The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Dan Balz's Take

The John Edwards Primary

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both hope for their former opponent John Edwards's support. (AP.)

By Dan Balz
The John Edwards primary is now in full swing. Hillary Clinton made a clandestine visit to see her former rival last Thursday at his home in North Carolina to seek his support. Soon it will be Barack Obama's turn to make the pilgrimage to Tobacco Road. The Illinois senator ought to be ready for some serious conversation.

That Edwards is agonizing over the endorsement should be worrisome to Obama. Edwards, the scourge of special interests, should be easy pickings for the change candidate in the Democratic race, given all Edwards has said in criticism about Clinton over months of campaigning. But outward appearances suggest he is genuinely torn. An endorsement of Clinton would be a blow to Obama.

Whether Edwards will soon endorse in the Democratic race is not clear. But if he does, the decision is likely to generate as much media attention as Ted Kennedy's announcement that he was supporting Obama. Al Gore would top both in terms of instant impact, but there is no sign that the environmental oracle is ready to plunge back into the gritty world of presidential politics.

The apparent alliance between Obama and Edwards was clearest in the days just before the New Hampshire primary, when Edwards embraced Obama and chastised Clinton as an agent of the status quo. "We have a fundamental difference about the way you bring about change," he said of Obama at their debate three days before New Hampshire. "But both of us are powerful voices for change."

Edwards's split with Clinton began in earnest at the YearlyKos debate in Chicago last August, when he taunted her to join with him and Obama in rejecting contributions from Washington lobbyists. Not surprisingly, Clinton brushed aside his gambit. But when she went on to defend lobbyists as people too, the courtroom-trained Edwards pounced harder and their split seemed irrevocable.

From there until South Carolina, Edwards and Obama were in league against Clinton, while vying to become the alternative to the then-front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Through a series of debates, the two often operated as a tag team against Clinton. Only when the three met for the debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., did Edwards begin to raise serious questions about Obama's commitment to tackling the corporate interests.

By that week, it was evident that Edwards, having failed to win a single contest, was on the brink of having to quit the race. Obama should have taken Edwards's criticism and hectoring at Myrtle Beach as a flashing yellow light that the former senator was no longer his reliable and trusted ally.

That debate was most notable for the nasty Clinton-Obama wrangling. But once past the fireworks of the first 45 minutes between the two front-runners, Edwards stepped in aggressively to challenge Obama. He questioned Obama on his many "present" votes in the Illinois Senate and drew sharp differences over Obama's health-care plan, which unlike Clinton's and Edwards's would not constitute universal coverage.

Edwards and Clinton have had several conversations since mid-January -- on the phone and in person. Their post-debate conversation in Myrtle Beach set off a buzz among Democratic operatives even before it had ended. By all accounts they have been friendly, substantive and respectful. The details of their meeting last week are being closely held, but there is no doubt that Clinton went to it well prepared. Obama should be similarly ready.

Edwards was often derided for being an inauthentic candidate who had remade himself since 2004 into an angry populist. But the former senator prided himself on offering a broad, substantive agenda and putting forward ideas ahead of his rivals, and that will be part of his evaluation of the two candidates.

He has clear differences with Obama on health care, which they have debated for months, and which may enter into his endorsement considerations. He has asked for and gotten a commitment from both Clinton and Obama to make eradicating poverty a central part of their agenda, but will be trying to decide which of his rivals is likely to deliver as president.

Beyond that, Edwards will be judging the two candidates on their readiness to be president -- based on his assessment of their toughness, their leadership skills, their capacity to get things done in office.

Given the attributes Obama has displayed throughout the campaign -- the energy and excitement he has generated, his generational appeal, his apparent appeal to Democrats, independents and even some Republicans -- an Edwards endorsement of Clinton would be an implicit statement that he believes she is more ready to be president.

Do endorsements really matter? It's easy to argue that, in light of Obama's loss in Massachusetts last week, the Kennedy endorsement meant little, but that is too narrow an interpretation. With every endorsement from an established Democratic politician, Obama's campaign takes on greater stature and strength. The same is likely if Edwards ends up supporting him.

But Obama cannot assume Edwards tilts naturally in his direction. He will have to earn that support. Big crowds and a string of weekend victories help him make the case that he can bring about the changes Edwards wants to see. But it's likely Edwards will be looking for more than that when the two meet soon.

Other politicians have said that Obama can be even more persuasive an advocate in his own behalf in face-to-face conversations than he is on the stump. He now has the opportunity to win over a potentially valuable ally as the campaign moves past the Potomac primaries to Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania -- if he can satisfy whatever doubts may be holding Edwards back.

Posted at 12:43 PM ET on Feb 11, 2008  | Category:  Dan Balz's Take
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I know Obama supporters are clueless fools.

Posted by: framecop | February 14, 2008 11:16 AM

John Edwards doesn't need to endorse Clinton or Obama. Neither can win in November, anyway, so Attorney General is out of the question. Obama is the second coming of Adlai Stevenson, and Clinton is guaranteed to go down ala Mike Dukakis. It won't even be close this November, but hey, that's what the Dumbocrats wanted when they got led by the nose by the media towards Dean and then Kerry in 2004, and Clinton and Obama in 2008, because the corporations that own the media wanted to make sure that the trial lawyer wasn't nominated. Screw the media. Don't endorse anyone John Edwards, just because the media say you should. When they start badgering Dodd, Biden, and Kucinich about endorsements, then maybe you should consider it.

Posted by: framecop | February 14, 2008 11:13 AM

I'm from Cape Coral, Florida, which has experienced a series of economic blows, one right after another, since the time of Hurricane Charley. We had City Council elections earlier this year in which 5 Council seats were up for grabs, with an unprecedented 22 candidates running for office and 6 charter amendments on the General Election ballot. The issues were trust in government, accountability to the voters -- both fiscal and otherwise, and distrust of special interest groups. The local media went all-out in their efforts to educate the voters; I personally spent weeks assembling an online election guide in a newspaper reader's forum with links to all the news and information sources to help busy people get ready for the vote. There were umpteen forums and debates.

