Can Barack Obama collar the Blue Dogs’ vote?
Barack Obama’s White House bid could depend on guys like Allen Boyd.
To be sure, this 63-year-old white, Florida farmer is not the protoypical supporter of the drive by the 46-year-old liberal to become the first black U.S. president.
But Boyd, who also happens to be a Democratic congressman, seems to be edging in Obama’s direction, citing economic and foreign policy reasons.
Obama “adheres to fiscal responsibility,” Boyd says and on foreign policy he’s “sort of out front on that about how we change the direction of this country.”
At the same time, Boyd says Obama likely has an uphill battle to win Florida, a likely crucial battleground.
“I would say if you look at the history of the last few presidential elections, it would be very difficult for him (Obama) to win,” Boyd said. He added, “Obama has a very tough bore in districts like the one I represent” in Florida’s panhandle.
In an interview taped on Friday for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” Boyd, a six-term lawmaker, said he has no plans to endorse Obama, explaining he never endorses presidential candidates.
But when asked if there was any chance he would end up supporting Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Boyd said, “From what I see right now from a policy perspective, I’d say no.”
Boyd is a leading member of a group in the U.S. House of Representatives known as “Blue Dogs,” lawmakers who think government spending is out-of-control. They’re known for their independent streak within the Democratic Party and for holding up legislation, such as an Iraq war spending bill, to insist that popular add-ons costing billions of dollars be paid for.
Given the difficulty pigeonholing these lawmakers, it’s been an open question if they — and voters in the conservative districts many of them represent — will back Obama.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg (Barack Obama at Washington news conference June 18)