Kucinich: Backers should support Obama as second choice

DES MOINES – Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) told his supporters to caucus for Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal 3 ways government can help clean up Twitter MORE (D-Ill.) if the  congressman does not reach viability in the country’s first contest Thursday night.

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For Iowa Democrats, a candidate is only viable if at least 15 percent of caucus attendees favor that candidate. If that fails to happen, which is likely in Kucinich’s case, the congressman said his supporters should then move to back Obama.

“I hope Iowans will caucus for me as their first choice this Thursday, because of my singular positions on the war, on health care, and trade,” Kucinich said in a statement. “This is an opportunity for people to stand up for themselves. But in those caucus locations where my support doesn’t reach the necessary threshold, I strongly encourage all of my supporters to make Barack Obama their second choice. Sen. Obama and I have one thing in common: Change.”

Kucinich said the move is “obviously an ‘Iowa-only’ recommendation,” as the two men will be competing again in New Hampshire immediately after the caucuses.

Obama said in a statement that he is grateful for Kucinich’s suggestion that he be the second choice of Kucinich supporters.

“I have a lot of respect for Congressman Kucinich, and I’m honored that he has done this because we both believe deeply in the need for fundamental change,” Obama said. “He and I have been fighting for a number of the same priorities -- including an end to the war in Iraq that we both opposed from the start, reforming Washington and creating a better life for America’s working families. I encourage all Iowans to take part in the caucuses this Thursday – not because it will be good for any one candidate, but because it will be good for our party and the future of our country.”

The latest poll from The Des Moines Register shows Obama widening his lead in Iowa over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.).