The former governor said Obama represented the best hope for an America facing an economic crisis.
Former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on Thursday, saying Obama represented the best hope for an America facing an economic crisis and criticizing Republicans for waging a mean-spirited campaign that has "been going down all these side roads."
Speaking at the State Capitol, where he was introduced by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Carlson said his party had strayed from the moderate philosophies of past Republican leaders such as Ohio Sen. Robert Taft and President Dwight Eisenhower. "I consider myself a Republican maverick," Carlson said in explaining his endorsement of Obama.
Carlson had a strained relationship with his own party, including being officially reprimanded for his support of a gay rights group's fundraising effort.
"I think we have in Barack Obama the clear possibility of a truly great president," he said. "I would contend that it's the most important election of my lifetime."
Carlson also took aim at U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, saying that her controversial remarks of the past week suggesting that Obama may have anti-American views, had led him to endorse the Democratic nominee. After hearing Bachmann's comments, he said he telephoned former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Minnesota Democrat, to tell him of his plan.
Carlson said Obama's policies on the Iraq war, economic issues facing the middle class and alternative energy solutions meshed with his own views. "I think the disappointing part of the McCain campaign has been its inability to develop a national vision," he said.