Pretty big news here, and points to three things: 1) more momentum for Obama, 2) he has effectively moved past the Wright controversy and 3) he just picked up another superdelegate.


Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey plans to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president today in Pittsburgh, sending a message both to the state’s primary voters and to undecided superdelegates who might decide the close race for the Democratic presidential nomination. […]

The endorsement comes as something of a surprise. Casey, a deliberative and cautious politician, had been adamant about remaining neutral until after the April 22 primary. He had said he wanted to help unify the party after the intensifying fight between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. […]

By coming out for Obama, Casey puts himself at odds with many top state Democrats – including Gov. Rendell, Rep. John P. Murtha and Mayor Nutter – who are campaigning for Clinton.

The endorsement also comes at a crucial time for Obama, who has been trailing Clinton in Pennsylvania polls by double-digit margins but who also has bought at least $1.6 million worth of television advertising statewide in the last week, more than double Clinton’s expenditure.

Obama strategists hope that Casey can help their candidate make inroads with the white working-class men who are often referred to as “Casey Democrats.” This group identifies with the brand of politics Casey and his late father, a former governor, practiced – liberal on economic issues but supportive of gun rights and opposed to abortion. (Obama favors some gun-control measures and backs abortion rights.)

However, Clinton is still very heavily favored in PA, so we’ll see how much this endorsement actually helps. Because if Ted Kennedy and John Kerry couldn’t help in Massachusetts, I seriously wonder what Casey is going to be able to do in the Keystone State.

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