The result was a real sea change in the backgrounds and types of candidates elected. The candidates with the biggest endorsements and donations DID NOT WIN.

How this matter of endorsements plays out on the national scene could be interesting. I would suggest that John Edwards hold off from endorsing for now.

In the presidential race, voters in my area (Southwest Florida) are listing substance, details of platforms, values, and character as the most important qualities they are considering for their vote. It's too bad that the Dems were unable to campaign here, because Floridians would have put them through their paces for certain. They want answers to the tough questions, and sooner rather than later. As a registered Independent, I'm all for that.

But it's also disquieting to see the level of invective that has been hurled at the candidates of both parties by the media and by letter-writers and online posters. Sure, the voters need to take a real hard look at all the candidates before deciding who to vote for. (And so do the Superdelegates, like John Edwards; he also has a tough decision to make as to whether to release his regular delegates to another candidate.) But things are getting pretty far over the top right now. Where are we headed with that?

-- Has "Horserace Politics" -- the handicapping of electability -- become more important than the choosing of good leaders?
-- Have the campaigns now traded openly-negative TV and radio attack ads for a more subterranean program of Internet attacks by their supporters? It's just as ugly either way, IMO.
-- It does look as though the more substantive the candidate, the harder a time that person gets from the media and voters. Look, what can it cost to at least listen to a candidate's ideas, especially if those ideas are getting good marks from policy wonks? We've got real problems in this country, and we need all the help we can get, from whatever source it may come. Or do the voters (and media pundits) NOT REALLY WANT change???
-- If all the candidates are regarded with such hatred and distrust, then will the eventual winner be able to govern effectively? And if everyone is eliminated because they have some kind of negatives in their resumes, who will be left to run the White House next year -- the janitor? The head chef? How about the gardener?
Get real!

All I know is that I need a good job. Find me a way to get that, and come up with a workable plan to successfully end the war in Iraq that is draining our economy, and you'll get my vote -- Democrat, Republican, or Green Martian for that matter. Rock star celebrity, campaign rhetoric, and grandiosity matter to me not one whit.

--Registered Independent Seeking the Commonsense Solutions

Posted by: pbevitt | February 12, 2008 2:15 PM

This is just my opinion but if Mr. Edwards is passionate about his cause of fighting for the poor, which I believe he is, he will not endorse anyone until right before the convention. I don't think he would really change anybody's mind except for the delegates that he already has. They may feel obligated to send the votes in the direction that he chooses. I was an Edwards guy and I've made my decision regarding the remaining two. If Edwards were to endorse the candidate that is opposing my choice it would not change my mind.

Once he makes an endorsement he can't really take it back. And once he endorses someone, there is really no incentive for the two remaining candidates to keep talking about Edwards priorities, they can just focus on their priorities. By saying nothing they need to keep him happy if they want those delegates and that means speaking about his issues. And in this close race, every delegate counts so I don't think that you'll see an endorsement.

Posted by: wingnutjeff | February 12, 2008 10:31 AM

For all you know-it-alls who think an Edwards endorsement doesn't mean much you need to check out these snippets of info from an article that appeared in the Nation magazine:

On Super Tuesday, 415,000 Democratic primary and caucus voters chose John Edwards as their candidate for president. It is true that many of those votes came on "early ballots" that were cast before the former senator from North Carolina withdrew from the race. But hundreds of thousands of Democrats and independents who were motivated enough to go and vote on February 5 did so for Edwards, knowing full well that he was out of the running.

In Oklahoma, where Edwards might well have won the primary if he had stayed in the race, the former candidate won more than 10 percent of the vote. In several of the state's larger counties, the 2004 Democratic nominee for vice president took second place, running ahead of either Obama or Hillary Clinton. In the state's 2nd and 3rd congressional districts, Edwards took 13 percent of the vote, narrowly missing the 15 percent threshold needed to secure delegates.

Does this matter? It did in Missouri, which gave Obama an essential win by just 9,997 votes. Edwards took 16,747 votes. Had the Edwards votes broken for Clinton, she might well have won another of the key battleground states on Super Tuesday.

Similarly, had Edwards votes flipped to Obama in a number of congressional districts across the country, the Illinois senator would have won more delegates to this summer's Democratic National Convention. Take the 28th District on New York state, where Clinton beat Obama by 509 votes. That gave her 3 delegates to 2 for Obama. But if the 691 Edwards votes in the district had gone to Obama, he would have had the 3 delegates to Clinton's 2.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | February 12, 2008 8:26 AM

Unfortunately most are not as perceptive as you regarding the slick campain Obama is running. Again and again I see statements that Clinton was responsible for the racial dust-up in Carolina when in fact the Obama camp started it with memos to media persons and his characterization of her Dr. King allusions as unfortunate. Then, after the damage was done, he proposed a cease fire. David Gergen and others have pointed this out, but apparently to no avail. I am leaning toward Obama, but capers like that make me wonder if he is really what he purports to be.

Posted by: r_newton | February 12, 2008 7:13 AM

I don't know if an endorsement actually sways anyone but I would hope that Edwards would go w/Hillary. She is the most intelligent and capable person to be President. I don't really see it but people say that Obama gives an inspiring speech, which is fine to be a preacher but the President is serious business. Have you noticed when Obama is asked a question by a reporter or in a debate he usually stammers and comes up with an unimpressive answer. That's not to say that he's down to Bush's level but isn't time that we got someone really smart in the office again. Hopefully Edwards realizes that Obama has never been tested against the Republican's attack machine as Hillary has. Obama's only real race was once a year ago for the Senate seat in Illinois against a token candidate, Alan Keyes, who isn't even from Illinois. He's a talk show host from Maryland. Hillary could certainly clean McCain's clock in the general election but Obama has only shown that he can win the most liberal voters in a Democratic primaries. Hopefully Edwards finally goes with a winner--Senator Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: operator | February 12, 2008 5:19 AM

This guy has a wife with cancer and a mistress, Rielle Hunter, about to have a baby in Chapel Hill. So how does he spend his time? Playing political games. The Republicans are sure to make hay of the above mentioned. Independant voters will care, it matters a lot!

