Archive for the ‘John Edwards’ Category

Goodbye John Edwards

August 9, 2008

I’ve never liked John Edwards much. His demise means that I’m now old enough to have personally watched the national rise of a politician, who didn’t impress me, observed him on the trail during two presidential elections, and seen his inglorious demise.

It’s probably a bit cliche at this point for me to write about how classy it is for a man whose wife is struggling with cancer — although, as Edwards soundly pointed out, was in remission at the time — to hook up with some absurd floozy and them brandish the close relationship with his wife on the campaign trail. I would like to pass along a point from the Fabulous Dana, who wasn’t very impressed by Edwards’ assertion that he told the truth “99 percent” of the time. Other than the one difficult fact, Edwards told the truth all the time.

A couple of other notes:

One bright aspect of the story was the fact that Bob Woodruff, back from a Hellish brain injury in Iraq, got the story.

I empathize with Edwards staff members, whom, in the words of David Bonior, the candidate “betrayed.”

I laughed aloud when Edwards told Woodruff “I have no idea who that child is.”

Edwards campaign consultant in 2004, David Axelrod, the master of the message of hope and change, picked the right candidate when he dumped Edwards and signed on with fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama.

Here’s Dan Kennedy’s take on the whole Edwards debacle.

I’m also reposting an item on how Team Bush viewed Edwards as a potential opponent in 2004 — not very formidably.

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Hollywood Showdown

January 31, 2008

John Edwards’ departure from the presidential race sets up a highly anticipated debate at the Kodak Theater tonight.

As a practical matter, it’s important to note that Edwards’ main ally, the SEIU, will not make another endorsement in the primary. While Mr. Edward’s populist message did not catch fire with American voters, he did win the backing of 12 state councils of the SEIU, including California, Idaho, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, which will hold their elections on Tuesday. The national coordinator of these SEIU state councils, Courtni Pugh, said the councils did not plan to make another endorsement. “We don’t have any plans to go anywhere,” she said. While the SEIU in California, which has more than 400,000 Democratic voters, has already distributed five mailings on behalf of Mr. Edwards, its Get Out the Vote phone banks will go unused in the days leading up to February 5.

Read more on what it means here.

Obama Gets Hammered

January 22, 2008

I’m amazed at the extent of fire being directed at Barack Obama tonight by both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Clinton isn’t taking any prisoners. She’s invoked “slumlord” Tony Resko and hit him over the number of votes he missed in the Illinois legislature.

Strategically, I think she’s preparing for the road after South Carolina. She’s probably fairly certain that Obama will take the state. That’s why she’s headed West after tonight’s debate. But she wants to both soften him up — leaving her husband in South Carolina will help do that — and discredit his victory as being one achieved on ethnic grounds (given the large percentage of South Carolina’s Democratic vote that is African-American.)

Edwards, uncharacteristically, is also going after Obama over his health care plan, habit of voting present in Illinois, and his receipt of donations from health care concerns.

CNN Calls Iowa for Barack Obama

January 4, 2008

According to Wolf Blitzer of CNN, Obama has won the Iowa caucuses. Now, it’s about margin of victory. If Obama wins big enough, he becomes the story, placing New Hampshire in play.  Say goodbye to John Edwards, who appears to have performed worse in Iowa this time, than in 2004.Some astounding information is coming out voter turnout on the Democratic side. Howard Dean, appearing on CNN, said that twice as many voters participated on the Democratic side as the Republican. This reinforces my sense that 2008 is a Democratic year. But his victory seems to have come on the backs of people traditionally not thought to be regular voters, particularly the young.

Iowa Caucus Day

January 3, 2008

While my expertise is New Hampshire, I’ve been doing this long enough to make a couple of observations about Iowa. Given the vagaries of the caucus process, my sense is still that John Edwards will perform better than expectations. Remember he came in second last time and his organization has worked hard to make itself the second choice of the supporters of the lesser candidates.

The Biden Campaign is denying that it has made any deals with other candidates. Says Biden’s Iowa State Director, Danny O’Brien: “There are no discussions underway and there will be no deal with any campaign. We believe Sen. Biden is strong enough on his own. Everyone knows that Sen. Biden is a popular second choice for the supporters of all the other campaigns. We remain confident that Sen. Biden will surprise folks this evening.”

As for Hillary Clinton, her success hinges on the size of the electorate. If there are many new participants in the caucus process, she loses. But if the excitement around Barack Obama is great enough and if the energy coming from the far left is as strong as it seems, tonight could be a very long night for her. My guess is that her team has identified most of the die-hard participants, the people you need to win a caucus in a normal year. The big question is, is this a normal year?

I’m less interested in the Republican side in Iowa. The uptick in support for Mike Huckabee baffles me as did the margin of victory for George W. Bush in 2004. Both cases seem to reflect the strength of religious and values voters within the GOP — at the expense of other concerns. With John McCain and Rudy Giuliani both having opted out of Iowa and Huckabee — to me — not having legs, I just can’t see this contest being as determinative on the Republican side. That said, if Mitt Romney can win big there, I do expect him to benefit from a slingshot effect into New Hampshire.

