Obama wins support of former congressman

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Wednesday won the endorsement of Lee Hamilton, a former Indiana congressman who is a leading United States authority on foreign relations and national security.

The support of Hamilton, who co-chaired two blue-ribbon commissions that investigated the September 11 attacks and advised President George Bush on the war in Iraq, could boost the Illinois Senator in his May 6 Indiana primary contest against New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

Hamilton said Obama offers American voters the best chance to create a new sense of national unity and transcend division.

“He champions the politics of consensus, not of partisan division,” the longtime Democratic Party figure said in a statement. “He is driven by the search for the common good.”

Hamilton also backed Obama on foreign relations, an area where the White House hopeful has been criticised for inexperience.

“His foreign policy is pragmatic, visionary and tough,” said Hamilton, former Democratic chairman of the US House of Representatives committees on foreign affairs and intelligence.

“He will work with our friends and allies. He will strengthen our ability to use all tools of American power and relentlessly promote the American values of freedom and justice for all people.”

It was the latest key Democratic endorsement for Obama in his race against Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
The two face hard-fought primary election battles in both Indiana and Pennsylvania in the next several weeks.

Obama also has picked up other endorsements recently from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey.

Hamilton represented Indiana in the House from 1965 until 1999. He now is president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars. - Reuters

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