Forty-three writers and artists recently formed the Irish American Writers and Artists Association to support Barack Obama in his run for the presidency. In this week's issue of the Irish Echo, an Irish American newspaper, authors such as Thomas Cahill, Peter Quinn, T. J. English, and Jimmy Breslin joined filmmaker Ed Burns, actress Karen Duffy, and musician Mick Moloney, among others, in signing a full-page advertisement endorsing the Illinois senator.
The association formed in part as a response to media punditry that has positioned Obama at odds with the "white working class," a term that the group said is encoded with "Irish working class racism." The group's endorsement stated that "generations of progressive Irish Americans and African Americans" have crossed racial and ethnic divides to work together in support of the poor and working class. "Our enthusiastic endorsement of Obama [is] the surest way to stop the destructive drift in our nation's foreign and domestic policies, and return dignity, tolerance, compassion and intelligence to the White House."
Other authors who have made public endorsements include Nobel laureate Toni Morrison and Anne Rice. On January 28, Morrison made public her endorsement of Senator Obama in a letter, calling him a leader who "thinks of his country's citizens as 'we,' not 'they.'" Morrison stated that she is "compelled by the quality of mind"—gender and race aside—of both present Democratic candidates, but was moved to support Obama based upon his "creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom."
Earlier in January, Rice, the best-selling author of the Vampire Chronicles, posted a video on YouTube in which she endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. In the video, which has since been removed from the site, Rice celebrates Clinton's recent win in the New Hampshire primary and suggests a Clinton/Obama ticket.