WASHINGTON — Despite Gov. Phil Bredesen’s Wednesday endorsement of Barack Obama and reports that Hillary Clinton soon will withdraw, former Vice President Al Gore and Reps. Lincoln Davis and Bart Gordon, both D-Tenn., still are mum on their support for the likely Democratic presidential nominee.
“The congressman’s position hasn’t changed,” said Tom Hayden, spokesman for Rep. Davis, while Julie Eubank, spokeswoman for Rep. Gordon, said the same.
Rep. Davis has said that superdelegates, the nearly 800 party insiders and elected officials who are given votes at the Democratic National Convention to help decide close races, should not be publicly endorsing candidates before the convention.
Mr. Gore has called Sen. Obama to congratulate him on clinching the nomination but still has not made a public endorsement, his spokeswoman, Kalee Kreider, said, according to The Associated Press.
Earlier Wednesday, Gov. Bredesen, in endorsing Sen. Obama, said the Illinois Democrat ran a “virtually flawless” campaign and would make a “great president.”
“I very much trust him to keep the right values in mind,” Gov. Bredesen said at a morning news conference in Nashville. “I believe Sen. Obama has shown an extraordinary ability to bring people together and to find solutions outside the box in different ways to inherent political issues.”
The governor was joined in his endorsement of Sen. Obama by fellow superdelegates Gray Sasser, the state Democratic Party chairman, and Inez Crutchfield, a member of the Democratic National Committee.
All three had declined to endorse any Democratic presidential candidate until Wednesday, saying they preferred to see the primary season through before publicly backing one.
The Tennessee Republican Party was quick to jump on Gov. Bredesen and Mr. Sasser for their endorsements, saying they are backing a candidate “overwhelmingly rejected” by Democrats in the primary and who won support only “in the state’s urban liberal niche.”
Sen. Clinton handily won the state’s Feb. 5 primary.
“The leaders of the Tennessee Democrat Party have endorsed for president a liberal who favors higher taxes, more government intrusion in our lives, abortion and gay marriage and who proposes to retreat from rather than defeat our enemies,” said Bill Hobbs, communications director for the Tennessee Republican Party.
Mr. Sasser dismissed the attack.
“You have to remember, John McCain didn’t carry the state of Tennessee either,” Mr. Sasser said, referring to the Republican primary won by Mike Huckabee.
Mr. Sasser said the party must coalesce around Sen. Obama.
“It’s time to unify the party,” he said. “Unless we’re unified, we’re not going to win.”