Wolffe: Barack + GOP = 'Obamacans'

Yesterday, Obama said he'd be a stronger general election candidate than Clinton because ""I am confident I will get her votes if I'm the nominee" while "it's not clear she would get the votes I got if she were the nominee." Expect him to keep emphasizing his appeal to independents and even Republicans--especially if McCain clinches the GOP nod. It's not all talk. In fact, NEWSWEEK's Richard Wolffe just tracked down a few prominent Republicans who've caught Obama fever. Here's his report:

Susan Eisenhower is more than just another disappointed Republican. She is also Ike's granddaughter and a dedicated member of the party who has urged her fellow Republicans in the past to stick with the GOP. But now Eisenhower, who runs an international consulting firm, is endorsing Obama. She has no plans to officially leave the Republican Party. But in Eisenhower's view, Obama is the only candidate who can build a national consensus on the issues most important to her—energy, global warming, an aging population and America's standing in the world.

"Barack Obama will really be in a singular position to attract moderate Republicans," she told NEWSWEEK. "I wanted to do what many people did for my grandfather in 1952. He was hugely aided in his quest for the presidency by Democrats for Eisenhower. There's a long and fine tradition of crossover voters."

Eisenhower is one of a small but symbolically powerful group of what Obama recently called "Obamacans"—disaffected Republicans who have drifted away from their party just as Eisenhower Democrats did and, more recently, Reagan Democrats in the 1980s. They include lifelong Republican Tricia Moseley, a former staffer for the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, the one-time segregationist from South Carolina. Now a high-school teacher, Moseley says she was attracted to Obama's positions on education and the economy.

Former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough, who anchors MSNBC's "Morning Joe," says many conservative friends—including Bush officials and evangelical Christians—sent him enthusiastic e-mails after seeing Obama's post-election speeches in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. "He doesn't attack Republicans, he doesn't attack whites and he never seems to draw these dividing lines that Bill Clinton [does]," Scarborough told NEWSWEEK.

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