So it looks like Ted Kennedy will endorse Obama in Washington tomorrow, and Obama will head to Kansas the day after to pick up Kathleen Sebelius’ support. I like the timing of these things; Clinton’s been pretty shamelessly promoting the meaningless beauty contest in Florida and trying to change the rules in midstream so that it counts, and it’ll be nice to see the results there having to compete with Kennedy and Sebelius’ support. Moreover, Sebelius is delivering the Democratic response to the State of the Union Monday night, and so she’ll be in the news already, adding weight to her endorsement.
Both these endorsements are of national importance, given as Kennedy’s a party elder and Sebelius is a likely choice for VP (Obama said so himself when I asked in August). But Massachusetts and Kansas are both February 5th states, so they have regional importance as well. Kansas is a caucus state, a neighbor to Illinois, and a place where Obama has roots (rumor has it he’ll be appearing in his grandmother’s hometown there Tuesday), so I think Chris Bowers is right in dubbing it a “state where Obama probably leads”. Massachusetts, however, is a primary, and a closed one at that; in the two post-Iowa polls, Clinton leads by an average margin of 24.5%. But Obama has the support of both U.S. Senators and the Governor, the three most important statewide elected officials. Massachusetts will be a good test of the importance of endorsements; if Obama can win it, or even make it close, I think that shows their importance is quite real. If I were him, I’d be sending Kerry, Kennedy, and Patrick around the state for the next nine days, non-stop. It’ll do more good that sending them around the country.
P.S. Hillary is pushing her endorsement from Katherine Kennedy Townsend. I’m reminded of an anonymous Obama staffer’s comment on the Clintons sending Chelsea out during the Oprah events: “It’s kind of like bringing a knife to a bazooka fight.” That’s still my favorite quote of the primary, by far.