Congressman Dave Loebsack, in a telephone interview this morning, said that until recently he wasn’t sure if he would be endorsing any of the presidential candidates.
“Like many Iowans, if not most Iowans who are involved in this process, I take [this decision] very seriously,” he said. “Of course, I’ve been very involved in doing my job as Congressman for the Second District. I wasn’t sure that I was going to endorse, let alone endorse Barack Obama. After thinking about this for a fair amount of time and very seriously, I just decided that I was going to come out for him and do it before the caucuses.”
Rather than basing his endorsement on a single issue or group of issues, Loebsack, who supported former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in 2004, said he considered the candidates as a total package.
“I’m not so concerned about issues as I am as what I see as Barack Obama’s ability to lead this country forward,” he said. “Whatever issue may be on the table, I think Barack Obama is the most qualified to bridge the partisan divide that’s been out there in America and intensified by Pres. [George W.] Bush.
“I’m not going to agree with any candidate on every issue. In many ways, that’s not the point for me. The point is to have a leader that wants to move us in the direction that you and I and, I think, the vast majority of the American people want to see us. He is concerned about the very same things I am, whether it is health care, good jobs or good wages, restoring America’s reputation around the world and, therefore, our effectiveness. The intricacies of how we get there are less important to me than the fact that I think he will be the best person to lead us in that direction.”
Loeback, who campaigned in 2006 on an anti-war and domestic revitalization platform, has met some critics within Iowa’s peace community in terms of the inability of Congress to end the conflict in Iraq. When asked if that factored into his endorsement of Obama, who has campaigned as one of the few candidates who was against the war from the beginning, Loebsack said he believes all of the Democratic candidates will take the necessary steps to end the war.
“All the folks who are running for this office on the Democratic side want us to end the war Iraq and they want us to end our involvement in Iraq sooner rather than later,” he said. “In that sense, I think whomever the Democratic nominee is, that person is going to be far better than the Republican nominee.”
Loebsack is currently serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the House Education and Labor Committee and the Armed Services Committee.
“I’m honored to have Congressman Loebsack’s endorsement,” Obama said in a prepared statement. “Dave has been fighting tirelessly to change the same old partisan, divisive politics in Washington that’s blocked progress for the people of the Second District. And by working at the grassroots level, he’s helped build a real movement for change in Iowa.”
Three of Iowa’s Congressmen have now endorsed presidential candidates. Rep. Bruce Braley, who represents Iowa’s First District, was the first to announce support of a presidential candidate, and he chose former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. Last week, Rep. Leonard Boswell, who represents the Third District, endorsed New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Iowa’s Fifth District Republican representative, Steve King, is expected to make an endorsement announcement later today. There is no word yet if Rep. Tom Latham, a Republican who represents Iowa’s Fourth District, will endorse in the race for president.