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For Edwards, a Looming Personal Decision

John Edwards, speaking at a town hall type meeting at the Peanut Market warehouse in Conway, S.C., wants voters to remember his name. (AP).

By Dan Balz
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- If there was a likely beneficiary from Monday's heated Democratic debate, it was John Edwards. The angry man of the Iowa caucuses turned peacemaker as rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama traded personal insults and questioned each other's honesty and character.

Edwards needs whatever help he can get at this stage in the Democratic presidential race. His campaign is starved for attention. The Obama-Clinton (or, more accurately, Clintons) story seemingly has consumed all the time, space, attention and resources of the massive press and blogosphere corps following the race.

Edwards aides understandably complain every way they know how about the lack of attention the party's former vice presidential nominee now receives. By what measure of fairness should someone who has put out some of the boldest ideas of the campaign and who is the only southern candidate in the first southern primary be turned into the non-candidate, they ask?

The frustrations are understandable, as is the fact that attention has shifted away from Edwards. He lost the one state that was considered a must-win -- Iowa -- and fell further back in New Hampshire five days later. In Nevada, as he puts it so eloquently, Edwards "got my butt kicked." He registered at just four percent in Nevada under the complex mathematical calculations that produce the final numbers. Edwards knows the price of admission to the finals is a victory in the early rounds.

His debate performance in Myrtle Beach was one of his most unusual. He never shrinks from debate confrontation. In New Hampshire, he joined with Obama to attack Clinton mercilessly. One of his most senior advisers believed it was a big mistake. Two men attacking one woman is an equation for trouble. Clinton benefited and Edwards (and as it turned out Obama) did not.

On Monday, Edwards was as tough on Obama as he was on Clinton -- perhaps tougher. Obama seemed surprised to find himself pinned between his two rivals. Edwards seemed genuinely puzzled by some of Obama's references to him as the lone white man among the leading candidates.

Edwards continues to fight and to campaign in South Carolina, which he won four years ago. He has vowed to carry on the fight to the Democratic national convention. If he can manage to continue to hit 15 percent in upcoming contests, he can accumulate delegates and then perhaps play powerbroker down the line.

At this point, however, the other candidates and campaigns are clearly beginning to look beyond the point at which he is a viable candidate.

Here's one example. On Monday morning, all the candidates participated in a ceremony commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. on the grounds of the state capitol. The lengthy program and the cold weather drove the candidates inside for awhile. The campaigns tend to operate in their own orbits and truly intersect only on rare occasions. This was one.

As the candidates waited, one Edwards staffer was approached first by Clinton's campaign and then later by Obama's campaign, looking to gauge the staffer's interest in joining up at some point in the near future. The staffer was both flattered and offended by the audacity of the approaches.

But there is more than talk at the staff level. Over the weekend, Edwards had conversations with both Clinton and Obama. Aides to the candidates will not describe the content of the calls and there is some confusion about who initiated them. One report has Edwards calling Clinton to congratulate her on her after her victory in Nevada. The fact that the calls took place at all highlights the fluidity of the Democratic race at this point and the likelihood that both Clinton and Obama are vitally interested in Edwards's future.

The weekend conversations were followed by a much buzzed about green room tête-à-tête between Clinton and Edwards back stage after Monday's debate -- a highly unusual event given a relationship between the two that has been exceedingly frosty. Is there a rapprochement between the two underway? If so, it would likely be to Clinton's benefit.

Obama and Edwards have been more natural allies in the Democratic race, with both pushing anti-Washington establishment messages against Clinton, whom they have painted as the embodiment of the cozy and sometimes corrupting nexus between politicians, lobbyists and corporate influence.

The Edwards constituency might gravitate toward Obama if the former North Carolina senator is no longer seen as truly viable. But some of those white men who have sided with him in states like Iowa and likely here in South Carolina might find their way to Clinton's column.

