Image: John Glenn
Justin Dernier  /  EPA file
US astronaut John Glenn
updated 2/12/2008 7:27:09 PM ET 2008-02-13T00:27:09

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton's effort to win Ohio's critical presidential primary got a boost Tuesday when former senator and astronaut John Glenn endorsed her candidacy.

Clinton is counting on a win on March 4 in primaries in Ohio and Texas — where a combined 334 Democratic delegates are at stake — to reinvigorate her candidacy. She lost five nomination contests over the weekend to rival Barack Obama, who was also favored to win primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia on Tuesday.

"With all of the challenges facing Ohio and America, we need a leader who can deliver real solutions on her first day in office," Glenn said in a statement released by Clinton's campaign.

"Hillary Clinton will immediately go to work turning around our economy and rebuilding the middle class. She has the strength and experience to take on the Republicans in November and win Ohio and the White House."

In 1962, Glenn, a Marine pilot, was the first American to orbit the Earth, becoming an instant national hero. In 1998, shortly before retiring from Senate after 24 years, he became the world's oldest astronaut, returning to space aboard the Shuttle Discovery at age 77. Glenn briefly sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984.

"I am deeply honored to have the support of Senator Glenn, a true American hero," Clinton said. "With his help, we'll bring our message of change across Ohio."

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