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yes we all knew or at least thought/hoped it was coming but a fellow poster on another message board I trust who is a regular listener told me that today on his show, Michael Smerconish finally went ahead and made it official and backed Barack Obama.

Many of you know he has been a pseudo-surrogate for Obama all the way back to the tough days of the Wright scandal breaking and the PA primary.  He has appeared numerous times on Hardball and other cable talk shows supporting Obama's positions and leadership especially in regards to Iraq.  

He announced his endorsement this AM on his radio show and will have a column devoted to it in this Sunday's paper!

more after the fold

Smerconish hosts his conservative radio show ,The Michael Smerconish Morning Show, from Philly and has a huge base in the Philly suburbs which of course will be the battleground/swing voters for PA in this election.

a little background on his career from his own blog...

My background is probably well known to my radio listeners, albeit less so to those who know me only from reading my columns in the Daily News and Inquirer or watching me on MSNBC. The short version is that my work as a radio host - columnist - commentator grew out of my Republican Party activism at an early age. I grew up in the era of Reagan and was fortunate to have several unique political experiences when I was in my late teens and early 20's, most notably doing advance work for Vice President George H.W. Bush while I was still in college. By the time I was 29, I was appointed by that President Bush to a sub-cabinet level position.

Along the way, my political experiences provided me with credentials that led to invitations to offer election night commentary for some local network television affiliates, which in turn led me to talk radio. Eventually, after years of practicing law and offering commentary, I decided that I wanted to reverse careers and go from being a lawyer who was a talk show host to a talk show host who happened to be a lawyer. That opportunity came a few years ago and since then, I have not involved myself in campaigns, other than writing an occasional check.

Ever since I turned 18 in 1980, I have registered and remained a Republican. I have never missed an election, but nor have I ever pulled a straight party lever. I have voted for plenty of Democrats, but never one running for president. That means I supported Reagan, Bush, Dole, and Bush. In fact, in 2004, I was master of ceremonies for President George W. Bush's final Pennsylvania rally, an event held in a Bucks County cornfield in front of 20,000 people. My commentary on air and in writing has always made clear those views.

He has struggled to maintain his conservative roots this election cycle because of his loyalty to the GOP party.  Just this week, Obama was on his radio show which was covered nationally and in this article from the Philly Daily News in which he talked about his association with Ayers

In recent days, McCain and running mate Sarah Palin have been alluding to Obama's acquaintance with William Ayers, who as a young Weather Underground radical supported domestic bombings. In 1995, while running for state senate in Illinois, Obama was invited to a fund-raising party at Ayers' home. "Why go to his house to begin with?" Smerconish asked.

Obama explained that after law school, he moved to Chicago, and met Ayres, who was a college professor, while "working on a school reform project that was funded by an ambassador and former close friend of Ronald Reagan's."

"I was sitting on this board with a whole bunch of conservative businessmen and civic leaders, and he [Ayers] was one of the people who was on this board. And he lives in the same neighborhood. Ultimately I learned that he [Ayers] was involved in this reprehensible act 40 years ago, but I was 8 years old at the time. And I assumed he had been rehabilitated."

"I've strongly condemned his actions. The fact that Sen. McCain wants to makes this the centerpiece of his campaign is pretty remarkable," Obama said. "... Nobody is suggesting that in any way the actions that this radical group back in the '60s did was the right thing to do."

"This guy is not part of my inner circle. He doesn't advise my campaign. He's not going to advise me as president. This is a red herring."

and his views on the baseball playoffs...

Finally, Smerconish asked whether Obama favored the Phillies or the Dodgers.

The Phillies, Obama said, because his campaign manager is a huge Phillies fan - and because the Chicago teams have been eliminated.

so why did this conservative talk show host become an Obama convert, again from his September blog entry (sorry he hasn't put up a new one announcing his supportt for Obama yet)

I have never met Barack Obama but I think I have a good understanding of his background. It's a far cry from McCain's pedigree, but it is a similarly uniquely American story. I find the Internet lore spread about him to be despicable. The more untruths anonymous spammers spread about him, the more inclined I am to defend him. There are certainly aspects of his limited experience and his associations that are game for analysis and criticism, but he deserves a fair fight.

While some look at Obama and question his love of country, I see a man who is a great source of inspiration to many. I was in the audience for his speech on race in Philadelphia, and was part of the crowd at Invesco Field when he accepted the Democratic nomination for president. His popularity is an attribute not a liability. I too want a leader who is respected and admired at home and internationally, and yes, I am anxious to break the barriers that have heretofore prevented a woman or African American to serve as vice president or president.

Back in June, the final paragraph of a lengthy New York Times story had a quote from him that hangs with me. He said; "I love when I'm shaking hands on a rope line and"- he mimes the motion, hand over hand - "I see little old white ladies and big burly black guys and Latino girls and all their hands are entwining. They're feeding on each other as much as on me. It's like I'm just the excuse."

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I believe he can do a world of good by bringing people of diverse backgrounds together. There is a quality about him that I find genuine, and I think he is unquestionably of fine intellect.

disclaimer:here is another poster who heard this this morning as well (h/t to janmtairy in the comments)

Dem Underground

I also chacked with my friend again and he personally heard him say it and that there will be a Pro-Obama column in this weekend's Philly papers

Originally posted to Cronk on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 10:48 AM PDT.

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