"This is personal for me," Edwards often says about fighting big corporations or about the issue of race or about trying to eliminate poverty. He hopes that message will find resonance on Saturday in the state where he was born. If it doesn't, then he will have a very personal decision to consider, with his two rivals keenly interested in the outcome.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 23, 2008; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Balz's Take  
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I have always personally said that Senator John Edwards has much more in common with Middle America, the common America, than either Mrs. Clinton or especially Mr. Obama! For one thing ... this Rezko Affair is bigger than the Obama camp would like publicized nationally and I think it will sink him `like the Titanic' after Super Tuesday. Furthermore this baloney with Obama Chief Strategist David Axelrod (or Karl Rove ... ala 2008) allowing Obama to critique John Edwards ... an upscale, seemingly working for the little guy trial lawyer (only white guy in the race) is a slap at 49% of the voting electorate - you can only expect backlash here and I am not being racial here, but that is how I took it in the SC Debates ... and a lot of White (working-class) ... NYC and New York Italian, Irish, Polish, German-American folks who usually have blinders on when it comes to race politics up here took it that way. Mrs. Clinton is popular in NYS and Upstate - she has done a generally good job as our Senator over the last 7 years and I have a lot of respect for here. So it's good the Chicago Sun-Times is re-running the slime machine of David Axelrod in Chicago area politics and with reference to the Rezko Affair ... this is from the UPI ... `Rezko-gate' Details Emerge ... CHICAGO (UPI) - Sen. Barack Obama's past ties to indicted Chicago developer Tony Rezko may prove a real problem for the Democrat's presidential hopes. A Chicago Sun-Times review Thursday outlined those ties, which Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton has brought to the forefront of the campaign. Obama and Rezko met in 1990. Rezko offered Obama a job, which the senator turned down. The Sun-Times said in 1993 Obama joined the Chicago law firm, Davis Miner Barhnill, which counted a low-income housing developer affiliated with Rezko among its clients. Rezko in 1995 contributed $2,000 to Obama's bid for the Illinois State Senate and hosted a `lavish fundraiser' for Obama's 2003 campaign for the U.S. Senate, the Sun-Times said. Obama closed a real-estate deal in 2005 with Rezko's wife while the families lived next to each other. Obama paid Rezko's wife a price substantially lower than market value for an adjoining parcel (... worth only about a 1 million USD for free). Federal officials charged Rezko in October 2006 on federal charges of business fraud and influence peddling involving the administration of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (and I would say Senator Obama). Some of that money - $10,000 - found its way into Obama's campaign fund. The candidate has since donated $10,000 to charity (act of desperation)?? ... I think we better take a breath here and see that the attempt `to Crown Obama as King' in the national and local media is going to be used to destroy him in a general election vs. John McCain. If there is any confusion now about Obama's use of the name `Reagan' as his unifier one day and King the next - then he is just playing politics (as we all knew he was - a phony, rich upper middle class, private school and IVY League educated elitist) ... who happens to be playing the so-called `race card' and who is not `earned his way yet' ... just as Congressman Charlie Rangel and other prominent Clinton supporters from the majority of the Black Caucus in Congress have been saying! Edwards deserves a second-look by America, Mrs. Clinton is capable ... but Obama and Axelrod have been running this tightly wrapped, packaged candidacy since before he came to the Senate in 2005 (when he first started running for the Presidency - I mean his entire Senate career of 2 measly years where he vaguely supported Dems in the majority ... mostly voted `Present' ... which means `Abstain' and has more in common with the GOP `powerbrokers' than John McCain does!) I can guarantee if John McCain is the GOP nominee by some act of total GOP giveaway that ALL so-called Reagan Democrats will move his way in the general election and can honestly say Clinton-Obama, Obama-Whatever or just Obama will loose so bad that they wish the could have somehow bribed Al Gore to run and win for the second time. Get real America - MTV Rock Stars as Your President???

