Thursday, 4:30 PM
Patrick will endorse Obama, officials say
(Patricia McDonnell for The Boston Globe)
Obama lent Patrick a helping hand in last year's governor's race.
By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff
Governor Deval Patrick is throwing his support to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, an endorsement that will give the Illinois senator a much needed boost in New Hampshire and help blunt Hillary Clinton's courting of African-American leaders.
Senior administration officials confirmed that Patrick called Obama today to confirm his plans to endorse his presidential candidacy. The two talked briefly and aides began working out details for a large public rally in Boston next week.
The Patrick political organization today sent out e-mails to its list of 40,000 workers and supporters, telling them of his decision to back Obama.
Patrick, the nation's only black governor, who is considered a rising star in a new generation of African-American leaders, also called Clinton today to inform her of his decision. He has strong ties to her and former President Bill Clinton, in whose administration he held a top justice department post. Both Clintons lobbied him for his endorsement.
Patrick chose Obama because he believes the country is hungry for his new style of leadership that cuts across both racial and party lines and stirs up strong voter enthusiasm, according to the senior administration officials. The governor is expected to argue that Obama can lead what he terms a ''generational call'' -- a rally to rebuild the country and restore its standing around the world.
Tufts University political science professor Jeffrey Berry said Patrick's endorsement will be most significant because it will reinforce Obama's most potent skills as a candidate, his broad based appeal to voters. ''For Obama, a Patrick endorsement is another sign there is a new young generation of dynamic black leaders who can appeal across racial and partisan lines,'' Berry said.
With the exception of opening a Democratic presidential debate last June in Washington, Patrick has spent his first year in office keeping a low national profile. His aides said Patrick expects to make appearances for Obama in New Hampshire and Iowa after the Massachusetts Legislature wraps up its session in mid November.