Posted by: gmundenat | February 12, 2008 2:22 AM

It would be selfish and unfortunate if Edwards endorsed Clinton. She is risking the division of the Democratic Party by insisting on the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegates. Edwards will prove he is simply another part of the political machine that he so derides on the stump. If he endorses Clinton and she insists on renegging on her agreement that those delegates should not be seated, it would be a slap in the face of all Americans, including the poor. The hypocrisy of Edwards would be astounding.

Posted by: thomas.o'connor | February 12, 2008 1:24 AM

if edwards endorses HRC he really forfeits his credibility. he was on the money to say replacing corporate republicans with corporate democrats is not real change. HRC and bill are the epitome of corporate democrats. not to mention the working-class dems he champions were swamped by NAFTA, CAFTA and the rest of the faux free-trade initiatives.
but, because he waited to endorse, it would have a really limited impact. bill richardson's endorsement might carry more weight going forward.

Posted by: jacade | February 12, 2008 12:41 AM

I agree with the good Doctor, Hillary Clinton has a well thought out health care plan. I recently had my appendix burst. I just came home from the hospital and realize how lucki I am to be alive if I had not been covered by Ins. I probably would be dead.Look, Everyone deserves to know that if they become ill their protected.

Another fact spoken by the good Doctor I agree with is regarding Senator Obama, and his ties with Rezko. Our press needs to become more assertive and explore and explain those connections to the American Voters. Do we really, need another George Bush!

Posted by: dbourdeau | February 11, 2008 11:03 PM

I hope JRE doesn't endorse either. As my Republican best friend (who was going to vote for Edwards in November and will vote for McCain if HRC or BHO is the nominee) points out, Clinton and Obama have taken more corporate money from oil, HMOs, drug companies, nuclear power, coal, banking, etc. than McCain. They are both corporate candidates who will lose to McCain in November. The Democrats' only hope is to nominate Edwards as a compromise candidate.

Posted by: ldavison1 | February 11, 2008 10:10 PM

PastorGene makes a great point on the difference between a theme and an idea. It's a powerful distinction and an important one in this case.

Themes are the context, perhaps even the platform, on which ideas are created. What I find impressive about Senator Obama is his ability to consistently act and behave in a manner that is congruous with his themes of hope and change. But beyond the themes, there's a certain pragmatism that is missing in Senator Clinton's policies. On healthcare, for example, economists will line up on both sides of the value for individual mandates. However, Sen Obama's plan for universal coverage without mandates has the greatly likelihood of being successful in a nation that believes strongly in individual rights. It's Obama's practicality (built on themes of hope and change) that resonates with voters looking at electability.

It will be interesting to see how this will progress, but the practicality in how Senator Obama builds on his core themes of hope and change is what defines him as one of the most gifted leaders of our generation.

Posted by: aglglc | February 11, 2008 9:19 PM

I really don't think that John Edwards wants to be vice-president, and especially don't think he wants to run again so soon after the disastrous Kerry campaign. Granted, he's more closely aligned with either Clinton or Obama in just about every way than he was with John Kerry, but he looked positively miserable playing second fiddle (though maybe it's because he quickly realized the guy was unelectable). Either way, I don't see that as his motivation.

Posted by: epinchicago | February 11, 2008 8:47 PM

I think that if Edwards endorses Obama, his election will be almost a certainty, on the democratic side. He stands for the poor and forgotten which Obama also does, their style is just different. Edwards is a strong voice of what trade agreements have done and weakening the unions strength with Nafta, I was priviledge to see him in person at a rally here and his platform was on changing the agreements or reversing such trade agreements that are taking jobs away. Obama also work to such ends I am sure with displaced workers, he knows where the problems need to be fixed, therefore Obama and Edwards will fit and "Dovetail" eachothers goal for a 'Needed change'

Posted by: grdn_nell | February 11, 2008 8:36 PM

Edwards endorsement only matters if it is used to reinforce a dramatic moment - such as Clinton admitting she made a mistake when she voted for the Iraq war. If she does that, then Edwards' endorsement would help her credibility when she says she knew it was a mistake a long time ago, but couldn't admit it because she is the first viable woman running as president. Edwards is uniquely positioned to do this because his own admission is widely known and accepted. This in turn would give Edwards cover with progressives since it helps make his unexpected move appear to be based on principle. This move also allows Clinton to play the gender card while at the same time rising above gender by saying she is finally able to do what men like Edwards have done - admit they made a mistake. She can say that the prospect of losing has finally freed her and she now knows that admitting she is wrong is the true sign of strength. This can be the basis for a new personal narrative for the campaign as well. Hillary as underdog maverick willing to tell it like it is.

This is her best bet because it reinforces her advantage with women and also helps her appeal to progressives and labor - two large groups whose loyalty at this point is still defined primarily by issues rather than personal qualities. It is worth promising Edwards the VP spot, because without changing the narrative of the campaign, she isn't going to get the nomination anyway. Iraq is the only major issue where she is not aligned with the majority of democrats, where she can still shift, and Edwards is the best person to help her do it.

Posted by: john.ward | February 11, 2008 8:33 PM

Ah, Joris-Rita, why all of a sudden such intereste in American politics? Are you American Clinton's supporter in disguise? I am sure that you are.

Posted by: aepelbaum | February 11, 2008 8:29 PM

John Edwards should endorse Obama on the wake of Texan primary and get VP place on his ticket in exchange. It would be the most logical and the most pactical thing to do.

Posted by: aepelbaum | February 11, 2008 8:26 PM

Americans must realize that anybody can make beautiful and emotional speeches about hope and inspiration, but they are not a course of action. Why doesn't anybody, especially the media, ask Sen.Obama to be specific about how he proposes to make his so called change a reality. Talk is cheap; let's show us how you will implement your ideas. Otherwise that's all it is, just cheap talk.

Posted by: joris | February 11, 2008 8:23 PM

Joris: no Canadians on this board. This is an American thing.