Posted by: JohnOsborneNY | January 25, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

If Edwards drops out and supports Clinton he will lose all credibility in my eyes. How could someone who is for change, and has made working against corporate interests a "personal" crusade support a candidate that takes money from lobbysts? She is the worst offender when it comes to taking money from corporate lobbyists and then passing pork barrel legislation to benifit those same companies. Check it out...,1,6720618.story

Posted by: jamiedanielson | January 24, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of what all of you media types desire for whatever reason, the Edwards campaign will go on all the way to the Democratic Convention, where the nominee will be decided. We need him until that point in order for issues of actual substance to continue being discussed.

Posted by: joepetrow | January 23, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

See, this is the problem. The repeated statements and treatment by the media that Mr. Edwards isn't viable is playing right into what they wanted; the guy who would challenge them would be gone. Articles like this are the problem. I am not going to have my choices limited by the media, and I think there are alot of people like me and we are voting for Edwards. Many of us haven't had that chance yet.

Posted by: harmonydestiny | January 23, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Edwards should pick Nader as his running mate and form The Spoiler Party. At least then I could respect the honesty in his ambitions instead of finding him so incredibly naive.

Posted by: evan2 | January 23, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I agree with all of Chris Hahin's comments, made earlier today. In addition, I believe that there has been so much focus on having 2 minorities in the race that Edwards, ironically, has been at a disadvantage. Too bad that the issues aren't the primary focus in 2008 as John Edwards' message has been consistent and correct: we need to get big business and the lobbyists out of power in Washington. It's time for the federal government to, once again, represent and respond to the wishes of the people of the U.S.
I never thought I'd see a dictator in power in this country, but it sure feels as though we have had one in Bush as he has totally disregarded the wishes of the American public over the last 7 years.
While Edwards would have my vote if he was the democratic candidate, at least each of the 3 that are running for that party's ticket are smart. (I'm an independent.) Boy, am I looking forward to having someone with brains back in the oval office! I think we will all let out a collective sigh of relief next January even though we will just be starting to clean up Bush's mess.

Posted by: lward | January 23, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree with all of Chris Hahin's comments, made earlier today. In addition, I believe that there has been so much focus on having 2 minorities in the race that Edwards, ironically, has been at a disadvantage. Too bad that the issues aren't the primary focus in 2008 as John Edwards' message has been consistent and correct: we need to get big business and the lobbyists out of power in Washington. It's time for the federal government to, once again, represent and respond to the wishes of the people of the U.S.
I never thought I'd see a dictator in power in this country, but it sure feels as though we have had one in Bush as he has totally disregarded the wishes of the American public over the last 7 years.
While Edwards would have my vote if he was the democratic candidate, at least each of the 3 that are running for that party's ticket are smart. (I'm an independent.) Boy, am I looking forward to having someone with brains back in the oval office! I think we will all let out a collective sigh of relief next January even though we will just be starting to clean up Bush's mess.

Posted by: lward | January 23, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

It is crucial, even at this point in the Democratic race, for John Edwards to remain
as a presidential contender until such a point as he's seriously an impedimant for
this most important of presidential races.
He is still not only an asset in keeping the balance within the Democratic race, but also very much a buffer for his two rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
After Obama's performance in the last debate, I see him as more of a deficit to himself than to either Clinton or Edwards.

Posted by: jetsfoto | January 23, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those (above) who say:

Edwards must make up his own mind and should not abandon his effort prematurely

Edwards has a fresh perspective on many of the critical issues that the next President must address - forthwith.

I must add, however, that Senator Edwards needs to repackage his story if he is going to turn heads and bring more voters to his candidacy. While I'm sure that his "life's commitment" is to the cause of improving the quality of life for American workers and fending off the virulent course of BIG corporations, our eyes glaze over when we hear again about his father working in the mill for 31 years....and so on. Mr. Edwards needs to learn to tell his story using different word pictures. It may be too late.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | January 23, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Edwards should not let emotion or hurt feelings influence his decision process in terms of whom he should support should his candidacy ultimately miss the mark. By any reasonable standard, Edwards' message is more consistent with Obama's than with the Clintons'. If Edwards ultimately drops out and endorses Clinton over Obama, then we will know that all the passionate rhetoric coming out of Edwards this election season was just that -- rhetoric -- and that he does not truly support a change agenda. Please, John, do the right thing and endorse the campaign that stands for genuine, transformative change over politics as usual. You have a chance to make something good come out of this. Don't be the spoiler that tilts this race in favor of the establishment candidate. Be true to your own message of change and transformation.

