This story was written by Colin Kavanaugh, Daily Pennsylvanian
Last night, the Penn Democrats endorsed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for president, despite debate about whether to endorse a candidate at all.
The endorsement required a two-thirds majority to pass.
Following the vote, College sophomore Mukul Sharma, Penn Dems vice president, said the group will do "whatever it can" for Obama and wants to host a visit for either the senator or his surrogates before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary.
The Penn Dems will help organize events, walk door-to-door in the Philadelphia area and call registered voters on behalf of Obama's campaign.
The group endorsed in both the 2006 and 2007 elections, promoting Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) and Mayor Michael Nutter, respectively.
Since Feb. 25, when the Penn Dems decided to endorse a candidate, the organization has contacted the campaigns of Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, with both expressing a desire to work with the group, regardless of which candidate the Penn Dems endorsed, Sharma said.
Despite the endorsement, the group promoted Chelsea Clinton's visit to campus yesterday and will continue to assist in visits from both campaigns.
During the meeting, statements were read from both Penn for Obama and Penn for Hillary, followed by an open debate on the candidates' positions.
However, debate at the meeting was mostly focused on whether an endorsement would deter the losing candidate from coming to campus.
Wharton junior and Clinton supporter Linda Cheung said the group "should at least try" to endorse a candidate.
But Penn for Hillary spokesman and College freshman Patrick Bauer expressed frustration at the decision, saying it was "premature for the Penn Dems to make an endorsement."
He said the group was "disappointed" that both candidates would not be allowed to "make their cases directly" before voting took place.
Cheung said many group leaders encouraged students to "put personal views aside" to reach the two-thirds majority.
Yesterday's meeting was held in the wake of critical contests Tuesday in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont. Clinton won three of the four primaries.
Sharma and Penn Dems President Lauren Burdette, a College sophomore, delayed the meeting until yesterday to allow members "to see all relevant information" before voting.
© 2008 Daily Pennsylvanian via U-WIRE