Monday, March 31, 2008

Some Republicans Emerge To Endorse Barack Obama

WASHINGTONWith an eye to the general election and the Pennsylvania primary, some Republicans who oppose President Bush's war policy are endorsing Senator Obama.

Call them the Obamacans: They are against continuing the Iraq war and reject what they see as Mr. Bush's unconstitutional buildup of executive power. While the conservative Republican base rejected Senator McCain in the early primaries for his push for bipartisan campaign finance regulation and amnesty for illegal immigrants, the Arizona senator's hawkish support for the Iraq war has alienated what was once his national constituency, anti-Bush Republicans.

The Obamacans include a former senator of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee; a former senior Justice Department official under President Reagan and senior legal adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, Douglas Kmiec, and a granddaughter of President Eisenhower, Susan Eisenhower. The group one day may include Senator Hagel, a Republican of Nebraska, who has co-sponsored Iraq withdrawal legislation with leading Democrats. Asked yesterday on CNN whether he would endorse his party's presumptive nominee, Mr. Hagel said he would base his support on the candidates' positions on withdrawing from Iraq.

The Illinois senator's appeal to anti-war Republicans likely will affect the outcome of the upcoming primaries, especially Pennsylvania, where conservatives are being urged by radio host Rush Limbaugh to vote tactically for Senator Clinton in an effort to prolong the fight for the Democratic nomination.

Of the 140,000 Pennsylvania Republicans and independents who switched registration in the last year to Democrat, the majority are Obama voters, the director of the Franklin and Marshall College poll, G. Terry Madonna, said. Registration for the state's closed April 22 primary ended March 24. "If 2 million people vote in Pennsylvania, which would be a huge number, I think Obama gets 85,000 to 90,000 switchers," Mr. Madonna said. "That's 3 or 4 or 5%, which is a big deal.".............

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