Posted by: cagodude | February 11, 2008 8:20 PM

First of all John Edwards' endorsement means nothing at this point especially to Obama. As a few of you posted, Edwards is a self-serving legend in him own mind. Obama should have been quite wary right after the Iowa caucuses when Edwards tag team against Clinton. It was so obvious that he thought Obama was going to run away with it at that point. Then as Clinton staged a mild comeback in NH, there went Edwards again trying to align himself with Clinton in SC.

Obama needs to stay the heck away from Edwards and keep converting the masses the way he's proven he can in the upcoming states.


Posted by: cagodude | February 11, 2008 8:17 PM

Amitai, american people are smarter than the Clintons think? Is that why they voted Bush in twice?
If you vote for Sen. Obama, you are going to be fooled just like those who voted for Bush.
Sen. Obama only talks the talk, that's all. One thing I must say for Sen. Obama; he's smart enough to surround himself with a good campaign team who has managed to brainwash his supporters, including you.
Even though I'm a canadian and see things from afar I can do so more clearly than you. Wake up and stop kidding yourself.

Posted by: joris | February 11, 2008 8:15 PM

This idea that the working class, or those in poverty, support Clinton is a nonsense. The black working class tend to support Obama and white working class tend to support Clinton. In other words, it is not Obama's policy towards poverty which has turned away working class votes but his race.

If Edwards therefore endorses Clinton because of supporter demographics, as you imply, he will be endorsing race as a more important factor than conviction and policy, and that will make him one the world's greatest hypocrites.

Posted by: m.singh | February 11, 2008 7:37 PM

I wonder if there is some connection between the Clinton's refusal to make their oncome tax returns public until AFTER they are nominated and concern about how Senator Edwards and or some of Edwards and the Clinton's working class supporters might react to what those income tax returns show. If Senator Edwards has any inclination to endorse the Clintons, he might be wise to wait until he and his supporters have had a chance to vette the Clintons about their income tax returns.

Posted by: claffiteau | February 11, 2008 6:59 PM

Quite a few good comments actually. As a Edwardian from abroad (livs in Norway)it is very interesting to follow the trail. However, I must say that some things are disturbing. If I was a Hillary-fan, I would have been crazy about "Blueboat". I've read severall postings from him and he seams like a racist scum. All his posting is dripping with hate. Grow up! Is he really a democrat?

Otherwise, I think like most people: Clinton has health care, Obama has the feeling. And I think people missing the importance of a Edwards endorsement. His bad numbers in the primary must also be seen in your election system. Nevada is the best example. He do have moore support in Nevada than 4-5%, but people go to second best early. He's strong in the rural parts of america, that really need votes. A vote more or less in New York doesn't matter... By the way- it is a sick system that make a vote in Ohio more worth than a vote in New York. I think it's called federalism...

Finally- don't go out of line in your primarys debate. The whole world is counting on your unity to beat the republicans...

Posted by: wallgren.mikael | February 11, 2008 6:58 PM

has anyone seen that new blog?

Posted by: skhyle | February 11, 2008 6:57 PM

lets be honest - the only reason Edwards is holding out is for the possibility of a cabinet position (he isn't a credible VP again is he?). If he can gain a commitment from either for the AG spot - he'll endorse. If not, he'll endorse Obama.
To me, his endorsement of Clinton would seem disingenouus (and more clearly connection to a cabinet position promise) because of his more natural connection to the direction Obama appears to want to take the county...

Posted by: bsapone | February 11, 2008 6:49 PM

I am an Edwards supporter. I really can't stand either Obama's or Hillary's personality or attitude. However, I don't vote for the Johnny-come-lately or the star of the moment. I will vote on the issues, and the one that matter the most for me is health care.

I really can't see how you can lower insurance costs with a national health care plan without a mandate. Not mandating coverage will encourage young and healthy individuals to not buy coverage. This is called adverse selection, where only the bad risks (those with existing and/or chronic conditions) buy insurance. When adverse selection is happening, premium costs increase.

Obama's plan does not call for a mandate. This will lead to adverse selection and accelerated premium increases. Even worse, Obama has said that healthy individuals who don't have insurance and get sick will be able to retroactively pay premiums as though they had been covered all along. If that's the case, healthy individuals will be even more willing to forego insuring themselves knowing that the Obama health plan will bail them out if they ever get ill.

If John wants to base his endorsement on the issues (health care being at or near the top of the issues list), it would have to go to Hillary. (Hillary basically stole much of his health plan anyway.)

He should play Hillary for the VP slot. The VP position has become a much more powerful position in this country over the past few decades, just ask Gore and especially Cheney.

Besides, Obama may have won these recent small-state caucuses and primaries, but Hillary is going to win the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas primaries. Plus, she has the Michigan and Florida delegates waiting in limbo.

Let's see if the Obama followers can support Hillary in the fall once she is the nominee. My hunch is a lot of them will stay home (I don't think they would vote for a Republican, no matter what) out of spite over their cult of personality's loss to Hillary.

Posted by: jmazey | February 11, 2008 6:35 PM

I think this is a key sentence in the article:

"Edwards was often derided for being an inauthentic candidate who had remade himself since 2004 into an angry populist."

There is apparently NOTHING authentic about this guy, particularly if he goes with Hillary. Like one poster said, if it was about what was for the best of the nation, he wouldn't have to meet with them, have come out and kiss his ring. He knows them well enough to endorse without all that crap.

When all is said and done, Edwards didn't win a state, didn't really come close. Got a hand full of delegates. Couldn't carry is homestate for Kerry in 2004. Couldn't even get Kerry to endorse him this time.

I liked what he was saying in the campaign, but I just don't see it as being authentic, just a re-branding. If I were Obama, I'd suddenly find a reason NOT come visit him in his multi-million mansion. Obama doesn't need Edwards. Let him go to Hillary and demonstrate clearly that all this populist posturing was just that, posturing.

Truth is, Edwards did all that showboating between Iowa and NH, jumping all over Hillary, looking like a teammate of Obama's, and I think that hurt Obama because women felt like they were ganging up on Hillary. And that statement about toughness after Hillary cried ... come on, pure sexism. I don't have a problem with anyone showing emotion, but the timing of her misty eyes made it seem pretty opportunistic. And Edwards remarks further galvanized women.
Come to think of it, maybe Edwards was with Hill all along.

