WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America applauded Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s hard-fought victory in securing a majority of the delegates needed to become the presumptive Democratic nominee for President of the United States.
"As we stated back in January, during the heat of this hotly contested and highly competitive primary season, Senator Obama clearly represents the candidate best positioned to bring about fundamental change in how the United States addresses Armenian American issues," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We welcome this powerful milestone in his campaign for the Presidency and join with Armenian Americans from across the country in congratulating him for this great and historic success. At the same time, we want to share our respect for Senator Clinton, our profound admiration for the tremendous race she ran, and our appreciation for her strong and steady support for issues of special concern to our community."
The ANCA endorsed Sen. Obama in January of this year, following a strong statement from the candidate to the Armenian American community calling for passage of Armenian Genocide legislation and pledging to end U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of that crime against humanity. "The facts are undeniable," stated Sen. Obama in his January 19th statement. "An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide."
Sen. Obama continued to talk about the ongoing Genocide in Darfur, stating "I have visited Darfurian refugee camps, pushed for the deployment of a robust multinational force for Darfur, and urged divestment from companies doing business in Sudan. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President." That sentiment echoed in his victory speech in St. Paul, MN yesterday evening, when Sen. Obama stated, "It’s time to refocus our efforts on Al Qaida’s leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st Century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That’s what change is."
During a January 31 press conference at the ANCA Western Region Headquarters announcing the ANCA’s endorsement of Sen. Obama in the Democratic primaries, ANCA National Board member Raffi Hamparian explained, "Today, we endorse an individual, a Senator, a leader, a purveyor of hope, who can change the tone, tenor, and policies in Washington, DC. We, as an organization, believe that Barack Obama is the individual to get this job done." Hamparian was joined Armenia’s for Obama Chairwoman Nora Hovsepian, who concurred, noting that, "Barack Obama, on the key issues of importance to our community, has adopted very favorable positions. Whether it is recognition of the Armenian Genocide, aid to Armenia, or self-determination and independence for Karabakh on all of these issues, Barack Obama is with us." Among the many elected officials who pledged their support for Sen. Obama early on were Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, both in attendance at the press conference. Rep. Schiff would later join ANCA regional representatives on the Horizon Armenian television in the days reaching up to the critical Super Tuesday primaries, encouraging Armenian American support for Obama.
In the subsequent months leading to Tuesday’s victory, ANCA and Armenia’s for Obama activists have volunteered with local campaigns, made targeted phone calls to tens of thousands of Armenian Americans in key states in support of the Presidential hopeful.
ANCA Election Outreach 2008
The ANCA primary endorsement of Senator Obama followed extensive outreach to each of the Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls. In addition to Sen. Obama, Senators Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and John McCain had expressed their views on issues of concern to the Armenian American community.