That Kerry Endorsement

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The Washington Post sees former Democratic nominee John Kerry’s endorsement of Barack Obama as a setback for his 2004 running mate John Edwards. But a source close to Kerry tells me that the person who had been working hardest to get it was Hillary Clinton–to the point where her husband had personally lobbied Kerry’s brother Cam and his former brother-in-law David Thorne.

Kerry has never been particularly close to the Clintons. He thought they could have done far more to help him in 2004, and hasn’t forgotten that Hillary Clinton was one of the first to criticize him over what he called a “botched joke” about U.S. troops in Iraq in 2006. (This, of course, was when Kerry was still considered a contender to be running against Clinton in 2008.) It helped, too, that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is supporting Obama, and that much of Kerry’s fundraising network has already migrated to the Obama campaign.

What’s Kerry’s endorsement worth? The significance of these things with voters tend to be overplayed, and Kerry’s own performance in 2004 has devalued his stock with the Democratic Party. But it does lend some establishment cred to the Obama operation. And Kerry still has the remnants of an organization in the primary states, as well as an enormous e-mail list.