nbc6.net – Politics – ‘Proud To Support’ Dean, Braun Exits Race

nbc6.net – Politics – ‘Proud To Support’ Dean, Braun Exits Race: “CARROLL, Iowa — Carol Moseley Braun ended her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination today, leaving an all-male field and giving yet another significant endorsement to Democratic front-runner Howard Dean. Braun officially endorsed the former Vermont governor Thursday afternoon during an appearance at Carroll High School in Carroll, Iowa.

“I am here today to thank those Iowans who were prepared to stand for me in Mondays’ caucuses, and to ask that you stand instead for Howard Dean,” Braun said after being introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who also is endorsing Dean. “Governor Dean has the energy to inspire the American people, to break the cocoon of fear that envelopes us and empowers President Bush and his entourage from the extreme right wing.”

Braun, a former U.S. senator from Illinois, thanked her supporters and explained her decision to exit the race.

“I am so very grateful to you who have made my candidacy possible, and who believed, as I did, that my campaign offered Americans a unique opportunity for progress,” Braun said. “But the funding and organizational disadvantages of a nontraditional campaign could not be overcome, and so this campaign was unable to compete effectively or support your hard work as it should.”

Dean said Wednesday that he welcomed the endorsement of the former senator from Illinois, saying her support will be a “big help.” News of Braun’s departure from the field came Wednesday night.

Dean already has received three major endorsements, the biggest of which was from former Vice President and 2000 candidate Al Gore. Former Democratic candidate and ex-Sen. Bill Bradley and Harkin — 10 days before the Iowa caucuses — already endorsed Dean.

Dean campaign officials say the sequence of events surrounding the Braun endorsement began after a recent debate. They say Braun approached Dean and said she was thinking about dropping out and backing him.

Dean called Braun a “principled person,” adding that he likes her a lot. He said they “just hit it off.”

Braun often made the point she was the only female among the nine candidates. But her campaign never really got off the ground and was plagued by financial problems.

Braun becomes the second presidential hopeful to withdraw from the race before any votes have been cast. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida was the first. “


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