obamacasey.jpgThe Politico reports that Bob Casey, Jr. has assumed an unexpectedly central role in Barack Obama’s campaign as his values guy in Pennsylvania, particularly after Obama’s recent remarks about small town Americans:

When Sen. Barack Obama’s remarks about “bitter” Pennsylvanians tumbled into public view, he turned quickly to the politician whose family name is synonymous with the working-class, culturally-conservative voters Obama had inadvertently insulted: Sen. Bob Casey Jr.
Obama needed his character witness.
Casey, the son of a former Pennsylvania governor who bucked the Democratic Party establishment and had endorsed two weeks earlier, took a call from Obama Friday night, April 11, after his comment became public. They talked again Saturday. By Sunday morning, Casey went on CNN to defend Obama. Later in the day, Casey stood by him as he lit into Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for capitalizing on the comment.
“I have had support from places in Pennsylvania where Democrats don’t usually get support — I knew [Obama’s comment] would be the subject of a lot of attacks,” Casey said in an interview last week. “But I knew that it didn’t in any way reflect his values, his attitudes.”
At first, the Casey endorsement was simply a pleasant surprise for Obama.
Now, it’s his life vest.
Casey has filled an unexpectedly vital role for Obama, testifying to his character and message in a state that can take a dim view of change, at a time when gaffes and controversies threatened to carve an even larger gulf between the Illinois senator and Pennsylvania voters.

But is there polling evidence to suggest that Casey’s endorsement has made a difference for Obama? A poll yesterday suggested Catholics, one of Casey’s core constituencies, are breaking for HIllary Clinton by two to one.


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