South Carolina Black Leaders Back Clinton Over Edwards

Tuesday, February 13th 2007, 3:25 pm
By: News On 6

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Two key black political leaders in South Carolina who backed John Edwards in 2004 said Tuesday they are supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

State Sens. Robert Ford and Darrell Jackson told The Associated Press they believe Clinton is the only Democrat who can win the presidency. Both said they had been courted by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama; Ford said Obama winning the primary would drag down the rest of the party.

``Then everybody else on the ballot is doomed,'' Ford said. ``Every Democratic candidate running on that ticket would lose because he's black and he's at the top of the ticket _ we'd lose the House, the Senate and the governors and everything.''

``I'm a gambling man. I love Obama,'' Ford said. ``But I'm not going to kill myself.''

Ford said he was swayed by calls from former President Clinton and Hillary Clinton. He said she has solid support in Charleston, one of the key regions in the state with a significant black Democratic voting population.

Jackson, who also is the minister of a large church in the state's capital city, said Edwards _ a South Carolina native who won the state's Democratic primary three years ago _ had his chance.

``I feel as if he's had his opportunity,'' Jackson said.

The endorsements come just days before Obama and Clinton campaign in the state for the first time as 2008 candidates.

Support from black voters is key in South Carolina, where 49 percent of the Democratic presidential primary vote came from blacks in 2004. The state will host the first Southern primaries for both the GOP and Democrats in 2008.

Clinton's campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said they were happy to have Ford and Jackson's support.

``We're grateful we're starting to get the support of some key leaders,'' Elleithee said.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Democratic presidential candidate Tom Vilsack offered a plan on Tuesday to wean the nation off fossil fuels and roll back greenhouse gas emissions to a fraction of current levels.

The former Iowa governor said he would force new power plants to emit no carbon dioxide _ one of the greenhouse gases blamed for rising earth temperatures _ by 2020. Vilsack would cap U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and create a credit-trading program to meet the cap.

``Energy security is the single most important issue facing America today,'' Vilsack said in remarks prepared for a speech Tuesday afternoon to the Commonwealth Club here. ``It affects us every minute of every day. It affects our health, our personal finances, our economy and our quality of life.''

Among his proposals was a 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gases produced by the United States by 2050, principally through a mandatory ``cap and trade'' program among businesses and other institutions.

President Bush made a similar pledge to cap carbon emissions in his 2000 campaign, but broke it in 2001. Bush continues to oppose mandatory emission caps, arguing that industry through development of new technologies can deal with the problem at less cost.