Time to turn the page on the Bush, Clinton axis of evil. IF Edwards wants to line himself up with all of that, let him.

Barack, pick up the phone and tell JE: "Thanks for the invite, but you know enough about me already. If you don't want to endorse me,fine, but I got better things to do than to come hang out with you in your mansion."

Posted by: jmooney41 | February 11, 2008 6:34 PM

Edwards will realize at the end of the day that Clinton is the one to endorse. His healt care plan is very similar to hers and he will see that Hillary has won the large states needed to put together a winning coalition in the electoral college. When was the last time Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming, South Carolina and Alabama voted Democrat in a general election? Eons.
Edwards will notice that Hillary has won NY, NJ, Fla, Calif and Michigan. Ohip and Texas are coming as well.
Edwards understands that Hillary is doing quite well even as she loses nearly 90 percent of the black vote. She is winning the Hispanic vote, the women and the white vote under $60,000 income bracket. That is the majority of Democratic voters.

Posted by: GSWAGNER | February 11, 2008 6:32 PM

An Edwards endorsement of Clinton would be a lot less valuable to her, since it will look like they made some kind of back room deal. He would look far less credible if he endorsed her, after having been highly critical of her thru his campaign. And if you look at Edwards' record in the Senate, he definitely flip flopped on a lot of issues he says he now views differently (Yucca mountain, bankruptcy bill, authorizing the iraq war and more). A Clinton endorsement would be his final, and ultimate flip flop.

Posted by: the964kid | February 11, 2008 6:19 PM

The smartest choice Edwards can do now is to endorse Obama on the wake of Texas primary and to ask him for VP position on the ticket in exchange. It would be the most practical and smart move for Edwards currently.

Posted by: aepelbaum | February 11, 2008 6:15 PM


Why not allow Edwards' own words to tell you which way he is likely to go. It was during the month of November when Charlie Rose interviewed him that John Edwards indicated those voting for him would vote for Obama, if he was not in the race ( Well, he is no longer in the race and Obama is defeating Hillary by huge percentages. Where are the increase in numbers coming from?

1) All groups of people who recognizes Obama now has a real chance to win it all. This would include people who would not have bothered about voting at all in the past, including Oprah Winfreh.

2) People who were voting for Edwards and other candidates are now switching to Obama, not Hillary.

Regardless of who Edwards endorses, Hillary or Obama, his constituants are voting for Obama. It would be wise if Edwards follow that lead.

I have interviewed a number of people of various ages, backgrounds, ethnos and national origin. They are excited and motivated by the Obama campaign. Listening to the excitement from you Black males in Middle School speak in glowing terms about Obama was amazing. Experiencing young and old Whites expounding on the importance of Obama was encouraging. Hearing African immigrants talk about the affect Obama is having in Africa and Europe was nothing short of amazing. Watching the tears as they rolled down the cheeks of older women was moving. Listening to the words of inter-racial couples and the joy in their voice was memorable.

If Hillary loses with an average of 30 to 37% of the votes on Tuesday, February 12, she should concede and save herself the embarassment of losing Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and save herself some money.

T. West

Posted by: westthea | February 11, 2008 6:14 PM

If Edwards endorses Clinton his political life will be over. The secret meeting with Clinton after the SC debate, the overt and explicit courting of his endorsement Hillary has promulgated over the airwaves - the great fighter of the working man will have thrown in his lot with the establishment candidate, with all the appearances of having been bribed.

It seems popular in some circles to use his healthcare proposal and his popularity among affluent Democrats as reasons to cast Obama as something other than an Everyman's Candidate, which defies the results of the primary electiosn to this point. His coalition is truly grassroots, is truly the broadest coalition, and is truly gaining ground. Hillary's base is withering on the vine - down to Latino voters and white women? If Edwards casts his lot with her, he'll go straight into the dustbin of history.

Posted by: brocrossell | February 11, 2008 6:11 PM

It just baffles me anyone could even consider Clinton. What does she have to offer us besides Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton?? Her supposed experience that taught her to vote for Bush's idiotic war in Iraq, and never speak against it publicly until it became politically popular to do so, without even reading the NIE?

Posted by: junk | February 11, 2008 6:09 PM

Obama has many of the characteristics of a messianic figure and his following often demonstrates an appropriately cultish nature. It may be possible to get him elected in the strange atmosphere of the 2008 election cycle, but would it be a wise thing to do, or more on the order of a mass desire for "change" without much thought of the objective competence of the change agent? Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: lwilcox3 | February 11, 2008 6:02 PM

Sen. Obama's Negatives Will Rise; Hillary's Are Already Factored In. Sen. Obama himself has been saying that even after a year, voters in places like Texas and Florida don't really know him that well. So how much do independent voters know about Barack Obama, his voting record and his past positions? Even less than Democrats know. For example, he recently told voters in Idaho that he favors the Second Amendment - but he didn't mention that, in the past, he supported a complete ban on all handguns. If he were the nominee, the Republican attack machine would have immediately rolled out his full record - and his independent Idaho support would have evaporated. So far, the Republicans have been laying low. Sen. Obama has never faced a credible Republican opponent or the Republican attack machine, so voters are taking a chance that his current poll numbers will hold up after the Republicans get going. With Hillary, the GOP has already tried just about every attack and has failed. Those attacks are already factored in her ratings, where she remains competitive against Sen. McCain. But when it comes to Sen. Obama this is a big unknown, and the likelihood is that his negatives will rise.

Posted by: snakebaby | February 11, 2008 6:00 PM

blah blah blah.... who cares about Edwards or Kennedy for that matter.... ridiculuous.

Posted by: mary.j.greco | February 11, 2008 5:46 PM

John Edwards' campaign was based on substances...he proposed some great policies.....unlike some abstract slogans...he should endorse someone who is proven.

Posted by: mgm18122003 | February 11, 2008 5:39 PM

It will be highly HYPOCRITICAL for John Edwards to endorse Hillary since that will let everyone know that he was just faking during his campaign. He may like Hillary but as a matter of principle and his dignity and respect on the line due to his prior arguments, his ONLY logical choice is for him to endorse Obama.