A final thought: a string of Massachusetts politicians have profited thanks to their proximity to New Hampshire — Michael Dukakis, Paul Tsongas, John Kerry. In Romney’s case, the phenomena appears to be working in reverse. The more New Hampshire voters get exposed to Romney, the less they like him. I believe this is directly linked to the fact that the persona Romney has forged as a presidential candidate is so different to the one he demonstrated as a governor. In most cases, this wouldn’t matter. But New Hampshire voters got a close look at Romney in 1994 when he ran against Ted Kennedy and again from 2002 until 2006. So for him, the usual proximity advantage is actually a disadvantage.

I’ll post again later tonight.

Edwards and the Sling-Shot Effect

December 28, 2007

Jim Cole's John Edwards

I went out with John Edwards yesterday morning in Nashua. Edwards, who wore jeans and a top coat, seemed very relaxed and confident about his chances.

“My strong sense is that people are still listening very carefully to the candidates to decide what they’re going to do here, which is a good thing,” Mr. Edwards said. “I think it’s a wide open race here in New Hampshire, and I’m excited about coming back here after the caucuses.”

Read more here.

Thoughts on Tonight’s Democratic Debate

October 31, 2007

A little more than an hour into tonight’s Democratic debate on MSNBC, I have to say that this is Barack Obama’s best debate performance. He’s come at Hillary Clinton hard. He hit her both on disclosing financial information related to the Clinton Presidential Library as well as her refusal to accept the idea that social security could be in jeopardy down the line, which she called a “Republican talking point.”

John Edwards attempted to join the fray, whacking her for her acceptance of money from major donor groups, but he overreached. Both Chris Dodd and Dennis Kucinich alluded to his own acceptance of money from various groups — hedge funds and lawyers.

The debate has also made clear who is putting themselves in the running for big jobs in the Clinton Administration — Bill Richardson who was the first to tell Obama and Edwards to refrain from personal attacks, Chris Dodd, who seconded Richardson’s comments, and Joe Biden, who trumpeted his own long career in the senate without piling on. You could actually see Clinton nodding when Richardson was making his points.

You gotta love politics.

Finally, I would note I’ve seen Obama’s act before. This is what Jerry Brown tried to do in the 1992 presidential primary. He came at the Clinton’s hard. How’d that work out?

Dartmouth Democratic Debate: Hillary Clinton and Iran

September 27, 2007

I thought Hillary Clinton did a terrific job standing up to Tim Russert and the other presidential candidates on the issue of Iran. She gave a clear, declarative answer as to why she supported Joseph Lieberman’s resolution calling the Islamic Revolutionary Guard in Iran a terrorist group. This showed great courage coming as it did after as Mike Gravel tried to set it up with the Lieberman conspiracy talk. Given the climate on the Left these days, I’m frankly amazed that she would so calmly tick off the factors that make the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.

At the same time, once again, I am entirely unimpressed with Obama’s style and “substance.” His answers are halting and haughty at the same time. It’s almost infuriating.

I don’t agree with Chris Dodd on much of this, but his performance is solid as usual. I felt, as did Joe Biden, that Russert is giving the Delaware senator short shrift.

Draper on John Edwards

September 18, 2007

I reviewed Robert Draper’s new book, “Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush,” for The New York Sun. I was amazed that much of Draper’s original and exclusive reporting was relegated to an epilogue.

While I didn’t write about it, I thought it was interesting to learn what the Bush Team circa 2004 thought of John Edwards, who is once again running for the White House. “As a senator, Edwards wasn’t one for detailed briefings, or details of any kind. Colleagues who had seen great promise in him, like John McCain and Joe Biden gradually grew disillusioned. They observed that Edward’s incuriosity surpassed that of Bush — who at least read history books and never argued, as John Edwards had in the summer of 2002, that the best reason for invading Iraq was Saddam’s nuclear program … a program that, as it turned out, never existed,” Draper writes. Not exactly a glowing endorsement from a reporter whom Republicans are labelling a Democratic sympathizer.

My review of Draper isn’t entirely positive. Interestingly, I would note that he was one of a small handful of reporters who, along with me, witnessed Edwards on the campaign trail in New Hampshire in 2003.

Obama: I’ll Talk to Ahmadinejad

July 24, 2007

Senator Clinton just made Senator Obama look foolish. A Youtube questioner asked Obama whether he would meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela within his first year of office. Obama said of course he would. Asked the same question, Clinton said that while she would step up diplomacy, she refused to be used as propaganda for the leaders of these nations. It was a common sense, pragmatic and wise answer. When John Edwards followed up saying he agreed with Clinton, it looked like her smart answer had made him change his own answer.

This is another bad debate for Obama. His elevated style, so effective in set-piece speeches, makes him appear holier-than-thou in this setting.

As for the Youtube debate itself, it’s pretty goofy. But there have been a few good questions.