GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 14 - Former Democratic U.S. presidential candidate John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama's White House bid on Wednesday, a campaign spokeswoman said, giving a big boost to the Illinois senator in his effort to rally the party around his candidacy.

Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee, dropped out of the Democratic race in January and was heavily courted by both Obama and rival Hillary Clinton in the past few months. He made the endorsement at a Grand Rapids rally Wednesday evening.

"I am fired up!" were Obama's first words to the raucous crowd, who cheered wildly when the Illinois senator introduced his "special guest," Edwards. The former North Carolina senator took time before endorsing Obama to kindly acknowledge Sen. Clinton's efforts.

The endorsement comes the day after Clinton defeated Obama by more than 2-to-1 in West Virginia. The loss highlighted Obama's work to win over the "Hillary Democrats" — white, working-class voters who also supported Edwards in large numbers before he exited the race.

The blog Michigan Messenger has a rough transcript of the endorsement.

(With wire services.)

This video is from, broadcast May 14, 2008.

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