One of the driving forces behind John Edwards’ surprise second place finish in Iowa in 2004 was the deal he struck with Dennis Kucinich to throw each other’s support to one another if either failed to reach the 15% viability threshold in a given precinct. Given as Kucinich met that threshold in very, very few precincts, this in effect padded Edwards’ numbers such that he was viable in precincts he otherwise wouldn’t have been, and padded his numbers in precincts where he already was viable.
One of the main architects of that deal was David Axelrod, Edwards’ campaign manager. Axelrod, of course, is now the chief strategist for the Obama campaign. This led me to wonder over the course of the campaign whether Axelrod would be able to get Obama a similar deal.
Well, now he has. Kucinich has announced that he is telling his Iowa supporters to move their support to Obama if he isn’t viable. From his press release:
“I hope Iowans will caucus for me as their first choice this Thursday, because of my singular positions on the war, on health care, and trade. This is an opportunity for people to stand up for themselves. But in those caucus locations where my support doesn’t reach the necessary threshold, I strongly encourage all of my supporters to make Barack Obama their second choice. Sen. Obama and I have one thing in common: Change.”
Here‘s Obama’s comment:
I have a lot of respect for Congressman Kucinich, and I’m honored that he has done this, because we both believe deeply in the need for fundamental change. He and I have been fighting for a number of the same priorities — including an end to the war in Iraq that we both opposed from the start, reforming Washington and creating a better life for America’s working families.
Regular readers know that I’m not such a big fan of the K-man. But I have nothing but love for him today.