McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

June 11, 2008

Obama endorsement? Not from this Oklahoma congressman

By James Beaty

U.S. District 2 Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, says he’s voting Democratic in the upcoming November election— but he’s not endorsing Barack Obama for president.

Boren remained an uncommitted superdelegate during the hard-fought race for the Demcoratic presidential nomination between Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“It’s a moot point now that Hillary is dropping out of the race,” Boren said.

Clinton carried Oklahoma during the Presidential Preferential Primary in Oklahoma last February.

Boren figures he may not be required to cast a superdelegate vote at all during the Demcoratic National Convention set for Aug. 25-28 in Denver.

“The nominee will be elected by acclamation,” Boren predicted. “I don’t think there wil be a role call. Oklahoma will cast all of its votes for the nominee.”

But if he has to cast a vote as a superdelegate, Boren said he will.

“There’s not a choice between two or three candidates,” he said.

Although he’s not endorsing Obama, Boren told the News-Capital he plans to cast a Democratic ballot in November.

“When I go into the voting booth, I’m voting Democratic, because we can’t afford to have a third Bush term,” Boren said, referring to the label some have given to a potential presidential administration of John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.

The Congressman said the country can’t afford to have another Republican presidential administration sitting on the sidelines while people are hurting.

“We can’t keep doing what we’re doing,” Boren said.

If he’s going to announce his intention to vote Democratic in the upcoming election, then why did Boren decide not to make an endorsement?

“I rarely endorse anyone from any office,” Boren said

“Our nominee is not someone who’s going to govern from the center,” Boren said of Obama.

“If you look at his record, he is the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate. That doesn’t reflect who I am. That doesn’t reflect Eastern Oklahoma.”

Does Boren also think McCain wouldn’t govern from the center? Nope. He cited a couple of examples.

“I don’t want to be in Iraq 100 years from now,” Boren said. “He’s on the sidelines on the housing foreclosure issue.”

Turning to the president, Boren likened George W. Bush to one of Bush’s predecessors in the White House — Herbert Hoover.

“He’s like Hoover,” Boren said, comparing Bush to the 31st president who’s often blamed for the Great Depression.

“He’s sitting on the sidelines while people are struggling,” Boren said. “We have people in Pittsburg County and surrounding counties who are hurting because of his policies.”

Boren is the only one of the state’s 10 superdelegates not to endorse a candidate.

Kalyn Free, the former Pittsburg County District Attorney who now heads INDN’s List, endorsed Obama, as did Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry.

Is Boren concerned about retaliation from the Democratic leadership in Washington because he’s declining to endorse Obama?

Boren said he’s not concerned.

“Whenever we have a new administration, they will need my vote,” Boren said. “I think we will get lots of attention no matter who’s elected.”

Boren said that’s because he’s considered a swing vote on a number of issues.

“I don’t vote straight down the line,” he said. “I’m never taken for granted.”