Inouye endorses Clinton
Daniel Inouye, Hawaii's senior senator, is endorsing U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton for president and will lead a group of veterans in supporting the New York Democrat's campaign.
"I believe Hillary Clinton is the best prepared to deal with the challenges facing our nation at home and abroad," Inouye said in a news release from the Clinton campaign.
Earlier this year, Inouye said he thought Hawaii-born Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., needed more experience before running for president.
Clinton made the announcement in a release that also named Inouye as head of Veterans and Military Retirees for Hillary, a national committee of veterans supporting Clinton.
"I have had the privilege of working with Hillary Clinton since 1993, and her depth of experience makes her uniquely qualified to be president," Inouye said.
Sen. Daniel Akaka will not make an endorsement, but is willing to support whoever is the Democratic nominee, according a spokesman.
All the major candidates are qualified, Akaka said.
In his re-election campaign last year, Akaka was helped by both Clinton and Obama, who taped television commercials for him.
Former state Rep. Brian Schatz, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said he is looking forward to the primary campaign.
"As much as we would love Sen. Inouye's support, we still have one of the most exciting political organizations for a presidential campaign in Hawaii's history," said Schatz.
Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie was an early supporter of Obama's presidential campaign.
Fellow Democrat Rep. Mazie Hirono has not yet endorsed a candidate for president.
On the Republican side, GOP Gov. Linda Lingle has also not declared a preference.
In past political campaigns, Lingle has had support from two of the Republicans running, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.