Okla. Dem declines to endorse Obama

June 10, 2008 10:12:09 PM PDT
Democratic Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma said Tuesday Barack Obama is "the most liberal senator" in Congress and he has no intention of endorsing him for the White House.

However, Boren will vote for Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August and will vote Democratic on Nov. 4.

"I think this is an important time for our country," Boren said in a telephone interview. "We're facing a terrible economic downturn. We have high gasoline prices. We have problems in our foreign policy. That's why I think it's important."

Boren, the lone Democrat in Oklahoma's congressional delegation, said that while Obama has talked about working with Republicans, "unfortunately, his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion."

Boren, a self-described centrist, is seeking a third term this year in a mostly rural district that stretches across eastern Oklahoma.

"We're much more conservative," Boren said of district. "I've got to reflect my district. No one means more to me than the people who elected me. I have to listen them." He called Obama "the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate."

Hillary Rodham Clinton carried Boren's district with 66 percent of the vote in the state's presidential primary in February.

Boren said his endorsement became a moot point when Clinton suspended her campaign, making Obama the presumed nominee. But he said it will be a historic moment for the nation when the party nominates Obama, who would be the first black president if elected.

"I celebrate it," Boren said. "It's a testament to the Democratic Party."

In April, Boren's father, former governor, one-time senator and current University of Oklahoma President David Boren, announced his support for Obama.

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for Obama, said the congressman had "his facts wrong." She said Obama, as a member of the Illinois Senate, worked with Republicans to provide health care for people who didn't have it and, in Washington, has worked with Boren's Republican colleague, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, to make government more accountable and open.

"Senator Obama appreciates the support of Dan Boren's father," Psaki said.