Corzine Predicts Double-Digit New Jersey Win
By Keith Richburg
ATLANTIC CITY -- Gov. Jon S. Corzine was Hillary Clinton's most prominent and important backer in New Jersey, helping deliver the state for Clinton when it mattered on Super Tuesday despite a late push by Sen. Barack Obama.
But today, Corzine gave an enthusiastic and full-throated endorsement of Obama before a key labor audience, and later, in an interview, he predicted Obama would easily carry the Garden State despite a Republican push to take it.
Speaking to the New Jersey AFL-CIO convention here, Corzine urged union members to get out the vote for Obama and help grow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. While this is generally considered a Democratic "blue" state, Corzine warned the union audience New Jersey was trending purple. "New Jersey can be very, very competitive," he said.
He also ripped the Bush administration for "fiscal profligacy" and the continuing war in Iraq that he said was draining the U.S. economy.
"The idea that we are spending $3 billion a week in Iraq when we cannot rebuild schools in Newark that are a hundred years old is absolutely unacceptable," he said.
Corzine had already switched his support to Obama, announcing the change in an interview on MSNBC, but this was the first major public speech advocating Obama's election, he said.
New Jersey, which Clinton won handily because of support from working class Democrats, is being targeted by Sen. John McCain's campaign as one the Republicans have a possibility to win. Corzine's advice: bring it on.
"I suspect it will be a double digit win," for Obama, he said in a later interview. Corzine said he suspected the McCain camp was trying to feign an effort here just to force Obama to expend resources protecting it.
While Corzine backed Clinton, the senator from neighboring New York, mostly due to her experience, Corzine said he knows Obama well from his 2004 senate campaign, when Corzine was serving in the senate and in charge of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
"I happen to think Barack is a terrific guy," Corzine said in the interview. "I think the world of him."
Washington Post Editors
June 11, 2008; 3:59 PM ET
Categories: Barack Obama
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