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I attended a symposium today in Leimert Park, the heart of Los Angeles' black community, where our Congresswoman, Diane Watson, talked about her endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President. I have a lot of respect for Rep. Watson, and I hope I don't get her in trouble for saying this, but IMHO, she did a much better job making the case for Barack than she did for Hillary.

She was fairly upfront with her primary reason for endorsing Hillary: loyalty -- Bill Clinton had appointed her to an ambassadorship in 1998. She talked about the fact that the Clintons have always been a team, so a vote for her is also a vote for Bill, the real first black president. She also characterized Hillary's nomination as a foregone conclusion.

But she went on to say that she expects to fully support Barack Obama in 2016, and then eloquently extolled his virtues and what they mean for America, for the world. It was clear that her heart was with Barack, but her head was with Hillary. As she spoke, all I could think of was: "if he's that great, we can't wait eight more years -- we need him now!!!"

Hillary has endorsements from quite a few black elected officials. There are obviously a million and one reasons for this, but I'd wager that many of them are similar those cited by Rep. Watson: while their hearts are with Barack, they made their endorsement decision based on loyalty and to win influence in the next Administration.

I believe that if Barack gets the nomination, you will see a tremoundous outpouring of additional support from the black community. All of the energy that has been pent-up by loyalty to the Clintons will be released in the general election. I believe that Barack will bring millions of new black voters to the polls, something that will benefit blacks, Democrats and progressives for years to come. That is yet another reason to support the Barack Obama candidacy.

Originally posted to pragprogress on Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 06:14 PM PST.


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