GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Democrat John Edwards is endorsing former rival Barack Obama, fresh signs of the party establishment embracing the likely nominee even as Hillary Rodham Clinton refuses to give up her long-shot candidacy.
Edwards was to appear with Obama in Grand Rapids, Mich., as Obama campaigns in a critical general election battleground state.
The endorsement comes the day after Clinton defeated Obama by more than 2-to-1 in West Virginia. The loss highlighted Obama's work to win over the "Hillary Democrats" white, working-class voters who also supported Edwards in large numbers before he exited the race.
Edwards, a former North Carolina senator and the 2004 vice presidential nominee, dropped out of the race in late January.
Both Obama and Clinton immediately asked Edwards for his endorsement, but he stayed mum for more than four months. A person close to Edwards, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he wanted to get involved now to begin unifying the party. Obama also signed on to Edwards' poverty initiative, which was a major cause for Edwards in his campaign and since he left.
When he made his decision, Edwards didn't even tell many of his former top advisers because he wanted to make sure that he personally talked to Clinton to give her the news, said the person close to him. Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, who has spoken favorably about Clinton's health care plan, did not travel with him to Michigan and is not part of the endorsement.