Kerry snubs Edwards by backing Obama

John Kerry, the senator who ran against George Bush in 2004, endorsed Barack Obama yesterday in a slap in the face to Hillary Clinton and to John Edwards, his vice-presidential running mate in 2004.

”Martin Luther King Jr said the time is always right to do what is right,” Kerry told a rally in South Carolina. ”This is the right time to share with you … that Barack Obama can be, will be, and should be the next president of the United States.

”I believe more than anyone else Barack Obama can help our country turn the page and get America moving by uniting and ending the division we have faced.”

Edwards said in a statement that he respected Kerry’s decision.

While Kerry was close to Bill Clinton, he fell out with Hillary last year after she criticised him for telling students that they should study hard or they might end up in Iraq. The gaffe forced him to abandon his bid to seek the Democratic nomination.

The Democratic race also narrowed as Bill Richardson dropped his campaign for the nomination after coming fourth in Iowa and New Hampshire. ”It’s been an exhilarating and humbling year,” he told supporters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday.

Richardson (60) took 2% in Iowa and less than 5% in New Hampshire. He still harbours ambitions of becoming vice-president and hopes he will be the running mate of the eventual Democratic winner, almost certainly Clinton or Obama.

There are increasing signs that the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is considering a run as an independent, despite repeated denials. He is spending millions on polling to gauge his chances. Bloomberg’s entry would complicate the contest, taking votes from Democratic and Republican candidates. A former Bloomberg political strategist, Douglas Schoen, told Associated Press that Bloomberg had hired research companies to create a database which would be used to target campaign messages if he joined the race. – Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008

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