Posted by: rudy.reyes | January 23, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I favor John Edwards, and I agree that an Edwards-Obama ticket would be a very good ticket.

Posted by: kearneyd | January 23, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards has the best message of any of the presidential wannabes. He is tough as nails...having proved himself in trials and in negotiations with the big corporations.

He needs to shake up his campaign staff in order to get his talking points more refined. He doesn't need to fire them, he just needs to shake them up real good and get them working harder.

For example, Edwards should drop the "I come from a blue collar family" talk-about, and to start explicitly explaining how he will change the way global corporations do business in America when he is preseident. He needs to explicitly talk about how the Clintons midwifed the global monopollies and much these corporatiosn have damaged the American economy. He needs to take the gloves off with the Clintons. He needs to state how, when he is president, he will lessen the effects of the plethora of trade agreements that are gutting our economy. He needs to ally himself with small businesses. He needs to tell Americans the truth: we are in the crapper and we all must work together to climb back out.

Edwards also needs to stand easy at the helm, maintain his course and speed, and, not let the press, pundits, polls and spin meisters get him discouraged. The media gadflies are just noises blowing in the wind.

After all, Edwards is the only Democrat who can beat McCain. Edwards would beat McCain by ten-percent if Obama were on the ticket as the VP candidate.

Posted by: Vunderlutz | January 23, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Tupac: He has been winning almost all debates - according to the focus groups of undecided voters, but not been able to follow up by spending millions on adds or through free media attention

Posted by: gba | January 23, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The voters of South Carolina, who are most familiar with John Edwards are saying loud and clear, No Way Jose.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | January 23, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

jOhn Edwards has NOT lived up to his full potential. As a trial attorney taking on Americas biggest corporate interests he should have been able to destroy Hillary in the debates.

Instead, he has suffered the worst of all fates- being ignored by the media.

Hillary and Obama both have severe deficits. Edwards could be a compromise nominee if the Convention is deadlocked.But to do so he must remain viable.

To remain viable he must destroy Hillary in the next debate.

Or he can go quietly into the night, always wondering what might have been...

Posted by: JaxMax | January 23, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I find it amusing when people assert that Edwards message does not resonate with the American people. If that was truly the case please explain to his supporters why Clinton and Obama have co-opted many of them?
In some cases verbatim....

The media has blacked him out in their own self interest. Corporations fear his message as they should.
One of the 2 MOST unelectable Dems, will likely face the GOP in the fall, and most likely lose. Karl Rove, BushCO and the GOP elite are licking their chops in anticipation. And the idealist Dem's will once again send in a loser at a time when it should have been a Democratic slam dunk. Once again Dem voters miss the larger picture, and will vote against their own best interests. Edwards has consistantly trumped all the GOP and by the widest margin, now the ever helpful media has decided it is in our best interests to no longer use him in the polls. Why on earth would that be??? The system is rigged, and people better wake up soon!
our very Democracy is at risk.
Edwards 2008 "The Peoples President"A vote for John is a vote in your own self interest!

Posted by: asher13 | January 23, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Edwards isn't dropping out, you're article is fluff, wrapped inside speculation, wrapped inside conventional Washington wisdom.

Posted by: sfmandrew | January 23, 2008 03:36 PM

I second your statement, sfmandrew!

