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« Giuliani's Kerik Problem | Blog Home Page | Only In Iowa »

Clinton, Edwards Nab Endorsements

DES MOINES -- In the lead-up to tomorrow's Iowa Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Dinner, major candidates are rolling out endorsements as fast as possible. In a conference call with reporters today, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, long the subject of speculation as a potential vice presidential candidate, announced he would back Hillary Clinton, calling her an experienced candidate who gives Democrats their best shot at winning the presidency.

"I believe she is the strongest candidate our party could put forth," Strickland said, calling Clinton the "most effective carrier" of a message that carried him to victory in the crucial swing state in 2006. Strickland will attend the dinner tomorrow night with Clinton.

"The road to the White House goes through Ohio, and I'm going to be very proud to have Ted Strickland walking that road with me," Clinton said. "She can carry Ohio," Strickland maintained.

Asked whether she would consider Strickland as a potential number two, Clinton demurred, calling it "way premature to be talking about running mates." Strickland too declined to entertain speculation. "I am not presumptuous enough even to consider the vice presidency," he said. "You can just stop any thought of the vice presidency. I'm not interested."

John Edwards will also wade into the endorsement game today when he accepts the endorsement of the Caucus for Priorities at a hotel near the Des Moines airport. The group, an offshoot of the Priorities Action Fund, founded by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's, seeks to point out inequities in the federal budget, spotlighting Pentagon spending. "As Commander-in-Chief, he'll do whatever it takes to keep us safe," Cohen said in a statement. "But he'll also make sure Americans have health care, strong schools, and the opportunity to get ahead."

Caucus for Priorities claims 10,000 members in Iowa, and the group's yard signs, depicting a pie chart with the federal budget, are ubiquitous sights around Des Moines and the state. Their support comes the same day the Edwards campaign announced steering committees in the last of Iowa's 99 counties, making them the only campaign with official organizations in each county.

After the announcement, Edwards heads to Eastern Iowa for events before heading back toward Des Moines for tomorrow's dinner.