Civil RIghts Icon Lewis Switches from Hillary to Obama?

Rick Moran
There is considerable confusion this morning as to whether or not civil rights icon Representative  John Lewis (D-GA), an influential congressman and Super Delegate who was supporting Hillary Clinton, has switched sides and now supports Barack Obama.

Several news outlets - including AP and The New York Times - are reporting that Lewis made the switch in an interview last night:

“In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit,” said Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who endorsed Mrs. Clinton last fall. “Something is happening in America, and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap.”

Mr. Lewis, who carries great influence among other members of Congress, disclosed his decision in an interview in which he said that as a superdelegate he could “never, ever do anything to reverse the action” of the voters of his district, who overwhelmingly supported Mr. Obama.

“I’ve been very impressed with the campaign of Senator Obama,” Mr. Lewis said. “He’s getting better and better every single day.”

His comments came as fresh signs emerged that Mrs. Clinton’s support was beginning to erode from some other African-American lawmakers who also serve as superdelegates. Representative David Scott of Georgia, who was among the first to defect, said he, too, would not go against the will of voters in his district.
But late last night, a spokesperson for Lewis denied the Congressman had made up his mind about switching his support to Obama:
Confusion erupted Thursday night amid reports that a prominent African American supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's had changed his mind.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who is also a Democratic superdelegate, was reported by the New York Times as having decided to switch his superdelegate vote from Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama after Lewis's district, around Atlanta, went for the Illinois senator.

But the Clinton campaign reported having no word from Lewis on the subject, and a spokeswoman for Lewis, Brenda Jones, said the Times story and a similar one by the Associated Press, saying he was contemplating such a switch, were inaccurate. Both the Times and AP stories quoted Lewis directly after speaking with him; he was not available for comment later Thursday.

The Obama campaign also said that Lewis and Obama had not talked recently about a change of heart. "It is plain there is a lot of enthusiasm for Barack Obama," Jones said. But, she said, "those things are observations," not statements of preference.

She said Lewis has left the option of changing his superdelegate support for Clinton on the table, but made no decisions. Still, it is clear that Lewis has had misgivings about the Clinton campaign in recent weeks, especially after the racially charged campaign in South Carolina, during which former Pres. Bill Clinton was perceived to have made racially insensitive comments.
Unless AP and the New York Times are misquoting Lewis, something strange is happening.

It could be staff miscommunication. More likely, Lewis himself got caught up in the moment and went farther and faster than he intended, seeking now to backtrack a bit to leave himself soom manuevering room.

The point is that if John Lewis is thinking of abandoning the Clinton campaign, Hillary is in real trouble. It is very doubtful at this point that she will be able to overcome Obama's lead in pledged delegates. Her candidacy will be made or broken as a result of which way the Super Delegates jump. And with 400 of them still undecided, a prominent defection from such an important source as Lewis could tip the balance in Obama's favor.

Expect these kinds of stories to become much more numerous if Hillary loses Wisconsin next Tuesday.
There is considerable confusion this morning as to whether or not civil rights icon Representative  John Lewis (D-GA), an influential congressman and Super Delegate who was supporting Hillary Clinton, has switched sides and now supports Barack Obama.

Several news outlets - including AP and The New York Times - are reporting that Lewis made the switch in an interview last night:

“In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit,” said Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who endorsed Mrs. Clinton last fall. “Something is happening in America, and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap.”

Mr. Lewis, who carries great influence among other members of Congress, disclosed his decision in an interview in which he said that as a superdelegate he could “never, ever do anything to reverse the action” of the voters of his district, who overwhelmingly supported Mr. Obama.

“I’ve been very impressed with the campaign of Senator Obama,” Mr. Lewis said. “He’s getting better and better every single day.”

His comments came as fresh signs emerged that Mrs. Clinton’s support was beginning to erode from some other African-American lawmakers who also serve as superdelegates. Representative David Scott of Georgia, who was among the first to defect, said he, too, would not go against the will of voters in his district.
But late last night, a spokesperson for Lewis denied the Congressman had made up his mind about switching his support to Obama:
Confusion erupted Thursday night amid reports that a prominent African American supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's had changed his mind.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who is also a Democratic superdelegate, was reported by the New York Times as having decided to switch his superdelegate vote from Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama after Lewis's district, around Atlanta, went for the Illinois senator.

But the Clinton campaign reported having no word from Lewis on the subject, and a spokeswoman for Lewis, Brenda Jones, said the Times story and a similar one by the Associated Press, saying he was contemplating such a switch, were inaccurate. Both the Times and AP stories quoted Lewis directly after speaking with him; he was not available for comment later Thursday.

The Obama campaign also said that Lewis and Obama had not talked recently about a change of heart. "It is plain there is a lot of enthusiasm for Barack Obama," Jones said. But, she said, "those things are observations," not statements of preference.

She said Lewis has left the option of changing his superdelegate support for Clinton on the table, but made no decisions. Still, it is clear that Lewis has had misgivings about the Clinton campaign in recent weeks, especially after the racially charged campaign in South Carolina, during which former Pres. Bill Clinton was perceived to have made racially insensitive comments.
Unless AP and the New York Times are misquoting Lewis, something strange is happening.

It could be staff miscommunication. More likely, Lewis himself got caught up in the moment and went farther and faster than he intended, seeking now to backtrack a bit to leave himself soom manuevering room.

The point is that if John Lewis is thinking of abandoning the Clinton campaign, Hillary is in real trouble. It is very doubtful at this point that she will be able to overcome Obama's lead in pledged delegates. Her candidacy will be made or broken as a result of which way the Super Delegates jump. And with 400 of them still undecided, a prominent defection from such an important source as Lewis could tip the balance in Obama's favor.

Expect these kinds of stories to become much more numerous if Hillary loses Wisconsin next Tuesday.