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How insightful – Toni Morrison backs Obama

Posted on: January 28, 2008

(CNN) – A decade ago, she called Bill Clinton the nation’s “first black president.” Now, acclaimed black writer Toni Morrison’s first presidential endorsement is going to the potential second, Barack Obama.

In a letter to Obama released Monday morning, the “Beloved” author told him she was backing him because “this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril.”

“There have been a few prescient leaders in our past, but you are the man for this time,” she wrote

Morrison, who said she had long admired Hillary Clinton, added that her decision to back Obama instead was not based on the Illinois senator’s race.

“In addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don’t see in other candidates,” Morrison wrote. “That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age.”

In a statement, Obama thanked Morrison for her endorsement, saying she “has touched a nation with the grace and beauty of her words, and I was deeply moved and honored by the letter she wrote and the support she is giving our campaign.”

In a 1998 New Yorker piece, Morrison wrote of Bill Clinton: “White skin notwithstanding, this is our first black president. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime. After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas.”

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