Mr. Balz says this is Edwards' personal decision to make. He's finally right for a change. I agree, it is Edwards' personal decision to make and guess what? He's already made it. He's in this race to the convention. So please stop trying to make his decision for him by writing gossipy, unsourced stories designed to undermine his campaign.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | January 23, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

God could be a candidate and if the media doesn't cover the speeches, no one would even believe God was in the running.

The point is that, as someone else here so pointedly and truthfully put it, the media has shaped this race from the beginning. No matter WHAT Edwards does or says, the media simply REFUSES to cover him!


Many, many Americans are asking the media that same question, and getting no response.

For me, I must also ask, who profits? Of course, Clinton and Obama. Since their personal attacks seem to be escalating daily, one can only surmise that the most powerful player will win that fight. Without a doubt, that would be Clinton, simply by virtue of her experience, her connections, her money, and her husband.

Who owns the media? Why would they want Edwards out of the running? Who else would want Edwards out of the running?

THOSE are the questions Americans should be asking themselves, as well as not just emailing, but CALLING the media to ask why they have all but excluded Edwards.

Edwards showed himself to be the man of integrity that he is in South Carolina. While things got down and dirty between Obama and Clinton (with some help from CNN and Wolf Blitzer - it IS all about ratings and shares, after all, isn't it?), Edwards at times seemed more like the peacemaker than a fellow debater.

Which showed me, once again, that Edwards is a man who won't let petty squabbles get the best of him. He used his sense of humor to deal with an unfavorable situation; indeed, at times it was the only way for him to get a word in edgewise!

If anyone other than the immediate audience even bothered to watch the SC debates, it was clear that Edwards is the most honorable of the three, the most level-headed (a quality most desirable in a president and world leader) of the three, and the wisest of the three.

Good grief Margaret, what more could Americans ask for in a leader most needed to bring change to America, and in a most cooperative way, to boot?!

Again, I say, WAKE UP AMERICA! Edwards is the BEST CHOICE IN 2008!

Posted by: kentuckywoman | January 23, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, John Edwards has a chance to become the next vice-presidential candidate if he stays in the race. He will stay. He knows what a brokered convention is.

Posted by: Write-InWillDePort | January 23, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The lame old guard media has made this a two person race from the start. Heck, you could be writing about Edward's policy positions today, but no here is a piece suggesting the "inviability" of his campaign. What do you expect when you and your colleges are consumed by political celebrity. PS - don't blame it on the blogs, blogs have given tons of coverage to Edwards.

Edwards should angle for Attorney General. VP is a waste of time.

Posted by: wjames5 | January 23, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

thuff7 writes
"I think the media's publicity is crucial for fund raising. If they put John Edwards' face on the front page as often as the others, I would bet he would raise plenty more."

I'm not sure that what you say is as true during the earliest stages of the campaign. There is a time, before even the media starts paying close attention, when the candidates - and potential candidates - are out building their organizations and raising money for the upcoming run. Edwards spent most of his time, following the 2004 election until early 2007, preparing for this run for President. To my view, it is very telling that he was unable to build an effective fundraising network over that time.

Having said all that, I think the money race is way overdone. I wanted Feingold to run; my suspicion is that he didn't bother largely because of the amount of time & effort candidates are required to spend prostituting themselves to donors. I'd prefer a system that focused on policy and ability to implement effective policy. But, until that system changes, the candidates who can best operate within it are the ones who will be nominated. Clearly, Edwards was not one of them, this time around.

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The MSM is an equal myth to the liberal conspiracy peddled by Limbaugh and Friends (sounds like a kids show--then again, maybe it is).

Let's flip the assertions on their political side. If there was such control, then why did a clear outsider come up to play an important role on the Republican side? If the statement "Edwards has to win one" is MSM bias against a liberal candidate, then what is the meaning of "Rudy has to win one" articles? Edwards got plenty of coverage for his fundraising last year and gets plenty of coverage for his debate performance. The message hasn't resonated with the public.

