Maria Shriver, wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a member of the powerful Kennedy political clan, on Sunday endorsed Barack Obama for US president, just days after her former-actor husband backed Republican John McCain.
"The more I thought about it, I thought, you know, if Barack Obama was a state, he'd be California," Shriver said to cheers at a rally held at the University of California for the Democratic presidential contender.
"I mean, think about it: diverse, open, smart, independent, bucks tradition, innovative, inspiring, dreamer, leader!" said Shriver, a member of America's foremost political dynasty.
The celebrity-packed rally was also attended by US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, Shriver's cousin Caroline Kennedy who is the daughter of slain president John F. Kennedy, Obama's wife Michelle, and pop music legend Stevie Wonder.
The California first lady added that Obama "is about the power of us, and what we can do when we come together. Because as everybody up here has said, there is much more that unites us than divides us.
"He is about empowering women, African-Americans, Latinos, older people, young people. He's about empowering all of us."
Shriver's backing of Obama comes just two days from "Super Tuesday" on February 5, when California and 20 other US states hold nominating contests.
Her husband, Governor Schwarzenegger, on Thursday declared his support for McCain's presidential bid, handing the Republican front-runner a prized endorsement ahead of the state's key primary.
California is one of the key battlegrounds in the race to the White House, offering a rich harvest of delegates for both Democratic and Republican contenders.
"Super Tuesday" will see Democrats in 22 states and American Samoa vote on their presidential nominee, while Republicans will select their favorites in 21 states. In all, 19 states will host contests for both parties.
The states account for half the delegates to national party conventions in August and September which will formally anoint party nominees.
The Democratic and Republican nominees then face off in a general election for the US presidency to be held on November 4.
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