Atlanta Mayor Endorses Obama

ATLANTA (AP) _ Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin threw her support
behind Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama today following
his disappointing second-place finish in Tuesday's New Hampshire
primary.

Franklin made the endorsement on the "Frank and Wanda Show'' on
Atlanta radio station WVEE-FM.

The endorsement comes as the presidential contest heads South, where black voters are expected to play a critical role in the Democratic race.

Franklin, a two-term mayor of heavily black Atlanta, said Obama is "doing a terrific job.''

She says she is excited about his candidacy.

Franklin had previously declined to endorse a candidate. But she told the station during the interview "I am stunned by his maturity; I am stunned by his presence, by his willingness to step forward and be himself.''

Franklin is among the more prominent black leaders in Georgia. Her endorsement represents a break with some other black leaders in the state, including U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights hero, who is backing U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic race. Franklin's mentor, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, also is backing Clinton.

Obama is seeking to become the nation's first black president.

Georgia's primary is February 5th. The South Carolina Democratic primary is January 29th.


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