Kucinich Throws Support to Obama – Sort Of

Iowa Caucuses Dennis Kucinich has asked his supporters in Iowa to caucus for Barack Obama if (as expected) he himself is not viable after the first round of balloting.

Representative Dennis Kucinich urged his Iowa followers today to select Senator Barack Obama as their second choice at the caucuses on Thursday if his support is not strong enough to be viable in the 1,781 precincts across the state.

“Senator Obama and I have one thing in common: Change,” Mr. Kucinich said in a statement today.

The two spoke briefly by telephone before Mr. Obama flew here for an afternoon rally. In a statement, Mr. Obama took advantage of the opportunity to point out that he, along with Mr. Kucinich, opposed the war in Iraq. “He and I have been fighting for a number of the same priorities,” Mr. Obama said.

Four years ago, during his first presidential bid, Mr. Kucinich announced a similar second-choice partnership with John Edwards. At the time, aides to Mr. Edwards said it helped contribute to his second-place finish in the caucuses. This year, however, Mr. Kucinich has barely waged a campaign in Iowa. He has no paid organizers or offices in the state and he was not invited to participate in The Des Moines Register’s debate in December. Still, it is not uncommon to see faded Kucinich bumper stickers on cars at rallies for Democratic presidential candidates.

My guess is it won’t matter much. Still, it’s interesting that Kucinich is backing Obama rather than Edwards, especially given the history. To the extent Kucinich’s ideology is scrutable, it would appear to be a left populism and thus closer to Edwards that the pragmatist Obama.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.