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Edwards Adviser Trippi Points a Finger at the Press

John Edwards arrives with his son Jack, from left, daughters Cate (hidden), and Emma Claire, and wife Elizabeth for a news conference to announce he is withdrawing from the presidential race in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008. (AP).

By Peter Whorisky
NEW ORLEANS -- Standing outside in a New Orleans neighborhood awaiting John Edwards's speech here today, one of his senior advisers said that the central challenge of the campaign -- and a cause of its eventual failure -- revolved around efforts to "break through" in the media when so much was focused on the duel between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

"When the press wants to cover a two person race, its very tough for the third candidate," Joe Trippi said. "To break through in that situation you have to get edgy, get harsher, be more strident - and we did and it would work for a few days and then the media would turn their heads the other way.

"What were we supposed to do, set ourselves on fire?"

"I keep wondering if there is something I could have done."

The decision to quit was "sort of floating around" for a few weeks, but "not in earnest until Monday or Tuesday."

The campaign agonized over the decision as many had come to think of it as a moral crusade as much as a presidential campaign, Trippi said. Normal political calculations did not apply.

"This really was about fighting for the voiceless," Trippi said. "It wasn't about him."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 30, 2008; 4:19 PM ET
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