert Byrd of West Virginia has endorsed Barack Obama today. Byrd focused on ending the Iraq war, “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 said that he didn’t endorse Obama before because he 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.”
Byrd concluded, “Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support.” Byrd is the oldest member of the U.S. Congress and the longest serving Senator in the nation’s history. He has held office since January 3, 1959. What makes this endorsement even more amazing is that Byrd was a segregationist and a former member of the KKK, but after the death of his grandson in 1982, Byrd changed his views and has been consistently awarded an approval rating of 100% on the NAACP’s Annual Congressional Report Card.
Byrd is the embodiment of the Democratic establishment. His endorsement of Obama is another sign that the Party considers the primary race over. Hillary Clinton can still campaign, but the Democratic Party is moving on and gearing up for the fall campaign. Byrd probably won’t be able to turn the tide for Obama in West Virginia, but if you’re Obama, it never hurts to have a beloved state incumbent on your side.