Obama fans and proud of it

Barack Obama likes to talk about “Obamacans” -- Republicans who he says approach him at political events and quietly pledge their support for his presidential candidacy.

On Tuesday, he snagged two more Republicans, but these were high-profile politicians willing to speak out on his behalf.

The first was former U.S. Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, who endorsed him during a conference call with reporters.

Leach said he was concerned about the “current philosophy of government” and worried that John McCain would be “more of the same.”

“I’m convinced that the national interest demands a new approach to our interaction with the world,” he said.


During the call, Leach twice suggested that Obama choose Sen. Chuck Hagel as his running mate. If Hagel, a Nebraska Republican and longtime friend of McCain’s, were to join an Obama ticket, he would be the biggest-name Obamacan in the country.

Another “Republican for Obama” who emerged Tuesday was Jim Whitaker, mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in Alaska.

Whitaker told the Daily News-Miner that he likes Obama’s energy policy and believes the Democrat has the stronger “intellectual capacity” of the two candidates.

Whitaker, an Alaska legislator from 1999 to 2003, supported McCain in the 2000 Republican primary.

-- Kate Linthicum