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Barack Obama gets former Rep. Lee Hamilton's endorsement

April 1, 2008 |  5:37 pm

In what could prove both a significant addition to his foreign policy credentials and a boost for the close Indiana primary, Ex-Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, former head of the 9/11 commission and Iraq Study Group, endorses Illinois Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination in advance of the party's May 6 primary thereSen. Barack Obama of Illinois this afternoon scored the endorsement of former Rep. Lee Hamilton, one of the Democratic Party's leading foreign affairs experts.

Hamilton, a 35-year House member from Indiana, which holds its presidential primary May 6, chaired the Committee on Foreign Affairs and co-chaired both the 9/11 commission and the Iraq Study Group.

“I read his national security and foreign policy speeches," Hamilton told Bloomberg News today, "and he comes across to me as pragmatic, visionary and tough.  He impresses me as a person who wants to use all the tools of presidential power.”

The backing of Hamilton, who was said to be on the list of possible vice presidential partners for Bill Clinton in 1992, could help Obama, who's been criticized for his foreign policy inexperience.

Both his Democratic presidential competitor, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, and the Republicans' presumptive nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who has many years of foreign policy experience, have attacked some Obama foreign policy statements.

Hamilton said he particularly agreed with Obama's stand on meeting with adversarial foreign leaders without preconditions and on Obama favoring possible unilateral military action against terrorist hideouts, although in the case of Pakistan that would be attacking a staunch ally.

-- Andrew Malcolm