Wednesday, January 30, 2008

John Edwards “Suspends,” his campaign. “Fired up and ready to join,” team Obama?

Having received assurances from Senators and Democratic Presidential Candidates Obama and Clinton that they would make “ending poverty,” a priority, former one term North Carolina Senator John Edwards announced at noon (CST) today that he would “suspend his campaign,” for President. Nobody made clear if we are talking above ending poverty in the relative sense (which would be a nice trick) or absolute sense (which would seem to require a list of milestones and a time line, so to speak).

As Brit Hume commented immediately after the announcement, Edwards usage of the word “suspend,” as opposed to, say, “terminate,” might relate to the formalities of the Edwards campaign receiving or continuing to receive government matching funds. But, it is clear that the Edwards Presidential campaign is over. The fat lady has sung.

One imagines Edwards will endorse either Hillary or Barack relatively soon and that could have an impact on the outcome, but not say, as much, as that of Senator Ted Kennedy's recent endorsement of Obama. Edwards does not have anything like the stature of Ted Kennedy with Democratic voters and the mainstream media. Further, Edwards has accumulated relatively few delegates and he is unlikely to pick up many more, even though his name may stay on the ballots next Tuesday.

Obama has acknowledged recent discussions with Edwards that no doubt involved a possible Edwards endorsement with a role in the Obama campaign for John. Most likely similar Edwards discussions have also occurred with Hillary.

Indeed, it is a little hard to see Edwards getting out of the Presidential race without a plan for him to continue stumping nationally for his populist message. That message fits more neatly into the Obama persona than that of Hillary, notwithstanding that all three are quite close on the articulation of substantive issues. Nationally syndicated columnist and Fox News Channel contributor Charles Krauthammer has said Edwards, Clinton and Obama all are virtually the same regarding their current articulation on substantive issues, with the only differences being on personality quirks and backgrounds. Krauthammer than characterized Clinton as being the candidate of “Experienced change,” Obama as being the candidate of “Hopeful change,” and Edwards as being the candidate of “Angry change.”

Edwards’ announcement repeated many of his campaign’s populist messages and themes, but sans the angry “corporate greed,” theme. That might be a tip-off he is about ready to endorse and is trying out a more moderate tone, one that might fit nicely with the tone of Barack Obama. And, as a bonus, Edwards, the trial lawyer, could play the role of attack dog in the remainder of the primary for Obama, if and when Bill Clinton is unleashed again on Barack. To steal a phrase from the Clintons: a "two for," so to speak.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search
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