Cohen Gets Another Endorsement From Obama

Presidential nod is 3rd straight for congressman in a contested Democratic primary.



Cohen announcing Obama endorsement
  • JB
  • Cohen announcing Obama endorsement
For the third election cycle in a row, 9th District congressman Steve Cohen has been endorsed in the course of a contested Democratic primary by President Barack Obama.

Cohen, who is opposed in the primary by lawyer Ricky Wilkins, announced the presidential endorsement — an echo of previous primary-season endorsements in 2010 and 2012 — at a press conference at his Midtown home. Obama’s statement, released later via email, reads as follows:

"Congressman Steve Cohen has been a leader on justice and civil rights issues and has worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents. His focus on bringing good jobs, affordable health care, and world class education to Tennessee is why I am proud to once again support his re-election."

The formal response of Cohen, who was an early endorser of Obama's presidential hopes in 2008, went this way:

"It has been my privilege to work with President Obama to make America more fair and just. Whenever I meet with him, we talk about Memphis and the needs of its citizens. I am always impressed with his compassion, dedication and determination on our behalf. I appreciate the President's faith in me, together we will continue to work every day to ensure that America is a country where if you work hard and play by the rules you get a fair shot."

At the press conference, Cohen, who affixed a 2012 Obama/Cohen button to his lapel in the course of the press conference, underscored the importance of the endorsement by saying that, in a time of Republican muscle-flexing in Congress, it was still possible to “get things done with the Administration,” and he enumerated a series of grants and appointments he said he’d been able to push through — aided both by the Administration and by what the congressman described as a good relationship with Tennessee’s Republican senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

Looking ahead politically, Cohen said he’d always been close to Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well.

Asked about other matters:

Cohen said he was surprised by Monday’s announcement from the United Auto Workers that the union was dropping its appeal to the National Labor Relations Board regarding an adverse vote on representation of workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant.

The congressman responded to suggestions that local Democrats had acquired a new political “boss” in Judge Joe Brown, the former Criminal Court judge and TV personality who is now a candidate for District Attorney General.

“Bruce Springsteen is ‘the Boss,” Cohen jested, adding, more seriously, that people didn’t need any bosses and should be free to make “their own free choices.” He applied that judgment retroactively to the erstwhile political reigns of Ed “Boss” Crump and former congressman Harold Ford Sr., though he gave both points for positive accomplishments.

Asked about endorsements of his own in this campaign year, Cohen mentioned the names of Assessor Cheyenne Johnson and County Commission candidates Melvin Burgess, Reginald Milton, Willie Brooks, and Van Turner. “So far, that’s it,” he said, eschewing any statement of preference in the Democratic mayoral field of Steve Mulroy, Deidre Malone, and Kenneth Whalum. “I’ve got too many friends in the race,” he said.

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