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Maria Shriver Comes Out for Obama


Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy, Maria Shriver and Oprah Winfrey stand together after they each spoke during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate US Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, February 3, 2008. (Reuters).

By Garance Franke-Ruta
In a surprise move, California first lady Maria Shriver offered her support to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at a Los Angeles rally today. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Caroline Kennedy, Shriver's cousin, had been set to speak at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Shriver joined them onstage.

"There is no place I wanted to be but here today," Shriver, a close personal friend of Winfrey's, said before comparing Obama's character to that of her state itself. "This election is about a moment. This is a moment not just for the United States of America, not just for the Democratic Party, but this is a moment for California. The more I thought about it, I thought, if Barack Obama was a state, he'd be California. Think about it: diverse, open, smart, independent, bucks tradition, innovative, inspiring, dreamer, leader."

Delegate-rich California is the ultimate prize in Tuesday's voting, and Shriver's endorsement is sure to set Californians buzzing. Shriver's husband, Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain's bid for the GOP presidential nomination Thursday, though he also had some kind words for Obama a few days earlier.

Indeed, the Illinois Democrat and the California Republican have not hesitated to speak well of each other over the past year. Last May, Schwarzenegger effusively praised Obama's efforts to establish a national version of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. And, in December, Obama pointed to Schwarzenegger's "leadership" and efforts to fight climate change in response to a question about Republicans he might consider for posts in his Cabinet.

"We've got to see beyond the labels that divide us," Shriver said this afternoon. "And if that's the kind of America I want, I think it will be very clear to you what you should do on Tuesday."

Shriver had begun her remarks by invoking another first lady, saying she keeps a quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt near her desk: "Do one thing every day that scares you."

"Eleanor, wherever you are, this is my one thing for today," Shriver said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 3, 2008; 8:16 PM ET
 
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Comments

Well, I was a Hillary supporter. But I notice her followers and campaign aren't, for the most part, being forthright in giving compelling reasons to vote for her. For example, we're asked to believe that it's the middle-class who is filling up emergency rooms for free health care. We're asked to ignore that, under a mandate, many would remain uninsured. The mandate appears to be "universal" in name only, but one can't help noticing that it would increase insurance companies' profits. It's not lost on voters that Hillary is well funded by the insurance industry. As a middle class voter, I don't want to be used as a pawn.

Other than that, what is the difference between her and Obama? His position on the war and their years of experience are at issue. Well, his call on the war rightly anticipated the problem we're in now. As far as experience goes, he's been an ELECTED official at the state and national level 4 years longer than she has. Bill Clinton was 1year younger than Obama when he ran for president and had no national or foreign policy experience, whereas Obama does.

I'm leaving it open for the Hillary campaign to address some of the serious flaws of her record, associations, and platform. And, the explanation will have to be mature, intelligent, and honest. Simply saying, "Hillary can take the heat" is not enough.

Posted by: mepublik | February 4, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink: I'm rather mystified by you rcomment that "I am an early Hillary supporter and honestly believe Obama has ZERO chance of being elected in 2008. My research over many months shows that as early as June of last year Hillary had 309 pretty sure votes in the Electoral College. As of this coming Wednesday we will have the results of some 30 states, and if they are even close to predictions, Hillary will be way ahead in actual number of votes cast and states won. The Repubs "FEAR" Hillary because they KNOW they cannot beat her in 2008."

Sorry to tell you this, but as of Wednesday we'll have, as we have had to now, only the results of Democratic primaries. How you have calculated that Hillary had 309 'pretty sure' votes in the 'Electoral College' is a mystery. NO ONE has, or will have, any votes in the Electoral College, or will have 'won' any states, until next November. Assuming what you really mean is that she'll be 'way ahead' of Obama in Democratic delegates, I'm afraid that's unlikely, too. All current polls are showing an extremely tight result. She has a lead in 'superdelegates' mostly because they are party stalwarts who signed on when she was still considered inevitable. After Tuesday they will begin to jump ship, as they are permitted to do. For example, no elected official from New Jersey who signed up with Hillary a year ago is going to insist on keeping that status if and whne Obama wins the NJ primary, at least if doing so would matter at the convention. The whole concept of superdelegates is pretty undemocratic, but usually meaningless. IF it ever reached the point where superdelegates threatened to override the popular vote all hell would break loose. It won't.

Posted by: tquinn1 | February 4, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone, including the media and pundits, has failed to point something more important than just the endorsement(s).

There are true political calculations and motivations going on here besides the most apparent ones. This is about the future of the Democratic Party, plain and simple (or complex if you still don't get it).

Looking at it from a different perspective. The Democratic Party and Republican Party have both celings -- about 25 - 30% of the U.S. Population that actively participates in the electorate. Most folks are moderates (leaning Democrat or Republican) or Independents who are not as involved as the more hardcore activists. And this is something that Kennedy understands.

Hillary Clinton has a cealing...she's able to get support from the Democratic base, there is no doubt about that. If she's elected as the nominee and even win the White House she'll have broad and strong support from those who consider themselves Democrats -- the activists who almost always vote or vote regardless of the candidate. However, the base alone is not enough to build a majority -- the same goes for the Republicans.

Barack also has support from the Democratic base. BUT he also brings first time voters or those who have not been active participants in the electoral for a long time -- you just need to read or hear all the comments from this group to see it.

What does it mean?

It means that if he's able to do this, all of these folks could be potential NEW Democratic voters in future Presidential elections as well as local, state and Congressional elections. Ted Kennedy thinks that with this new legion of voters, he can strengthen the Democratic Party beyond this Presidential election.

