Sen. Bob Casey’s endorsement of Barack Obama is big for several reasons—he represents the battleground state of Pennsylvania, he appeals to working-class Dems, and he had said he would remain neutral in the race, making his decision to take sides a potential example for other fence-sitting superdelegates.
Casey says he endorsed Obama because he “can lead us, he can heal us, he can help rebuild America,” etc. etc.
But there’s also some back story there. Back in 1992, Casey’s father, Bob Sr., then governor of Pennsylvania, wasn’t allowed to speak at the Democratic Convention. The reason most commonly cited is that Casey didn’t endorse Clinton during his campaign. But more likely, as Kevin Drum argued awhile back, it had something to do with Casey Sr.’s desire to give a pro-life speech. Either way, the incident generated bad blood between the Clintons and the Caseys.
Friends tell the Times that had nothing to do with the decision to swing toward Obama. And given Casey’s previous statements that he would remain neutral, we’re inclined to believe them. Plus, Clinton campaigned for Casey during his 2006 race against Rick Santorum. (As did Obama.)
More likely, it was another generation of Caseys that influenced him. A “source” tells the Philadephia Inquirer
Casey’s decision was also personal, motivated in part by the enthusiasm his four daughters - Elyse, Caroline, Julia and Marena - have expressed for Obama, the source said. “He thinks we shouldn’t be deaf to the voices of the next generation.”
Makes you wonder if targeting young people is just as valuable for its trickle-up effect—kids influencing their parents—as for its direct impact on youth turnout.