Dick Gephardt Endorses Hillary Clinton

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The Clinton campaign has scheduled a 1 p.m. conference call to announce that she has picked up the endorsement of former House Democratic Leader (and presidential candidate) Dick Gephardt. (Raw Story had the news first.)

What’s the significance? Gephardt has made it clear almost from the moment that his own presidential campaign foundered in 2004 that he would be with Clinton this time. And he brings more than his endorsement. Last winter, a former Gephardt aide says, Gephardt turned over his presidential e-mail list to the Clinton campaign. Key staffers from his St. Louis operation–including Joyce Aboussie–have been lending their muscle to the Clinton campaign almost from the outset.

One thing that could be important is the credibility that Gephardt has with labor. While John Edwards is thought to have all but a lock with the endorsements of big unions like the Teamsters and Change to Win, Gephardt’s name carries a lot of weight with the rank and file. He also could be an asset in Iowa, a state he won in 1988 and one where he still evokes good feelings, particularly with voters old enough to remember his 1988 race and with union members.

UPDATE: Ezra Klein looks at the potential political downside. Thanks to commenter A Little Knowledge for calling that post to our attention.