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The Meek Shall Inherit … Something

There was some confusion last week over whether Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) was set to endorse Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential bid. It turns out he’s not. [IMGCAP(1)]

The Clinton campaign planned a conference call Thursday and touted that a major Florida endorsement would be forthcoming. The call was canceled at the last minute, but The Miami Herald reported the expected endorsement was Meek, who would join Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) and Alcee Hastings (D) as Florida co-chairs of Clinton’s campaign. It would have been a coup for Clinton, considering it meant that Meek, like Hastings, was siding with her over fellow Congressional Black Caucus colleague Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

But by the next day, the Herald reported Meek was emphatically denying such an endorsement was about to take place.

Meek sent a letter to Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle on Friday, the Miami newspaper reported.

“I have not endorsed Sen. Clinton for

President. Therefore the Hillary for President Campaign is not authorized to use my name, image, or this incorrect news report in any of your campaign literature or promotional material,” Meek wrote, though he also told the newspaper that no correction was necessary.

Meek, who is viewed as a rising star in national and local Democratic politics, succeeded his mother in Congress. Former Rep. Carrie Meek (D-Fla.) has not endorsed a 2008 candidate but has given $1,000 to Obama’s campaign. Rep. Robert Wexler is currently the only Florida Democrat in Congress to line up behind Obama.

“We are continuing to reach out to Congressman Meek,” said Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee. “We’re in talks with him and we hope to have his support and earn his endorsement.”

Meanwhile, Florida Democrats decided over the weekend that they will move forward with their plan for holding a Jan. 29, 2008, primary despite the threatened sanctions and loss of delegates promised by national party leaders. Most recent polls have shown Clinton with a wide lead over other Democrats in the state, with Obama in second behind her.

— Lauren W. Whittington

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