Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), notorious champion of Big Coal, has endorsed Barack Obama. Some greens are no doubt going to use this as evidence that Obama is too close to coal.

I share the concern, but I don’t think it’s the most sensible interpretation of this case. Boucher’s endorsement is just the latest in a string of endorsements from Democrats in red statesincluding, crucially, popular Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.

(Two other prime Va. Dems — Sen. Jim Webb, widely discussed as a VP candidate, and former governor Mark Warner, who was rumored to be mulling a run for president this year but is running for Senate instead — remain uncommitted, and are worth watching. Primary endorsements from them would be influential as these things go.)

I suspect all this has less to do with coal and more to do with the widespread belief that Obama can do more than Clinton to bring in independents and wavering Republicans. No Dem running in red country relishes Clinton at the top of the ticket.

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