Earlier versions of this column incorrectly reported that former labor secretary Robert Reich has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president. Reich has not endorsed either candidate. This version has been corrected.
Not All of the Old Clinton Gang Is Backing Another Clinton
The painful endorsement switch Wednesday by John Lewis, the Democratic congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon, from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) reflects the difficulties some members of former president Bill Clinton's Cabinet have been going through as they decide between the candidates.
Of two dozen former Cabinet heads, about half appear to have contributed to, or campaigned for, Clinton, our colleague Julie Tate reports after a review of Federal Election Commission records through the end of January. That includes former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and, more important for the Texas primary on Tuesday, Henry Cisneros, the former secretary of housing and urban development and former mayor of San Antonio.
Another five have not contributed to either candidate. For example, former Treasury secretary and Harvard president Lawrence Summers, now a global economic commentator, is staying out of the battle. Ditto for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was U.N. ambassador and energy secretary for Bill Clinton.
Former agriculture secretary Mike Espy has given to both candidates.
Obama appears to have picked off at least three former Clinton department chiefs. Former transportation and energy secretary Federico Pe¿a has been campaigning for Obama, and former commerce secretary William Daley was an early contributor. Former Clinton commerce secretary Norman Y. Mineta-- and more recently a Bush transportation secretary -- though a big Clinton fan, came out for Obama this month and will campaign for him in Dallas on Saturday.
Former labor secretary Robert Reich has been writing anti-Clinton tracts and has sharply criticized Bill Clinton's campaign style but has not endorsed either candidate.
Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign quickly countered Lewis's defection, announcing the switch from Obama to Clinton of Veronica Escobar, one of El Paso County's four commissioners.
Deluged in Denver?
Obama -- doubtless soon to become better known as B. Hussein Obama -- keeps bragging about how he has generated vast new interest in politics, especially among the nation's callow youth. But folks in Denver are worried that he's gone too far.
So the Democratic National Convention's Host Committee has just issued a "volunteer update" warning a flood of would-be volunteers -- 25,000 people nationwide have already inquired -- that chauffeuring delegates or delivering them their brie sandwiches and Chablis will not get them onto the convention floor in late August.
Don't think a "volunteer position is a ticket, or a credential, to the Democratic Convention," the newsletter advised, adding that "very few volunteers will be stationed in and around" the convention center.
Hey. You could just watch on TV.
Must Be in the Mail
A watchdog group is trying to get the remaining presidential contenders to live up to what it is billing as the "Kerry precedent."