Democrats React to Des Moines Register Endorsement

From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

DES MOINES, IOWA -- After weeks of bad press and criticisms of a campaign gone awry, the Hillary Clinton campaign scored a victory late Saturday night when the influential Des Moines Register newspaper endorsed Clinton.

Although it sounds like great news, it's not always the best indicator of who will win the Iowa caucuses. In fact, no Democratic candidate who's been endorsed by the newspaper, in the 20 years they have been endorsing candidates, has ever gone on to win Iowa.

Regardless, the campaign is "extremely pleased," said Clinton senior campaign spokesperson Mo Elleithee.

"Between the Register endorsement, Congressman [Leonard] Boswell's [D-Iowa] endorsement and her strong [Des Moines Register] debate performance, we feel great going into our 99-county blitz and the final few weeks." Elleithee is referring to a helicopter tour announced by the campaign a few days ago where Clinton and her surrogates plan to fan out over the state of Iowa. It's being dubbed the "Hill-a-copter" tour.

Despite the endorsement, the Clinton campaign was quick to stay on the defensive saying "this is a very tight race and we have a lot of work still to do."

Obama's communications director Robert Gibbs said that he personally told Obama about the endorsement. The Senator was not surprised. Gibbs added that Clinton is an establishment candidate who does well with editorial boards.

Meantime, John Edwards, who won the paper's endorsement before the 2004 caucuses said he "congratulates" Mrs. Clinton.

"Congratulations to Senator Clinton. I had the endorsement four years ago. I think it's one of the things that caucus-goers will consider," Edwards said at a press availability following an event in Mason City, Iowa.

"It's a great thing for her but at least in the last couple of elections what it seems to have guaranteed is a second place finish in the caucuses," added Edwards.

"So we'll have to do everything in my power to see whether that happens this time."

CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic and Aaron Lewis contributed to this report.