CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Senator John Kerry said Democrat Barack Obama "can be, will be and should be the next president of the United States."
Speaking in South Carolina, Kerry said there are other candidates he's worked with and respects, but that Obama is the most capable of uniting the country and turning it around.
He also took a swipe at critics who say Obama isn't experienced enough to lead the country, saying voters are "electing judgment and character, not years on this earth."
Kerry's endorsement comes two weeks before South Carolina's primary. It's a slap at Hillary Rodham Clinton, who's riding a wave of support since winning New Hampshire's primary, and at John Edwards, who was Kerry's running mate in the 2004 presidential election.
Upon receiving word of the endorsement, Edwards responded diplomatically, saying the country and Democratic party are stronger because of Kerry, and that he respects Kerry's decision.