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The Endorsement Race

Sen. Barack Obama picked up the endorsement of Gordon Fischer, a well-known Iowa Democrat, on Monday, as his campaign stepped up its two-pronged effort to raise money before the end of the quarter and prove he is best poised to win the general election.

As recently as last Monday, Fischer, the former state party chairman in Iowa, showed up to hear Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's major health care address in Des Moines. Fischer said he and his wife, Monica, another operative, decided to back Obama over this past weekend.

"The reason I support Sen. Obama is that, like all Democrats, I am desperate to win the White House, and I am absolutely convinced that Sen. Obama is the candidate who has the best chance against any of the Republicans in the field," Fischer said in a conference call with reporters on Monday morning. He said his wife is "100,000 percent" behind Obama, and that they both saw Obama as a "change agent" who could draw Independent and Republican support.

While Fischer praised Obama, Clinton also had her own big ticket endorsement to announce: Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh, a former '08 candidate himself, formally announced his support for Clinton today, after it was reported this weekend that he would be giving Clinton the nod. She's coming off weeks of strong polling and Obama and his advisers are working overtime to try to show movement.

They held an endorsement event with the New York City Corrections Officers' Benevolent Association on Monday, at the same time disseminating a new poll by a University of Iowa political science professor showing solid support for Obama among Republicans.

And then, in a fundraising pitch to supporters entitled "This is Real," Obama made the tough sell for more donations, writing: The financial reports filed after September 30th will set the tone for the last 100 days before people start voting and caucusing. The numbers will be a signal to voters in the crucial early states that our movement has the support it takes to win.

He set a goal of raising 500,000 donations from 350,000 individuals by Sept. 30, when the quarter ends, to demonstrate his strength. The letter says that 333,235 have already given and are ready to donate matching funds.

"The pundits and political insiders keep asking: Are they for real?" the letter read. "You can answer yes right now."

--Anne E. Kornblut

Posted at 3:13 PM ET on Sep 24, 2007
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