Hillary Clinton scored a key endorsement today from Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania. Anne Kornblut reports in the WaPo:
Rep. John P. Murtha has announced his endorsement of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, bringing his clout as a 17-term member of the House and a prominent anti-war Democrat to bear with more than a month until the primary here in his home state.
“Sen. Clinton is the candidate that will forge a consensus on health care, education, the economy, and the war in Iraq,” Murtha wrote in a statement about his decision.
Murtha represents Pennsylvania’s 12th district, near Pittsburgh. He was “an early and sometimes inflammatory critic of the Iraq war.”
As a retired Marine Corps colonel and the first combat veteran of Vietnam elected to serve in Congress, Murtha’s voice on Clinton’s behalf could prove especially valuable in both inoculating her from anti-war criticism and bolstering her claim that she is the most qualified to serve as commander-in-chief. That message is the backbone of Clinton’s appearances this week.
“Her experience and careful consideration of these issues convinced me that she is best qualified to lead our nation and to bring credibility back to the White House,” Murtha said. He said he “whole-heartedly” recommends Clinton to all voters in his state.
This is a key endorsement for Clinton who also has the support of members from the “Out of Iraq Caucus“, Wes Clark and Joe Wilson, who are all outspoken against the Iraq War.
UPDATE: Murtha’s endorsement also carries added importance because he is a “superdelegate.”
Because the race between Clinton and Obama is so close, some speculate that superdelegates may play an important role in deciding the party’s nominee.
Clinton said in a release Tuesday night that she is pleased with Murtha’s endorsement.
“I am honored to have the support of a leader as strong, well-respected and experienced as Congressman John Murtha,” Clinton said. “I have known John for years, and he is a fighter and a man of principle who has unmatched credibility on matters vital to our national security.”
As of just last month, Murtha had said he “would not choose sides in the race and pledged to be “very careful in my evaluation of both candidates.”” I’m glad to see he changed his mind, but I am certain Obama supporters are not so pleased with his decision.