Veteran folk singer Joan Baez has come out in support of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.The singer - whose protest songs became famous alongside the likes of Bob Dylan in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s - has thrown her support behind the senator hoping to win the Democratic nomination ahead of the presidential election later this year.
Writing to the San Francisco Chronicle, Baez outlined why she was throwing her name behind Obama - the first time she has endorsed a politician.
"I have attempted throughout my life to give a voice to the voiceless, hope to the hopeless, encouragement to the discouraged, and options to the cynical and complacent," she wrote. "From Northern Ireland to Sarajevo to Latin America, I have sung and marched, engaged in civil disobedience, visited war zones, and broken bread with those who had little bread to break.
"Through all those years, I chose not to engage in party politics. Though I was asked many times to endorse candidates at every level, I was never comfortable doing so."
She then explained why she had changed her mind in 2008.
"At this time, however, changing that posture feels like the responsible thing to do," she said.
"If anyone can navigate the contaminated waters of Washington, lift up the poor, and appeal to the rich to share their wealth, it is Barack Obama. If anyone can bring light to the darkened corners of this nation and restore our positive influence in world affairs, it is Barack Obama. If anyone can begin the process of healing and bring unity to a country that has been divided for too long, it is Barack Obama. It is time to begin a new journey."
Baez joins the likes of Bright Eyes and actress-turned-singer Scarlett Johansson, who have also backed the senator.
Obama will face off against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on Super Tuesday, which sees 24 states holding primaries tomorrow (February 5) in the race to secure the party's presidential nomination.
© 2008 NMW News