COMING WEDNESDAY: The REAL reason Mitt Romney's run for the White House failed -- a reason he refuses to admit
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For the first time since I launched The 'Skeeter Bites Report in December 2005, I am publishing an endorsement of a candidate for public office -- something that I have never done publicly before.
But this is no ordinary public office: It's the highest public office in the land, the presidency of the United States of America. The nation's chief executive. The commander-in-chief of our country's armed forces. And the candidate I'm endorsing is no ordinary candidate.
It is with great enthusiasm, therefore, that I endorse Barack Obama to become the 44th president of the United States.
What can be said about Barack Obama that hasn't already been said in terms of his history-making impact? The junior U.S. senator from Illinois is the fifth African American to serve in that august body since the post-Civil War reconstruction period and the third to be popularly elected -- by the biggest landslide in recent Illinois history.
And, oh yes -- he's the author of two best-selling books, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope.
Now, four years after his election to the Senate, Obama -- the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas -- stands poised to make history again as the first African American with a real chance to be elected to the presidency.
During a visit to his father's Kenyan homeland in the summer of 2006, Obama was given a hero's welcome rivaling the late Roots author Alex Haley in Gambia 30 years earlier after his book became the most highly successful miniseries in television history.
But unlike Haley, Obama's visit reminded me more of another young U.S. senator who received a similar hero's welcome while visiting New York's Harlem -- America's unofficial black capital -- in 1968. His name was Robert F. Kennedy, whose campaign to succeed his assassinated brother John in the White House was tragically halted by bullets fired from the gun of Sirhan Sirhan.
As I watched the TV footage of Obama's visit to Kenya, I received a vision that was as crystal clear to me as those TV pictures: A vision of Obama taking the oath of office as president of the United States in the near future.
Nothing that has transpired in the 18 months since then has detracted from that vision. On the contrary, they are reinforcing it. In the Illinois Senate, in the U.S. Senate and so far on the presidential campaign trail, Barack Obama has demonstrated -- and is demonstrating -- an uncanny ability to work with and reach out to as broad a spectrum of people as possible to get things done.
Writing about Obama's political image in a March 2007 Washington Post opinion column, Eugene Robinson characterized him as "the personification of both-and," a messenger who rejects "either-or" political choices, and could "move the nation beyond the culture wars" of the 1960s.
I don't claim to be a psychic, but as I watched Obama's victory speech at the Iowa caucuses on January 3, I was overwhelmed with the sense that there was an other-worldly presence on the stage behind him. Three other-worldly presences, to be precise: The spirits of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And I could sense all three of them whispering into Obama's ear as he spoke, for the Illinois senator's address certainly had Kennedyesque and King-like echoes.
But the primary reason I'm endorsing Obama is an overriding one: We need a president who is willing to get us out of the quagmire in Iraq -- which has clearly become a Vietnam in the desert. In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy ran for the White House on a platform of ending the war in Vietnam. And I'm certain that had he not been gunned down, RFK and not Richard Nixon would have been our 37th president.