This is a good ensorsement for Obama because it has the potential to make him a little more competitive in Missouri. Hillary has been leading in the polls here by a substantial margin.
There is no doubt that McCaskill has solid support in the State, despite a Republican Governor. She has particularly strong support in the urban Centers of St. Louis and Kansas City, both of which put her in the Senate in 2006.
The question is, will White voters in the State support Obama and will the Clinton's mythical support among Black voters wane enough for Obama to gain any ground?
McCaskill formally backs Obama
By STEVE KRASKE
The Kansas City Star
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri on Sunday endorsed fellow Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president, calling him a “once-a-generation leader.”
The nod from McCaskill capped a prosperous few days for Obama, who also received the backing of several other prominent Democrats in recent days.
Among them: Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.
The backing comes at a critical time in the Democratic fight as Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton battle for supremacy in the upcoming primary and caucus states of Nevada, South Carolina and Florida.
Elected in 2006, McCaskill was widely believed to favor Obama. The question was whether she would publicly announce her support before the Feb. 5 round of primaries in Missouri, New York, California and a host of other states.
Both U.S. senators in Missouri have now endorsed candidates. Republican Kit Bond backs former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In Kansas, Sen. Sam Brownback has endorsed John McCain while fellow Republican Pat Roberts has not declared a preference.
In a conference call Sunday with reporters and Obama, McCaskill acknowledged the decision was difficult because of the historic first-woman nature of Clinton’s campaign. But she said Obama was a new-style leader whose freshness and smarts presented a rare opportunity for America.
He is, she said, “a gift,” a man unafraid to pursue new ways.
“I honestly believe that only once a generation a leader comes along who has that particular gift,” McCaskill said. “It will be a terrible disappointment to our country if we didn’t grab this opportunity right now.”
Referring to Obama’s stump speech reference to Martin Luther King Jr. who coined the phrase “the fierce urgency of now,” McCaskill added that she feels the same need to rush. “I feel it in my bones,” she said. “I get the fierce urgency of now.”
Obama and McCaskill have worked on several issues together, including support for military veterans.
Obama campaigned for McCaskill in Kansas City and St. Louis during her nip-and-tuck 2006 Senate race against Republican incumbent Jim Talent.
McCaskill said she realized early on that Washington was broken and saw in Obama a leader who could help fix it.
Waiting for four or eight years would be a mistake for Obama; McCaskill said the delay could rob Obama of the bold approach he advocates.
McCaskill said she didn’t expect to have a formal title or role in the campaign, but pledged to stump the state on his behalf.