He ran unsuccessfully for the nomination 4 years ago and then unsuccessfully as a VP candidate in the general election. Why not consider himself a favorite? It worked for Reagan, it worked for Mondale, it would have worked for Hart if he kept his pants zipped. Sadly for him, this is an unusual election. There are two historic candidates on the Dem side and that's simply more compelling than Sunny John becoming Angry John. It's worth staying in it to become a potential kingmaker at a split convention.

However, if he's going to win it, he HAS TO WIN SOMETHING.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 23, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Edwards is a Realistic Populist, not an "angry populist" as some suggest. Just because George Will says it doesn't make it so. Does challenging multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts for the VP's former company constitute "anger?" Is that the free market at work? Seems to me there's no market there.

Posted by: tony_fata | January 23, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Where are Biden, Dodd and Richardson when you need them?

Posted by: LadyEagle | January 23, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Edwards isn't dropping out, you're article is fluff, wrapped inside speculation, wrapped inside conventional Washington wisdom.

Posted by: sfmandrew | January 23, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

As an interested outside observer (ie: Canadian), I find it interesting that Edwards' campaign has seemingly failed to find any significant momemtum. If I could vote, Edwards would be my first pick - which is not to say I couldn't live with Obama or Clinton. And this is even though Edwards is anti-free trade, and free trade is seen as vitally important to Canada.

In response to the earlier user who stated that the media should cover, not shape, the election race, I would submit that is not possible. The media must pick and choose the stories they present, so there would be bias present even if the news articles themselves were scrubbed of any offending commentary. To me, it seems a bit like the Hesisenberg uncertainty principle or the "observer effect" in physics, which states that the act of observation has an effect on the phenomenon being observed. So, covering the election shapes the election. I don't see any way around that and, frankly, I think the MSM gets a bad rap in that regard.

Posted by: ouellettep1 | January 23, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: "Was it the media that raised $100 million each for Obama and Clinton? "

Let me please differ if I may. I think the media's publicity is crucial for fund raising. If they put John Edwards' face on the front page as often as the others, I would bet he would raise plenty more.

But my question goes even deeper: who ends up with all this money? Of the $100 million each for Clinton and Obama, how much of it goes right back into the hands of the media from ad revenue? No wonder the election cycle starts earlier and earlier every 4 years. Some people are getting rich and it is the same people who are featuring the candidates they like, calling for the candidates they don't like to drop out and creating the polls that can influence how people vote.

Posted by: thuff7 | January 23, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Edwards "never shrinks from debate confrontation?" I can think of one time he did, and it is why, although I agree with his current stand on most issues, I will never support John Edwards for president. Recall that in Edwards' 2004 Vice Presidential debate against Dick Cheney, Cheney remarked that government "had nothing to do with" his getting the CEO position at Halliburton, and the associated $44 million dollars in salary and other "considerations." . The Cheney "privatization" of military services scam was one of the greatest frauds on the American people. Edwards HAD that old bastard and failed to pull the trigger. He could have totally nailed Cheney and sat there grinning like a brain dead fool. It haunts me to this day.

Posted by: waldengreenwood | January 23, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I cannot imagine Edwards forsaking his credibility and self-respect by supporting a corporatist like Billary. She represents EVERYTHING that he shuns.

It would totally destroy his reputation - and possibly ruin his chances to run for anything. Even dog catcher.

Posted by: hope4 | January 23, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The first post on this thread says it all... From Lightgrw, The media has done all it could to make this a two person race.

That is because they (Corporate America) are deathly afraid of the shifting direction that Edwards would take our country.

The first order of business for Edwards would be to cut off the War Contractors from Congress. The wars in the Middle-East will not end until our government officials are prevented from earning millions and millions of dollars in gifts from Defence Contractor corporations such as Halliburton (KBR)and BlackWaterUSA.

For Meaningful Change vote Edwards in '08

Posted by: theman_in_black | January 23, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

In 1992 Bill Clinton didn't win a primary until Georgia. I hope Edwards stays in, picking up delegates and, when the convention comes and McCain is the GOP nominee and every national poll shows that Edwards is the only Democrat who can beat him, then let the Democrats decide if they want an actual Democrat in the White House in 2009 or if they want to lose to the most damaged, fragmented and weakened GOP in my lifetime.

