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Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson Thursday endorsed Barack Obama for president. The Republican has endorsed other Democrats in the past. staff photo by Don Davis

Arne Carlson backs Obama

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Minnesota's maverick Republican Thursday endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president.

Two-term Gov. Arne Carlson said he picked Obama in part because of recent comments by GOP U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann indicating Obama may be anti-American. Carlson, who has endorsed other Democrats over the years, said such comments do not represent Minnesota.

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"I do not want to be known as the land of strange sentiments," Carlson said.

The former governor said Obama has what it takes to lead the country out of its current economic crisis much like President John Kennedy got the country through the Cuban missile crisis. Obama would take a similar background to the White House, Carlson said, including relative inexperience.

"The whole American dream rests on the notion that we grow the middle class," Carlson said, adding that Obama can do that.

However, he warned, Americans will not like everything that must be done.

"I'm not going to suggest the mission will be easy," he said. "I'm not going to suggest it will be popular."

Carlson said Republican John McCain, long known as a maverick, does not have the ability "to develop a national vision."

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