Presidential Candidates Look For Endorsements, Support

This story was written by Matt Spialek, The Daily Vidette
With the Iowa caucuses rapidly approaching, 2008 presidential candidates are vying for as many endorsements as they can get.

This past week, Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, endorsed front-runner Rudy Giuliani, while former Republican contender Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback threw his support to Sen. John McCain.

"In the primaries, the endorsement of Giuliani by Pat Robertson will have an effect of giving the Giuliani campaign more legitimacy in the conservative circles that found his social stances on abortion and same-sex marriages as too liberal," said Tom Ponce, a senior history major at Illinois State University and communication director for ISU Independent Voters.

"That would win Giuliani a little bit more favoritism with social conservatives," said Stephanie Gradle, a junior politics and government major, and president of ISU College Republicans.

However, Giuliani is not the only Republican candidate that received support this week. Brownback's endorsement for McCain could potentially help the senator, who has struggled to garner as much support as he received in the 2000 election.

"One of the biggest downfalls for the McCain campaign is the lack of financial stability," Gradle said.

Gradle speculated that an endorsement for McCain could lead to more supporters and potentially more funds for the candidate.

Some wonder why Brownback would rally behind a candidate who has had lackluster poll numbers.

Katie Boundy, junior biology major and vice president for College Democrats, explained that Brownback may have endorsed McCain because the Arizona senator is unlike many other conservatives.

"[McCain] brings unique views to the table," Boundy added.

According to Ponce, Brownback's time in the Senate with McCain may have been another reason for the endorsement.

Although Giuliani and McCain both received support from big-name conservatives this week, Mitt Romney was not mentioned.

Ponce believed one week without endorsements would not hurt the former Massachusetts governor.

"He's still polling very well, extremely well organized in early primary states, and the money is still rolling in," Ponce said.

However, some are skeptical of how socially conservative Romney is, considering he missed out on very prominent endorsements.

While Romney prides himself on being socially conservative, his record has not always reflected that ideology.

"As Governor of Massachusetts, he supported some benefits for same-sex couples, supported the assault-weapons ban and has supported other initiatives in his time as governor of a progressive state that may have endeared him to his constituents. [These issues] may cause a lack of conservative support for him now," Ponce said.

While the Christian Coalition has played a large role in elections in previous years, Gradle and Boundy said its affect on voting will vary.

"Some people put Christian and Republican together, but that is not always true," Gradle said.

Boundy added, "It depends year to year. In 2000, a major issue, gay marriage, was a social one, and that helped Bush. ... In 2008, the biggest issues are not social issues. They are Iraq and health care."
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