Posted by: stan3 | January 23, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

New National Zogby poll

The survey found only marginal support for a potential independent candidacy by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has flirted with the idea of a third-party run for the White House while officially denying any interest.

Clinton, a former first lady who would be the first woman U.S. president, held a 21-point edge over Obama in October. He cut that to 8 points by last month, and the new survey gave her a 39 percent to 38 percent edge.

Her 1-point lead was well within the poll's margin of error of 4.7 percentage points.

Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, and Clinton were essentially deadlocked among a variety of groups, including men, women, Democrats and independents. Obama led substantially, 65 percent to 15 percent, among black voters.

Obama barely led among voters under age 24, a substantial drop in support from last month, but led Clinton among voters aged 55 to 69, normally one of her strengths.


"This is an unbelievably close race at almost every level," Zogby said.

Posted by: cakemanjb | January 23, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Forget Edwards' feelings. Of all of the cnadidates running, he is the only one with a clue about the looming catastrophy unfettered free trade has brought us to. Romney and the Clinton's are globalization true believers. It has been their policies, and free trade was a Clinton idea, that wrecked our economy to begin with. We have outsourced 60 million jobs. Worse, we offshored our production capacity, we have displaced millions of ur own engineers and computer programmers and scientists using cheap young Indian and Chinese guest workers, actively discouraged our college students from majoring in engineering (that is assuming they could even get into those programs - over half of those students are from China and India for which the universities receive up to four times the tuition and fees.."found" money for them, an unmittigated diaster for the future of this country). So, we even lack to means to reproduce that prodction infrastructure we so casually fittered away. Our future is one of unemployment, stagflation, an ever increasing gap between the wealthy and the poor with the Middle class disappearing, broken families and marriages, ever lower tax revenues to pay for social services so badly needed, an increase in violence and lawlessness, war, and ultimately the collapse of this country. We had one chance, just one, of escaping national suicide and we chose not to take it. We will reap the wind for not taking John Edwards up on his offer of service.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | January 23, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Its easy for Edwards to blame the media. But perhaps he should look elsewhere. Was it the media that raised $100 million each for Obama and Clinton? Was it the media that cast the votes in IA, NH, NV and, soon, in SC?

Perhaps the country isn't ready for an angry populist. Perhaps John Edwards isn't the right person to deliver the message of an angry populist. Perhaps he should have a better record than one for two in winning elections.

George Will, who I normally don't quote, made an interesting comment on Tuesday, where he compared Edwards to another angry populist, William Jennings Bryan, who failed in three attempts for the Presidency. Jennings compared himself to the bar patron who, upon being thrown out three times, says to himself "I'm beginning to think they don't want me in there." A tip of the hat to you, Mr Will.

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

It is truly unfortunate that John Edwards' campaign has not gained much traction thus far. Following 8 years of Bush, and also 8 years of "third way" Clintonian governance, the presidency -- and this country -- needs a course correction. We need to take a left, not just bear left. We need a real focus on the growing fiscal inequality in this country, and we need to take steps to actually do something about it. Edwards has shown a clear focus on this issue, and I think is the best equipped to handle the job.

Posted by: MShake | January 23, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

It is entirely undemocratic to limit the voters choices based on polls or what the media thinks will happen in the many states that have yet to vote. All candidates should be given the chance to have their voices heard up until the very last voter pushes the submit button. The opinion spinners should back off these calls for candidates to drop out.

It has always sickened me to see the media tell us who the front-runners are before a single person has voted. They have controlled the candidates access to the public by selectively publishing only stories about those whom they deem worthy. It is nothing short of blackmail to say to a legitimate candidate that they won't get the press if they don't perform up to the media's standards.

