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From Edwards Campaign, Some Expectations Management

The John Edwards campaign offers a pointed compare-and-contrast.

By Garance Franke-Ruta

An essential part of any well-functioning campaign operation is the management of expectations for the candidate's performance. On the one hand, telegraphing momentum -- by sending reporters and bloggers updates on internet page views, online (and off-line) fundraising, and turnout at candidate rallies -- is critical for creating buzz and a self-reinforcing cycle of positive coverage and online chatter. On the other hand, anything from an outright win to a third-place finish can look even more impressive if the candidate in question can reduce advance expectations for their performance on election night -- and increase expectations for competitors.

With such dynamics in mind, the John Edwards campaign yesterday e-mailed reporters four graphs drawing on data from The New York Times,, CBS Evening News, and other public reports to counteract the impression that Edwards "has invested the most in Iowa," according to campaign spokesman Eric Schultz, when he has, in fact, made considerably smaller purchases of advertising air-time in the state than his rivals. Recent polls show the race in Iowa to be a three-way dead-heat.

The e-mail goes on to say that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton will, by caucus day, have more staff in the state than her competitors, as well as more field offices than Edwards (though fewer than Illinois Sen. Barack Obama). "As the Clinton campaign spins itself dizzy trying to lower expectations," Schultz wrote. "We thought we'd provide a quick reality check."

The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment, but Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said his candidate's campaign was unfairly described. "I would say the most important thing that they're missing is the millions of dollars that are being spent by third-parties to help them and attack us," he said of the Edwards figures. He also disputed the accuracy of the 300 Iowa staff figure for the Obama campaign, calling it "too high."

Similar e-mails and instant messages from staff at the top three democratic campaigns now arrive on reporters' BlackBerries and laptops on a daily basis as the campaign enters the furious final moments before the Iowa caucuses, which each leading Democratic campaign has sought to define as a must-win for its competitors. It's all part of the intense last-minute effort to seize advantage wherever it can be found.

The rest of the Edwards graphs, below:

The John Edwards campaign offers a compare-and-contrast.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 29, 2007; 2:10 PM ET
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Next: Bill Clinton Warns of "Unexpected"


John Edwards reminds one of the hypocritical lead character (Willie Stark?) in ALL THE KING'S MEN. The novel itself is of course not entirely created out of thin air.

Posted by: FirstMouse | December 31, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

This comparison of Iowa staff and offices material released by the Edwards campaign is rather puzzling. I really wonder if peoples choices will be affected by information on how much staff or offices a candidate has.

Maybe Edwards is preparing an alibi for not winning but that would be pointless because if he does not win Iowa it does not matter because he is done.

Or maybe is trying to maximize the effect of a victory by portraying himself as the understaffed underdog. Who knows.

The graphs are somewhat misleading because Edwards has devoted most of the resources he has to Iowa even if it is less than what Obama and Clinton have in Iowa. Also Edwards has spent much more time in Iowa than his rivals and still has the remnants of his 2004 Iowa campaign organization to aid him.

Edwards could very well win the battle in Iowa but lose the war because he gets thinner in resources and organization as the race advances to the other states.

It could be pretty much of a redo of his 2004 campaign.

Posted by: danielhancock | December 30, 2007 1:50 AM | Report abuse

rahaha--i'm doing fine, thank you. (snark)

writeava--do some more research!! for the last time, people: edwards and his campaign cannot communicate with this group, and this group cannot communicate with him or his campaign. THAT is the law.

he has no control over these groups or what they say. that's why it's such a double edged sword to think that they are supporting you, cuz they can do what ever they want, and could end up hurting your campaign.

edwards has made the statement asking that these groups, all of them, stop putting out ads. but honestly, they can do what they want. they are part of the law.

obama is one to talk, he has a 527 group raising money for ads for him in california. kettle is calling the pot african-american...

i support edwards, and he is doing great in iowa. we are behind you all the way!

Posted by: kenshin1 | December 30, 2007 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Edwards is The Man!

He will win Iowa despite being outspent 2-3 to 0ne. Wow!!

Posted by: river845 | December 30, 2007 12:11 AM | Report abuse

I want to know more about this 97 year old woman who donated $495,000.00 to a 527 for Edwards. The one who has her power of attorney is an Edwards supporter. Did she know she was donating this much money? I believe her last name is Mellon. I believe an Edwards supporter from the 2004 campaign who is also a lawyer, was under investigation by the FEC for donations. What's this slick trial lawyer been up to? Can't raise the money legally, so he has his attorney buddies do it under the table?

Posted by: GraceMN | December 30, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

JaneKates: Who appointed you Oracle and spokesperson for all of the United States? Who told you that Americans will not vote for Barack Obama? Oh, no one did... I see... you're just allowing your prejudices to show. Be courageous enough to speak in first person singular and say you will not vote for Barack Obama. I'm sick and tired of all you "frickin' chickens" out there who try to hide your own bigotry by declaring America isn't ready for an Obama Presidency. Get over it and get your yourselves!

