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Online Gambling Zealot Republican Jim Leach Endorses Obama

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/12/2008

ABC News is reporting that Iowa former Republican Representative Jim Leach has endorsed Democratic US Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Leach was an architect of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed in October 2006. He lost his seat just weeks later in a shocking upset. The online gambling community organized efforts to have Leach ousted via a precision emailing and "word of mouth" campaign aimed at Iowa's million plus gamblers.

Leach said that the Illinois senator's platform is rooted in "old American values that are as much a part of the Republican as the Democratic tradition."

"Barack Obama's platform is a call for change," said Leach. "But the change that he so gracefully is articulating is more renewal than departure."

Asked if Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., will be joining "Republicans for Obama," Leach said, "I think we'll wait for Chuck to make that announcement. I just hope that he's considered for [Obama's] Veep."

Leach announced that he was backing the presumptive Democratic nominee while participating in the conference call launch of "Republicans for Obama," a group that is designing a website contrasting the records of the presidential candidates.

Barack Obama is a poker player who has said he welcomes a study into regulated online gambling including poker.

Although Leach co-authored the bill to make online gambling illegal in "all forms", he later expressed anger over efforts to "water down the measure", in essence creating confusion in an effort to appease the powerful horse racing lobbyists and professional sports leagues. 

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Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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