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Wilder for Obama Sparks Flashback

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Mayor L. Douglas Wilder is going to bat for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in his race for the White House. The early-for-Wilder endorsement, reported first on the Beltway political Web site The Politico, comes months before the state primaries.

The Politico cast the endorsement as America's first elected black governor supporting the man who could be America's first black president.

Wilder's former adviser Paul Goldman, said in an entry on his blog, that he sees it as a political maneuver to catapult Wilder back onto the national stage -- a pre-emptive strike against challengers to his own re-election as Richmond mayor.

Wilder, however, could offer the candidate real-world advice on dos and don'ts. He ran for president in the 1992 race.

In a debate moderated by Tom Brokaw Dec. 15, 1991, Wilder hit a few questions out of the park but flubbed others. Brokaw asked Wilder: "If we were to cut SDI — Star Wars — and we were to cut the B-2 bomber and we were to bring 100,000 troops home from Europe, do you know how much roughly we'd save?"

"In that context we'd save about 5 … 3 … 7 million … uh … billion dollars," then-Gov. Wilder responded.

He recovered later in the debate, however. Facing the camera, he delivered a forceful domestic policy proposal: "The thing that drives the American economy is the American consumer. Two-thirds of the economy is driven by the consumer. Not big business, but small business. Not big people, but little people."

Wilder dropped out of the race days later. S



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