Fmr DNC Chair Romer Backs Obama

By Michael Elmore

May 13, 2008 10:45am

ABC News’ Teddy Davis, Sunlen Miller, and Mike Elmore Report: Roy Romer, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former governor of Colorado, said Tuesday that he is supporting Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for president. In announcing his decision, Romer urged other superdelegates to do the same, saying that "it’s important" for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., "to know where we are so she is not misled."

"My reasons are that the party needs to get on right now with a lot of business, including figuring out what to do with Michigan and Florida," Romer told ABC News. "It’s important to make known right now not only my vote but as many superdelegates as possible."

Romer said his support for Obama is based on the delegate math as well as Obama’s strength in the interior Mountain West: the Illinois Democrat carried Colorado over Clinton by a two-to-one margin: Obama 67%, Clinton 32%.

After previewing his announcement with ABC News, Romer joined Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on a conference call with reporters.

Romer elaborated on his delegate math rationale saying, ‘This race, I believe is over. Sen. Obama has accumulated a lead in delegates chosen by primaries, caucuses and superdelegates that cannot be overcome. “

Plouffe used the endorsement by the former Colorado governor to underscore Obama’s determination to win the Centennial State in November.

“We believe Colorado, a state Gov. Romer knows as well as anybody, is going to be not just a  Battleground State, but a state we can win and put in the Obama column in November," said Plouffe.

Romer had been previously reluctant to discuss his support for a presidential candidate because he is leading Ed in ’08, a non-partisan effort to make education reform a centerpiece of the 2008 campaign.

Asked if announcing his support for Obama conflicted with his Ed in ’08 role, Romer pointed to the Republican affiliation of the group’s executive director.

"My partner here, Marc Lampkin is a Bush Republican, a McCain Republican, so we are still one Democrat and one Republican who will be working even handedly," Romer told ABC News.

Asked to weigh in on Obama’s support for performance-based pay for individual teachers (one area of education policy which differentiates the Illinois senator from Clinton), Romer said, "I think he’s got a very responsible position in that area."

"My role is to do educational advocacy," explained Romer, "yet, I’m a citizen who votes and I have to fulfill my obligation to my party."

By making his announcement, Romer may have enhanced his clout in an Obama White House. Plouffe said the Obama campaign will seek the counsel and advice of Romer on education issues.

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