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Villaraigosa, Waters now support Obama

Shirley Hawkins | 6/11/2008, 5 p.m.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has remained a staunch supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton in her bid for the presidency, announced Friday on CNN that he is now throwing his support behind Barak Obama.
"I'm excited about Barak Obama," Villaraigosa told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "His clarion call for change touched a chord all across the nation, and I'm going to work as hard for him as I did for Hillary Clinton."
Despite indications that Latinos had voted heavily for Clinton in the primaries, Villaraigosa added that recent polls showed that Latino voters now heavily favor Obama over McCain.
"Here in California, we recognize just how important it is for us to invest in healthcare, to assure that working families and their children have a fair shake--that we're making education our priority," Villaraigosa said. "Those are issues...that are important in the Latino community, in California overall, and I think across the country. And that's why you're going to see a groundswell of support for Sen. Obama."
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, also a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton, announced last Tuesday that she is switching her support to Obama.
In early February, Waters said she had endorsed Clinton over Obama because "It's clear there are two different campaigns, one is about hope and inspiration and the other is a campaign about concrete proposals and solving problems--and I think Senator Clinton's experience emerged very clearly."
According to observers, Waters had been under tremendous pressure from other African American leaders to switch to Obama.
"It is now time to close ranks and time for all remaining delegates to put their support behind the presumptive nominee, Senator Obama. He has run an effective campaign and has overcome many obstacles to create an energy that has brought many new Democrats into the party," Waters also said. "Together, both of these candidates have generated an unprecedented involvement in Democratic Party politics. This is something that all Democrats can be proud of.
"Today, I salute Hillary Clinton for her strength and perseverence, and I embrace Barak Obama for his courage and consistency. It is my hope that Democrats can bring our nomination process to a close and come together to win the White House in November," Waters stated.