Arne Carlson Picks Obama

From the Star Tribune:

Former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama today, saying Obama represented the best hope for an America facing an economic crisis and criticizing Republicans for waging a mean-spirited campaign that has “been going down all these side roads.”

Introduced to a standing ovation at the State Capitol by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, Carlson said his party had strayed from the moderate philosophies of past Republican leaders such as Ohio Sen. Robert Taft and President Dwight Eisenhower. “I consider myself a Republican maverick,” Carlson said in explaining his endorsement of Obama.

“I think we have in Barack Obama the clear possibility of a truly great president,” he said. “I would contend that it’s the most important election of my lifetime.”

Carlson also took aim at Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, saying that her controversial remarks of the past week, suggesting Obama may have anti-American views, had led him to endorse the Democratic nominee. After hearing Bachmann’s comments, Carlson said he telephoned former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Minnesota Democrat, to tell him of his plan.

At one point, Carlson compared Bachmann’s statements to the tactics of Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator during the 1950s who helped define an era when the patriotism of many Americans was publicly questioned.

“I don’t want Minnesota to continue to be seen in the national picture as some sort of a land that has these rather strange views — we don’t,” he said.

The former governor said Obama’s policies on the Iraq war, economic issues facing the middle class and alternative energy solutions meshed with his own views. “I think the disappointing part of the McCain campaign has been its inability to develop a national vision,” he said.

Arne Carlson served as the 37th Governor of the state of Minnesota, from the years 1991-1999. He was a member of the Republican party and considered himself a Progressive Republican. He was well liked during his term as Governor, and his endorsement means a lot in the Minnesota government scene.