Loonybin2000: Please go back... They let you out way too soon! For the record, Barack Obama belongs to the United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination. Perhaps while you are being refitted for you straightjacket, someone will play the audiobook version of "Dreams of Father" for you and you will get the accurate information about Barack Obama in his own words.

Vote Obama! Fired Up! Ready to Go!

Posted by: jade_7243 | December 29, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

RE: Edwards pulling a fast one with 527s

Read the research the DailyKos did on Edwards' 527.

(1)A 527 is supposed to advocate "issues" NOT candidates. The 527 ads supporting Edwards clearly advocate for him, so it's not abiding by the law. When you advocate for a candidate, you're supposed to set-up as a PAC.
(2)The donors of the 527 INCLUDE PACs (see link on DailyKos).
(3)The 527 is run by an Edwards campaign manager (Nick Baldick) who was on his payroll this past spring.
(4)This isn't the first time Edwards has done this. Before the 2004 Iowa caucus, another Edwards aide, Jonathan Prince, left to form a 527 that spent money on advertising for Edwards in Iowa.

Edwards may be hiding behind a smokescreen of "legalese" but it is clear that he is exploiting a loophole in campaign finance laws to get more advertising dollars spent on his behalf in Iowa. Also, since PACs are contributing to the 527, Edwards is benefiting from PAC money.

He is playing a game of "the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing" - only they do. Edwards is playing a game of "legalese" with this 527 issue - he talks against them, but when he can't raise as much money as his rivals, he sends out his top brass to start/work with 527s to funnel advertising dollars into Iowa on his behalf, then claims that he is not "coordinating" with them and makes a false show of "asking them to stop". Edwards is a phony. And it's one thing if some totally separate group sets up a 527 - it's quite another if your own people have a history of leaving your campaign before the Iowa caucus (in 2004, now in 2008) to work for a 527 which funnels advertising dollars into Iowa on your behalf.

Posted by: writeava | December 29, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

How's the love baby doing?

Posted by: rahaha | December 29, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama does not tell all. He claims to belong to a cathlic churcH for the past 15 years. What religion did he follow prior to the 15 years. That would be for a period of 30 years. His mother was an Atheist and married twice to Muslin men. Obama went to Muslin school as well as having cathlic teaching for two (2) years. His name was BARRY DURING HIS SCHOOL YEARS. OBAMA IS LIKE bUSH, HE ONLY TELLS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHAT HE WANTS THEM TO KNOW. I want to know it all. DONT YOU AMERICA?

Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | December 29, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Edwards has made a great showing, despite the media's treatment of this as a two-person race until very recenetly. Imagine what he could have done if he'd received the same coverage as the two media-darlings!

Edwards is the most electable Democratic candidate. He can stand up to them without alienating people. He can turn the conversation back to a relevant topic.

I live in a very Republican area, and I must report the realities:
Hillary has been demonized by Karl Rove. Republicans have been taught to hate her and will NOT vote for her. A Clinton win equals a Republican president.
I'm sorry to report that our country at large is not as far along as we'd like it to be, and too many will not vote Obama.

Posted by: JaneKates | December 29, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I think the time has come to not worry about who spent more or who spent more days in Iowa.

They were all there enough for people to get sick of them -lol- and surely long enough for anyone to make up their minds.

I can't figure out Edwards sending out these graphs. He has spent the last four years in Iowa. If they don't know him enough now they never will and I think that he has a strong following there but it won't lead him to the nomination.

He keeps saying he is the only one that can win the red states but last time around he couldn't even win the primaries no less his own state in the general election. Had Kerry picked Nelson he would have won the White House.

So I think the time is now as Hillary Clinton has said to the voters in Iowa to pick a president. And anyone who has read the policy papers, seen them all on the stump, looked indepth at the polling, looked at how they reacted to the Bhutto death, and looked seriously at who has the experience and temperment to be the President will see that Hillary Clinton should and will be our next President.

The time is now for an intelligent, experienced, and tested woman and Hillary is the one.

Go Hillary!!!

Posted by: peterdc | December 29, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

If Edwards wins in Iowa, the nomination will go to Hillary.


Obama does the best against republicans...

Posted by: julieds | December 29, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

A front page article (by James Romoser) in today's Winston-Salem Journal ( contains an unbelievable quote by a Des Moines precinct captain of the John Edwards campaign. Julie Brown is quoted referring to this country as the "frickin' United States."

Its unbelievable enough that someone would use that thin euphenism for the f-word at all in a public quote. It is even more unbelievable that she would use it in reference to this country in a presidential campaign.

This reflects on John Edwards, his campaign and Iowans in general. Mr. Edwards needs to pick another spokesperson.

George Wilson
Clemmons, NC

Posted by: gwilson4 | December 29, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

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