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Maria Shriver endorses Obama

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  • Shriver is third member of Kennedy clan to back Obama in a week
  • California first lady spoke at rally with Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, Oprah Winfrey
  • Three other members of Kennedy family are backing Clinton
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- California first lady Maria Shriver on Sunday endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president, becoming the latest member of the Kennedy clan to line up behind the senator from Illinois.

Shriver, the wife of California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, told supporters at an Obama rally in Los Angeles that the state was "at the epicenter of change." California's primary is the largest of about two dozen contests scheduled for this week's Super Tuesday contest.

"I would ask you to go out, to follow your heart, to be proud that you're doing that, and remember that so goes California, so goes the nation," she said.

Shriver is the niece of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and President Kennedy. Both his daughter, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, and the Massachusetts senator have endorsed Obama in the past week. During Sunday's event, Schlossberg appeared with Shriver, Obama's wife, Michelle, and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. Video Watch Shriver describe Obama »

"I'm proud to be standing here not just with these women, but with all of you -- different races, different age groups I'm sure, Democrats and independents alike -- because you believe," she said. "You believe in each and every one of yourselves, most importantly. And you believe that you have found someone who believes in you."

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Members of the Kennedy clan are split in the race between Obama and Hillary Clinton, the New York senator and former first lady who leads published polls in California.

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Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the daughter of Robert Kennedy, and her brother Bobby and sister Kerry are backing Clinton.

On Thursday, Schwarzenegger announced he is endorsing Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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