Obama Grabs Edwards Endorsement

(CBS)

From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. -- Barack Obama had a surprise for Michigan voters and for the press on his first full day of campaigning in the state. After months of keeping mum, John Edwards threw his support to Obama and unexpectedly appeared a rally here tonight. "The reason that I am here tonight is because the Democratic voters of America have made their choice and so have I," Edwards told a crowd of over 10,000. "There is one man who knows and understands that this is a time for bold leadership. There is one man that knows how to create the change, the lasting change that you have to build from the ground up. There is one man who knows in his heart that it is time to create one America, not two, and that man is Barack Obama."

Earlier today, the Obama campaign hinted that they had nabbed a major endorsement but they did not alert the press until an hour before the event began that it was Edwards. According to the Obama staff, Obama called Edwards last night to continue talks about a possible endorsement. Edwards agreed to endorse him and the two agreed on today's appearance here. Obama has been pursuing the endorsement for months; he flew to North Carolina in February for their first one on one meeting since Edwards withdrew from the race for the Democratic nomination.

In his introduction of Edwards, Obama said he felt guilty for not campaigning in Michigan earlier and promised the crowd something special. "I decided that on my first full day of campaigning in Michigan that I wouldn't be fooling around, that I wasn't just going to do the same old thing. But I decided that I was going to bring out one of the greatest leaders we have in the Democratic Party."

Both Edwards and Obama praised Hillary Clinton for her work and vowed to continue working with her in the party. "She is a woman who, in my judgment, is made of steel, and she's a leader in this country, not because of her husband, but because what she has done, because of speaking out, because of standing up," Edwards said.

Obama said the Democrats will take Washington by storm in November, with the help of Hillary Clinton.

"John Edwards and I believe in a different America, Hillary Clinton believes in a different America, the Democratic Party believes in a difference America," Obama said. "One America, where we rise and fall together as one people."