Posted by: dan_ennin | February 11, 2008 5:38 PM

Edwards is a nice, smart guy who had the misfortune of running up against a candidate too similar to himself and much better at it. Obama is super Edwards on steroids. Obama is the future of the Democratic Party and is destined to bring America out of the wilderness.

Posted by: Cleareye | February 11, 2008 5:35 PM

I was an Edwards supporter, and hope that he and Obama will come to some sort of accord so Edwards will throw his support towards Obama. I think Edwards would make a heckuva Attorney General, but I fear Obama has probably promised it to one of his Harvard Law School buddies.

I only hope Edwards doesn't come out for Clinton; that would effectively repudiate everything he had stood for and show him to be a stooge of the Clintonista party bosses.

Posted by: VPaterno | February 11, 2008 5:35 PM

Edwards is a nice, smart guy who had the misfortune of running up against a candidate too similar to himself and much better at it. Obama is super Edwards on steriods. Obama is the future of the Democratic Party and is destined to bring America out of the wilderness.

Posted by: Cleareye | February 11, 2008 5:34 PM

Someone above thought John Edwards should endorse Clinton because both forwarded "universal" healthcare.

So that's what is boils down to, the meaning of word "universal" versus the meaning of the phrase "affordable, subsidized healthcare for everyone who wants it"?

Give me a break...voters need to do a little deeper thinking than this.

The tap root of similarities between Obama and Edwards that runs really deep is neither candidate has accepted the big bucks from the corporate crowd and beltway insiders.

That is the heart of the's about the money, and who owns really the candidates.

Plain and simple, in case some of you haven't noticed, it's an "anti-insider" year. That's why candidates like Obama on the left and Huckabee on the right are still standing.

Actually, Obama is not only standing strong, he's gathering up millions and millions of supporters who share his vision.

McCain is only strong because Republican rules state that all a candidate needs is 50% of the primary vote to win all the delegates.

Of course, Clinton is only ahead in delegates because the so-called super delegates are insiders as well. I hope these super-folks do some careful thinking...

"...the times, they are a-changing..."

Obama has millions of voters who support him. He hasn't needed to borrow money from himself or anyone else.

I give Obama about 5% of my social security check every month, and I will continue until he is President. It might mean a few less trips to the Chinese buffet every month; but hey, I feel good about making the contributions to Obama...

And, by-the-way, Clinton's meaning of the word "universal" translates into garnishing paychecks...

Obama's "subsidizing" means adding to, assisting and helping out.

I can hardly wait for my social security check this month so I send Obama his contribution.

Posted by: Vunderlutz | February 11, 2008 5:32 PM

Thinker: Think. A good president has to be a good salesperson. That's job #1.

Posted by: jchaney | February 11, 2008 5:30 PM


Posted by: socialmedic | February 11, 2008 5:29 PM

nycLeon: Yes, the one worrying thing about the Obama campaign has been his relative inability to attract lower income white voters. (I suppose one could equally say, this is Clinton's major strength. And it isn't clear that Obama wouldn't attract these voters in the general, just as we can count on Clinton to attract black voters and well-educated liberals in the general election.) Clinton's weakness: she isn't doing well with Independents, the swing voters McCain will try to capture.

As for your point that "making a good speech won't fix things," you should pause to consider that one of the real resources any president has is the ability to affect action by making speeches. Oratory is political work and one great source of political power. A president who keeps his or her nose to the bureaucratic grindstone is in danger of seeming absent and uncommitted. If you set aside Obama's legislative accomplishments, the required leap of faith would seem to be the hope that his rhetoric will translate into effective action. With Clinton, we would have to hope that she is capable of lighting a fire under people and inspiring them to get involved in politics and service. For a president of the United States, rhetoric is every bit as important as action, because it is often the engine that drives effective policy. Critics of Obama often make this false distinction.

Posted by: jchaney | February 11, 2008 5:28 PM

It's obvious to me that Edwards is seeking something to gain from the candidate he endorses. This "man of convictions" is afraid to endorse the losing candidate. I smell back room deals and bribes up Clinton's you know what. He will endorse whoever is winning and whoever will give him the best role in their administration.

Posted by: vflex | February 11, 2008 5:26 PM

John Edwards' entire campaign theme and life have been based on helping the poor. I don't think the wine and cheese elite super educated folks of Obamas supporters would qualify. Although Obama has lots of masks - I'm sure he'll put his John Edwards mask on for John Edwards. Such a showman. His latest MLK quote is "The fierce urgency of now". He even repeated it twice because it sounded so good to himself. Repeating things twice for effect - that's what sales people do. Sounds more to me like he needs to find the mens room. I know a great bridge for sale in Brooklyn his supporters might like.

Posted by: Thinker | February 11, 2008 5:25 PM

John Edwards is a good man, with good moral values. He just didn't take the "hush money" that clinton and obama took to stay in the campaign long enough to get more votes. He didn't have the coroporate funding they had to advertise.
Clinton, Obama and Edwards are all fine people who cared enough to get up and run. Whatever Edwards decides is his decision and all your second guessing and getting all mean and nasty before he even decides is rather pointless and fruitless. Lets face it folks, we go two corporate sponsored candidates who need corporate sponsorship to beat a republican. Are the democrat going to elect a democrat, or argue like babies and then "not vote" because, wa wa wa we didn't get out way and yadaydayada. I miss John Edwards and wish I had paid more attention to him instead of getting side tracked by the two rock stars.

Posted by: lndlouis | February 11, 2008 5:20 PM

News from the ground war ...

State Rep. Pete Gallego, chairman of the Texas Mexican American Legislative Caucus, has announced he is endorsing Barack Obama for president.


Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 11, 2008 5:19 PM

Erskine Caldwell?

Posted by: BrawleyHall | February 11, 2008 5:18 PM

As soon as he can work out a deal, Edwards will endorse Obama.

Edwards has acted as Obama's attack dog during the debates. Beating up on Hillary, so Obama could remain above the fray.