Posted by: thuff7 | January 23, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Making choices involves making comparisons. If the Democratic contest was between Hillary and John, there would be a great deal of enthusiasm for Senator Edwards - due in part to the feeling among many Democrats and Independents that a vote for Hillary is a vote to put back in the White House the bitter gridlock that infected so much of husband Bill's second term.

Hillary, an effective legislator, is a powerful voice for healthcare and a more intelligent approach to domestic and foreign policy -- but she carries with her an enormous mountain of distrust and distain for the couple - yes, couple - that will parse every phrase and indignantly claim that where they stand on an issue depends on what the definition of "is" is.

So a comparison just with Hillary would do John Edwards some good....maybe not enough to win the nomination...but certainly give a him a more substantial showing.

Unfortunately, for John, there is someone else in the race that, simply put, captures more of the nation's yearning for a clean sweep - a new approach to American politics -- Barrack Obama.

Given that fact, John Edwards needs to do some comparing and make his own choice.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | January 23, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

No doubt Clinton and Obama want Edwards out of the race, in part because he's the one driving the agenda. They might have to offend some of their corporate supporters to stand up to him -- a prospect neither relishes. Edwards says he's in it until the convention, and that it's the fight of his life. He's the only megaphone us poor folks have. Why should he quit?

Posted by: aramey | January 23, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Edwards is the only candidate who clearly understands how much importance corporations have, and their extensive influence on the vital processes of American life: its food, its legislation, its defense policy, its health insurance, and most of all, the many millions of jobs they provide to sustain our livelihoods. Edwards frequently provides a course of action to both Clinton and Obama to parallel and emulate, as both of them frequently cite his positions and even his philosophy of trying to level the playing field of opportunity and reverse the upward income redistribution through tax policies. Sen. Edwards' understanding of the loss of American jobs to globalization is not reflected by the media, who instead focus on the glitz and horserace aspects of Clinton vs. Obama. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, she would be well advised to consider John Edwards as her Vice Presidential candidate or as Attoney General in her administration.

Posted by: ChrisHahin | January 23, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

If there is a economic collapse, the people who where flocking to Clinton may have second thoughts. She is the ultimate Wall Street puppet candidate, and will keep the agenda that favors the elites, not the working joe that just lost his 401k savings in a down market going bust.

But, people are kind of stupid. So, it may have no effect after all.

Posted by: wowisdabomb | January 23, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

When the man was an also ran last time and hs done nothing since except not be a very good Vp candidate, why even bother this time? Id he honestly think he could take on a pet project, corporate greed, and do nohting else but campaign in two states then be elected President. Come on! One has to wonder why the man even entered the race in the first place. No one will name him VP. he's not in the senate, so it doesnt help him there. The most he could hope for is to be named ambassador to somewhere.

Posted by: slbk | January 23, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

If Edwards' people feel bad, just think how Dennis Kucinich's people feel. But the numbers don't lie and Edwards just doesn't have them in the polls or in the caucus/primary results.

I respect Edwards's ideas and passion but he spent around 3 years (since 2004 election loss) building a message and organization (especially here in Iowa) but failed to catch fire with the voting public. If he ultimately fails to win the nomination, as looks likely, I hope he continues to channel his vast talent to helping the downtrodden. He might want to look up Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: egc52556 | January 23, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"The Obama-Clinton (or, more accurately, Clintons) story seemingly has consumed all the time, space, attention and resources of the massive press and blogosphere corps following the race."

Unfortunately for Edwards, the media basically wanted this to be a two-person race for the Democrats from day one. On the Republican side they've managed to cover five different candidates, but could never get past the Clinton/Obama race on the Democrat side. It's a shame because several good candidates never got a chance to be heard and we'll most likely lose Edwards as well.

The media should be focused on covering the race NOT shaping it.

Posted by: lightgrw | January 23, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards candidacy is very important to the present election process. Edwards has influenced the issues in a dramatic manner - and he brings dignity to the process.

Posted by: glclark4750 | January 23, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

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