Lets look at Missouri or Kansas for example. Imagine if those voters who are turned on by Barack Obama, added to core Democtrats, outnumber traditional Republican voters. It would in fact turn those traditional Red States into Blue States. The same can be said of the South Carolina primary where Democratic voters outnumbered Republican voters -- keep in mind that South Carolina voters had more choices than Democrats so it's even more stunning. If that was a general election, Democrats would have won South Carolina.

I'm sure that Ted likes Obama and respects Hillary. But at the end of the day, Ted knows that the future of the Democratic party is with Barack Obama, not with Hillary.

Posted by: ovwong | February 4, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Garance,

I just want to share that I was watching this in Tillie's apartment after cousin Esther called me to recommend it...also I've posted a link to The Trail on my blog...

Small world,

Greetings from your Cousin in Rhode Island,

Posted by: msnomir | February 4, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"In a surprise move, California first lady Maria Shriver offered her support to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at a Los Angeles rally today. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Caroline Kennedy, Shriver's cousin, had been set to speak at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Shriver joined them onstage." GFR

These ladies were the best Super Bowl pregame show to date. Go C-Span! The ground swell for Obama is nothing short of amazing. The momentum of Obama's candidacy is phenomenal. Finally, I can enter the booth tomorrow and vote for a candidate I believe in and respect. My candidate has finally arrived.
YES WE CAN!!!

Posted by: dionc9 | February 4, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

i believe maria shriver's endorsement is really significant in CA among the demographic groups obama needs to sure up. and i'm sure bill's shot at ted kennedy over "no child left behind " only made it that much easier for her (thanks bill !) to do cheerfully. if obama wins CA even if the delegate count is close nationwide, that will be a clear harbinger. despite what some other posters are saying, obama is clearly trending up (and still moving) w/ HRC stagnating.
in addition, with mccain, looking like the R nominee is bad news for HRC. despite, what some say. HRC will have a harder time with independents, and D's who will not vote to normalize a dynastic co-presidency ( who will rationalize that it's better to have mccain than HRC whose candidacy undermines the nature of our democratic republic).
can any HRC supporter give me an example of any other modern, progressive, first- world democratic, nation where 4 consecutive presidents from 2 families would happen. the attempt of a new clinton co-presidency is an anathema to our government and to me a signal of de-evolution for our society. go obama !

Posted by: jacade | February 4, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

The event at UCLA today was electric. Michelle Obama's speech was shockingly good. Oprah and Stevie and Caroline and Maria kept that place rockin'. I'll bet the whole state is feeling it. This looks like real momentum. Fasten your seat belts America. Change is on the way!

Posted by: optimyst | February 3, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

mdhazan: I have used the following formula in my analysis. A 4$ + or - MOE with an average of all the polls I can find, and an additional 10% at least of Repubs voting for Obama in the X-Over states. This has been amazingly accurate to this point in time. Another thing, I have talked with over two hundred folks, as best as I can figure, about who they are supporting and have not found even one who thinks Obama can be elected in 2008.

Posted by: lylepink | February 3, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

REAL women support Obama! I feel so sorry for those women who vote for Hillary just because she has a va-jay-jay... ROFL!!!

Posted by: OceanDog | February 3, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama was already closing rapidly and this endorsement will simply keep the momentum going. Barring some last minute Hillary dirty tricks, I believe Obama will win California. That will be huge and the beginning of the end of Ms Clinton.

Posted by: zb95 | February 3, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama is going to shock the world , Hillary just has way to much trash in her back yard ,and way to many people remember the scandals and shame the clintons brought this country.

Hillary Clinton is un-electable in the General Election ( Believe it ).

She has (personal scandals ) tied up in the courts right now. The Republicans would chew her up and spit her out.

TURN THE PAGE

Posted by: cakemanjb | February 3, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh gooo god. the NAZI wing of the Kennedy clan just endorsed Obama! Wooo hooo!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/03/us/politics/03exelon.html?hp

Posted by: fjstratford | February 3, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

In response to lylepink: how likely is it that "your research" shows a "ZERO chance of (Obama) being elected? (Capital letters yours.) Sounds more like your wish than your research. Careful to distinguish between the two! GO OBAMA! (Capital letters mine.)

Posted by: mdhazan | February 3, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I honestly laugh that these women think they can play a factor on our decision. Especially since they thinnk are speaking for all of us. Let me say this once again. The Kennedys have no impact on our world today.
They fear women. That is how they were raised. The men were the decision makers and the guys that played around and had no moral concept of family and wife.

Posted by: oliviajimenez711 | February 3, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I am an early Hillary supporter and honestly believe Obama has ZERO chance of being elected in 2008. My research over many months shows that as early as June of last year Hillary had 309 pretty sure votes in the Electoral College. As of this coming Wednesday we will have the results of some 30 states, and if they are even close to predictions, Hillary will be way ahead in actual number of votes cast and states won. The Repubs "FEAR" Hillary because they KNOW they cannot beat her in 2008.

Posted by: lylepink | February 3, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

This is big. Obama was already closing in CA. This should be enough to give him a huge upset win in CA and possibly/probably give him enough national momentum to take the nomination.

Posted by: zb95 | February 3, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

This endorsement could very well seal the deal in California for Obama.

And yes i agree that (hotnuke2008) is on something.

Posted by: cakemanjb | February 3, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

hotnuke is on speed.

Posted by: laplumelefirmament | February 3, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

hotnuke2008 get a life

Posted by: Carlo40 | February 3, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

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