He is ready to be Obama veep and attack dog.

Posted by: wj_phillips | February 11, 2008 5:15 PM

There is nothing that either candidate can say, at this point, that could sway Edwards. He knows who they are.

The fact that Edwards didn't endorse Obama BEFORE Super Tuesdays is a bad sign for Obama. Why would Edwards pass on such a high profile opportunity only to give his blessing now when it is far less valuable?

He will either endorse Hillary or stay mum.

Posted by: lpeter59 | February 11, 2008 5:14 PM

Anyone who thinks that Obama doesn't take corporate/lobbyist money is sadly mistaken. He doesn't take single PAC money. So interest groups, from the awful (Tobacco, etc.) to the wonderful (American Lung Association) can't give to him through PACs. Politial Action Committees, though are so '90s. McCain-Fiengold capped their donations. Obama has been the #1 taker of bundled $. That is when the Nuclear-Power executive goes to his board and tells each of them to donate $3500 to Obama's cause. He then bundles the money and sends it to Obama. Hillary and John Edwards acceted this too, but please don't act holier than though-Obama is a politician just like the rest of them. He has thus far produced only rhetoric rather than grand proposals like Edwards did, or proposals and a record like HRC is providing. Before you canonize him, look at the campaign he is actually running. I get daily e-mails from his campaign attacking HRC and daily e-mails from her not mentioning him- who is running the "old style campaign". He is focused on a vote he didn't make in 2002- and then wavered on his position in 2003 and 2004. She voted incorrectly as did most of the Democratic Senators. But if he is a campaign for the future, what is he going to do about it NOW? Making a good speech won't fix things. What little policy information is provided by his people on his website- since he never provides it in speeches or debates- is actually to the right of Hillary. He is also running to the upperclass/educated and to the African American vote- the same constituency we LOST with in 2000 and 2004. The Clintons bring the working class and Latins into play.

Edwards would be correct in supporting HRC. For whatever his flaws are, his opinion means a lot more to me than Kennedy's does.


Posted by: nycLeon | February 11, 2008 5:11 PM

Poor John Edwards dilemma is trying to figure whether the Demo nominee for Prez in 08 will be Obama or Shrillary; I guess he is prepared to accept a cabinet offer to serve as Attorney General under an administration of either candidate.

Given his lackluster performance as a VP candidate for Kerry, and his not-so-effective campaign to be our nominee for Prez in 08, I really wonder if his endorsement of either Obama or Shrillary is worth much, other than a newspaper lede for a day or two.

I suggest the most honorable thing for him to do is make an announcement soon releasing his delegates, and keeping his mouth shut re any endorsement. Forrest Gerard

Posted by: fgerard | February 11, 2008 5:08 PM

Hey, borntoraisehogs: Don't buy into Dan Balz's thesis. Balz doesn't know whether Edwards is "torn," decided, or neutral. He doesn't know what Edwards may want or not want. Just as you don't know that Edwards is a phony. Perhaps by your standards, all politicians are phonies. It's in the job description to conceal one's ambitiousness, for instance.

Posted by: jchaney | February 11, 2008 5:03 PM

John Edwards for Attorney General

Posted by: Cleareye | February 11, 2008 5:02 PM

Obama's Health care plan, like Hillary's, will be recommendation to Congress only (albeit a strong one). Whatever either proposes will have to go through the House and Senate, be vetted in joint committee, and then it will finally reach the president's desk. Congress will add and remove items based on their views, the voice of lobbyists as well as their own constituencies, and others. To believe otherwise is to downplay the power that still resides the Congress. Saying one plan is better than another shows a preference, but you could get a Hillary plan even though Obama is president (remember, she is still powerful in the Senate) or an Obama-style plan even if Hillary is.

The thing that persuades me about Obama is his effective use of the bully pulpit. As Theodore Roosevelt pointed out, it's the president's greatest tool and the more persuasive he or she is, the more he or she can get done: especially if they can rally the citizenry to the cause.

To me, Hillary also represents a continuing deference to corporate America and a likelihood that the blue collar workforce who supports her will find even less of a voice on the steps of the White House. Her reliance on PAC's and lobbies for money concerns me in no small part. Obama won't be perfect, but I'm not of the sort who always opts for the devil you know versus the devil you don't. I supported John Edwards because I believed he could get the job done even when the press had counted him out. I'm willing to give Obama that same support as far as he can go.

Posted by: tcool4u | February 11, 2008 5:01 PM

Hillary Clinton criticizes Barack Obama for delivering "words only" and not substance. Yet, she keeps adopting his themes herself. When she saw Obama's successful theme of change, she (along with some Republican candidates also) started talking about change. Of course, she didn't understand (or at least didn't act like she understood) the kind of change he is talking about--change not only in who occupies the White House or even what party but in the way Washington works (or doesn't work)--in the partisan gridlock that predominates and would certainly continue in a Clinton presidency (assuming she could defeat McCain, which is highly doubtful).

Now, as I was listening to her speech Sunday in Manassas, VA, she has adopted some of Obama's theme about what "we" can do and about shared responsibility. Before, she always talked about what "I" will do as President, while Obama kept emphasizing that it's not about "me" but about what "we" can accomplish together. Obama had also been talking about how government cannot solve all the problems, that people would have to take some personal responsibility also to change things--e.g., parents getting involved in their children's education. Now Hillary is talking about personal responsibility also. I've listened to many of her speeches. She was not talking about these things before. She is clearly adopting and adapting Obama's themes. She criticizes the words and then she uses them herself.

In that same speech Sunday, she said people talk about how "specific" she is, instead of delivering "rhetorical flourish" to "pump [people] up." In reality, she is no more specific than Obama. She talks in slogans and generalities about many of the same issues Obama is also talking about, with at least as much specificity. Obama doesn't just say "we need change." He lays out a lot of ideas and agendas for change, and on his website are some detailed plans for addressing the same issues Hillary talks about. People need to learn the difference between campaign THEMES and a campaign's ideas and proposals. "Change" and "hope" are not the sum total of Obama's ideas. They are the campaign's core THEMES. Hillary does the same thing. Her themes are "experience" and "ready to lead on day one." Each campaign has themes. Each campaign has ideas and proposals. Don't pit Hillary's ideas against Obama's themes. That just confuses and distorts the issues.

