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Endorsement Wars Continue

They may not have carried the symbolic weight of multiple Kennedys endorsing Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) for president on Monday, but both Obama and his chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), continued rolling out hefty endorsements today.

Clinton won the backing of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), while Obama will be endorsed, as expected, by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D).

Waters is one of the few members of the California Congressional delegation who controls a political machine, so her backing of Clinton could have particular significance in the black communities of Los Angeles.

While praising the other Democratic candidates in the White House race, Waters called Clinton a proven problem-solver who “is on a first-name basis with community leaders in our urban centers.”

Two other Los Angeles-area black Members, Reps. Laura Richardson (D) and Diane Watson (D), also are supporting Clinton, while the sole San Francisco-area black Member, Rep. Barbara Lee (D), is with Obama. Recent polls have shown Clinton with a solid lead over Obama in delegate-rich California.

But while several big states are holding presidential primaries on Feb. 5, including California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois, Obama is hoping to to rack up delegates in some of the smaller, more traditionally Republican states. That’s where Sebelius’ endorsement could come in handy.

The governor, who delivered the Democrats’ response to President Bush’s State of the Union address Monday night, and Obama were scheduled to appear together this afternoon in El Dorado, Kan., hometown of Obama’s maternal grandfather.

— Josh Kurtz

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