WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Former Sen. Larry Pressler, R-S.D., has decided to endorse Democrat Barack Obama for president, Politico reported Sunday.
Pressler -- the first Vietnam veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate -- joins a list of prominent Republicans who have endorsed Obama. He has also donated $500 to the Obama campaign, Politico said.
"I just got the feeling that Obama will be able to handle this financial crisis better, and I like his financial team of (former Treasury Secretary Robert) Rubin and (former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul) Volcker better," he said.
Pressler, an adjunct professor of telecommunication/Internet policy at Baruch College in New York, represented South Dakota in the U.S. Senate from 1979 through 1997. He headed up the Senate Commerce Committee from 1995 to 1997.
He told Politico that Republican presidential nominee John McCain's "handling of the financial crisis made me feel nervous."
Pressler said this is his first vote for a Democrat for president.
"I feel really badly. I just hate to go against someone I served with in the Senate," he said. "I voted and I got it mailed and I dropped it in the mailbox, and it tore at me to do that."
Pressler said he is not leaving the Republican Party.