Tom Hanks to support Obama

NEW YORK Hanks has taken to his page to pledge his support for Obama, who is competing to be the first black president. Obama, who faces rival Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination, has also been endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen and Scarlett Johansson.

"As an official celebrity, I know my endorsement has just made your mind up for you," the 51-year-old actor says in a short video titled, "Beware: Celebrity Endorsement."

"History with a capital 'H' is going to be made this November, no matter who the president-elect is. I want Barack Obama to be president of this country, a country that once said people with his skin color were only three-fifths of a human being."

Hanks, who won Oscars for his roles in "Forrest Gump" and "Philadelphia," explains his decision: "It's because of his character and vision, and the high road he has taken during this campaign. He has the integrity and the inspiration to unify us, as did FDR and Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy and even Ronald Reagan when they ran for the job."

The actor says Obama and Clinton have each "pretended to eat cheese-steak sandwiches and go bowling," ''committed gaffes" and distanced themselves from supporters who could damage their campaigns.

But Hanks thinks an Obama presidency could bring about a "seismic shift," and "live up to the great promise once shaped by our founding fathers."

Signing off, the star says: "I'm Tom Hanks, I wrote and approved this message, and I'm now going to turn off the camera."

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