Civil rights icon and Democratic Party elder John Lewis Wednesday defected from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, in a hugely symbolic blow to the former first lady's White House campaign.
The 68-year-old Democratic "superdelegate" made his decision after a period of public agonizing, but said he wanted to be on the side of history.
"John Lewis is an American hero and a giant of the civil rights movement, and I am deeply honored to have his support," Obama said in a statement.
The veteran Georgia congressman is one of the 795 party luminaries and lawmakers who can vote how they like at the party convention and may have a vital say in sealing the presidential nomination.
Buoyed by his wins in 11 nominating contests in a row, Obama has eroded Clinton's lead in the superdelegate count heading into pivotal nominating contests on Tuesday in Texas and Ohio.
"Something is happening in America," Lewis said.
"There is a movement, there is a spirit, there is an enthusiasm in the hearts and minds of the American people that I have not seen in a long time, since the (1968) candidacy of Robert Kennedy," he said.
"The people are pressing for a new day in American politics, and I think they see Senator Barack Obama as a symbol of that change."
Lewis said he had a "deep and abiding love" for Clinton and her husband, ex-president Bill Clinton, and said the New York senator was a "brilliant and capable candidate."
All workers have suffered in the seven years that President Bush has been in office. But black workers, even those in unions, have been hit hardest.
African American incomes are dropping at the same time fewer African Americans belong to unions. The percentage of African Americans who either are members of or represented by unions fell by half from 31.7 percent of all black workers in 1983 to 15.7 percent last year, according to a new report by the Center for Economic Policy and Research. Still, several studies have shown African Americans are more likely to join unions than other workers.
The report, The Decline in African-American Representation in Unions and Manufacturing, 1979–2007, shows much of the decline is due to the loss of manufacturing jobs. Between 1979 and 2006, the share of all African American workers who worked in manufacturing declined from 23.9 percent to 9.8 percent, a drop of nearly 60 percent. Manufacturing jobs, especially good-paying union jobs in the auto industry, played a big role in creating the black middle class.
Whoopi Goldberg has accepted an apology from producer Gil Cates for not including her in a montage featuring Oscar hosts during Sunday's Academy Awards telecast. Cates called her Tuesday and "talked about the fact that he had made an oversight, pure and simple.
He said, `You know I love you,'" Goldberg said Wednesday on ABC daytime talk show "The View."
Goldberg, who called Cates a "great gentleman," accepted his apology.
She said she has "moved on" since choking up on Monday's show when her fellow co-hosts discussed how she was left out of the clip.
The 52-year-old actress-comedian hosted the Oscars in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2002.
While it is no secret African Americans' skin may keep its youthful appearance longer than other ethnicities, many people don't know African Americans show facial aging in the outer corner of the eyes earlier than Caucasians, according to March's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery(R) (PRS), the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). In fact, African Americans require extra attention to their eyes because of their particular ethnic characteristics.
"African Americans have a slight slant to their eyes, much like Asians do but not as pronounced," said Julius Few, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study co-author. "During aging, we found not only do the outer corners of the eyes of African Americans droop lower than Caucasians, they also droop sooner."
Hispanic voters may be a swing factor in next week's Democratic presidential primary, but an energized black electorate could decide this cliffhanger race.
In state after state, exit polls show the Sen. Barack Obama wave has wiped out Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton from getting even close to the black electorate: 87 percent of the black vote in Georgia, for example.
Here in Houston, the city with the nation's fifth-largest black population, there likely will be no exception. In fact, the only question political analysts now are asking is how big of a boost he will get from this potent voter bloc on March 4.
"People should pay attention to the black vote because that's where all the action is," said Rice University political scientist Bob Stein. "But everyone is fixated on the Hispanic vote because that is where Hillary Clinton may be able to hold the line — but the black vote means a whole lot more."
Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sparred with each other over negative campaigning, health care and free trade Tuesday, a week before key primaries in Texas and Ohio.
Those contests are must-wins for Clinton if she is to continue to contest Obama for the nomination, as even former President Clinton suggests.
Debating at Cleveland State University, Clinton repeated angry claims from the campaign trail that Obama mischaracterized her stances on health care and NAFTA in political material mailed to voters in Ohio.
"I have a great deal of respect for Sen. Obama, but we have differences," she said. "In the last several days, some of those differences in tactics and choices that Sen. Obama's campaign has made regarding fliers and mailers and other information that has been put out ... have been very disturbing to me."
The mailers, which Obama defends, claim that Clinton's health care plan would force people who don't want insurance to buy it. They also say she has been inconsistent on NAFTA, which many in industrial states like Ohio blame for shipping blue-collar jobs overseas.
New York City has agreed to pay $21 million to settle a class action lawsuit that claimed the city's parks department discriminated against black and Hispanic employees seeking better pay and promotion, officials said on Tuesday.
The suit, filed in 2001 on behalf of 3,500 people, said that between 1997 and 2004 the department retaliated against black and Hispanic employees who complained about discrimination and neglected parks in neighborhoods that housed black and Hispanic populations.
As part of the settlement, in which almost $12 million would be distributed among the 3,500 claimants and almost $9 million paid in lawyers fees and costs, the city agreed to review its pay and promotion decisions.
On this day in Congress adopted the 15th constitutional amendment, making it illegal for the US or any single government to deny or abridge the right to vote "on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude."