Edwards to endorse Obama

May 14, 2008 2:18:25 PM PDT
ABC News' Kate Snow, Raelyn Johnson and Rick Klein Report: Former Sen. John Edwards is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama's presidential candidacy Wednesday evening, in a dramatic attempt by the Obama campaign to answer concerns regarding Obama's appeal to working-class voters, several senior Democratic sources tell ABC News.Edwards, who ran for president on a platform of eradicating poverty, plans to appear alongside Obama in Grand Rapids, Mich., Wednesday evening. The event comes one day after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton defeated Obama by 41 points in the West Virginia primary, and Edwards' endorsement will give Obama a key establishment stamp of approval as he attempts to close out the nominating process.

Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, have remained studiously neutral since the Edwards campaign came to a close Jan. 30. Edwards on Sunday called Obama "the likely nominee," but made clear that his statement reflected a judgment about the state of the race, not necessarily a personal preference.

The possibility of an Edwards endorsement has been the subject of intense speculation for months; only former vice president Al Gore's endorsement was more coveted by Obama and Clinton. Edwards and his wife had publicly praised Clinton's healthcare plan, but Edwards' anti-corporate message seemed a better fit for Obama's outsider campaign.

A source close to the Clinton campaign said the Edwards camp gave the Clinton folks a head's up.

"Clearly it's upsetting" the source tells ABC. "He brings the workers" to Obama.

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