A key Jewish fund-raiser for Barack Obama prodded U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy to endorse the presidential hopeful.
Alan Solomont, a prominent Jewish philanthropist and fund-raiser for Democratic candidates, was among the Massachusetts Obama supporters who approached Kennedy (D-Mass.) about endorsing the Illinois senator.
The endorsement from Kennedy, who announced his support for Obama, Monday at a joint appearance in Washington, is expected to lend crucial momentum to the Obama campaign heading into the Super Tuesday primaries on Feb. 5.
“He understands the difference a transformational leader can make because he saw it in his own brother,” Solomont said of Kennedy, “and I think that this took a lot of courage on his part. But Senator Kennedy is among the most courageous political figures I’ve ever met, and the significance of his endorsement is huge.”
Steve Grossman, a Massachusetts-based backer of Hillary Clinton, friend of the Kennedys and a former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, downplayed the significance of the endorsement.
Grossman, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, reportedly said: “The people of this state are going to make up their minds based on record of achievement and ability of candidates.”