Hillary also makes universal healthcare her signature issue. I believe the Obama campaign needs to find a tactful way to show her perceived strength to be actually her weakness. She made a noble attempt during the Bill Clinton Administration to push through substantive healthcare reform. But the fact is that she failed in the task of overcoming the resistance and getting the job done. And the reason she failed at it has a lot to do with the main difference between Hillary and Obama.

Hillary, as reflected in her speeches, believes you can achieve change by just working hard at it. That is naïve in its failure to grasp that the forces of resistance and opposition will also being working very hard to defeat it. And the way Washington works, it's easier to defeat legislation than to pass legislation. The fact is, it takes more than hard work. It takes an inspiring vision that motivates and mobilizes people to demand that their leaders act. It takes the capacity to move beyond partisan gridlock to find a common purpose that can unite people in a common cause cutting across party lines. Hillary calls it "words" and "rhetoric," but it's really called visionary leadership. I've been to a lot of leadership seminars and read a lot of books on effective leadership, and a common theme is that the task of the leader is not to work on getting the job done but to cast vision and move people to action. That's especially true when trying to break through the forces of resistance and implement significant change.

Hillary is a bureaucrat whose heart is in the right place (when she's not giving cautious, poll-tested answers and trying to please everybody) and who does have good ideas and works hard for them. But Obama is a visionary leader who is actually generating a growing movement demanding real change.

Posted by: PastorGene | February 11, 2008 4:53 PM

It is easy to see why Johnnie is torn . It is impossible to be certain who will prevail in the primary and then if that nominee will succeed in Nov. Johnnie can not take a chance and miss out on the spoils or make an enemy . He is a self interested phony son of a female canine .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | February 11, 2008 4:53 PM

John Edwards should endorse Hillary, not just because Hillary and their ideas and their programs are pretty close, but also because his endorsement to Hillary will be great to his future political career. And I guess he will endore Hillary eventually because John Edwards is pretty smart, intelligent and responsible.

Posted by: NoWorry | February 11, 2008 4:50 PM

John Edwards cannot in good conscience endorse anyone other than Barack Obama. Mr. Edwards courageously admitted that his decision to authorize the war in Iraq was wrong. Hillary has not had the courage to join him. Like Barack Obama, Mr. Edwards won't acccept lobbyist and PAC money. Hillary has not had the courage to join them.

If John Edwards means what he says, then he should endorse Senator Obama and help change America.

-- Posted by Charley

Posted by: clm | February 11, 2008 4:48 PM

Thank you, bernicedunn for pointing out Reich's view on healthcare. The former Secretary of Labor under Clinton, has this to say:

I've long heard that the economists and policy people have not come to an conclusion whether the mandate is good or bad. But all we hear is that Clinton's healthcare plan is the TRUE universal care.

According to Mr. Reich, the differences between these policies are irrelevant, but if he absolutely has to say which one is better, Obama's healthcare plan is better.

Posted by: shuang | February 11, 2008 4:48 PM

Thought here is that Edwards' endorsement looks good on paper, but in effect, his supporters have already gone to Obama. B&H could offer him the moon, but after the rally and press conference, no one will care or remember (a.k.a. Senator Ted's endorsement). It appears on paper that he would lean more toward Obama but funnier things have been known to happen (or be offered). As a faithful GOPer who will vote for McCain, it is a non-starter for me.

As for that post from the MD who was supporting Edwards and now HRC, he obviously has not been on the wrong end of one of Edwards' cronies malpractice suits. Keep that in mind.

Posted by: Larsen770 | February 11, 2008 4:44 PM

If Edwards endorses Clinton, then in one fell swoop he will invalidate his entire campaign, while at the same time validate the perception that all lawyers are liars. He add fuel to the fire burning towards trial lawyers, which is a shame considering the noble work of many trial lawyers has already been scorched by ambulance chasers. I'm not sure why Edwards wants to be endorsing a candidate with one foot in the grave. Unless - like W - he doesn't like black people.

Posted by: guyfawkes | February 11, 2008 4:38 PM

I don't know why any of this is an issue. President Bush says the Taliban is on the run. He says the economy is strong in the long run. He says the terrorists are losing and that the United States is running strong for the long run, or something. I forget.

W. in '08! Here's to the permanent Republican majority! Strong in the long run!

Posted by: dfc102 | February 11, 2008 4:33 PM

Edwards had no credentials when he ran the first time. He has no credentials the second time. We've heard that he had no black attorneys in his law firm when he was in private practice.

He does not want to be a VP candidate. Whoops, sorry. He won't be asked to be a VP candidate because he'd bring nothing to the table other than an argumentative tone.

He's a legend in his own mind. That's why he can't be content himself with just being a father and husband and going back to work like normal people.

Posted by: MissV | February 11, 2008 4:31 PM

jimk8mr: Good point about MI and FL. How about this line from Edwards to Clinton, if he decides to endorse her: "I'll campaign for you, but only if you drop the idea of seating the MI and FL delegations."

If it comes down to it, Howard Dean should push for simply splitting those delegations down the middle, half to each candidate. The other available solution (Party-run caucuses) can too easily be criticized from the Clinton perspective for probably boosting Obama's showing after the fact. So you've got either Clinton changing the rules to suit herself, or Obama benefiting from the caucus format, or the broader political problem of not seating the delegations at all. Edwards could help with this issue by pointing the way to a true resolution.

Posted by: jchaney | February 11, 2008 4:31 PM

Some people have e-mailed me for the prior comments made by someone on the WP boards, and I was telling them they could also get information on Google/Divestments about Obama. I just looked today and that referenced article may have been pulled off of Google - I couldn't find it today.


Posted by: Iowatreasures | February 11, 2008 4:30 PM

amatai: Many of us are counting on Hillary to win the Democratic nomination.

The nominating process isn't half over with. After the states tomorrow that are heavily favored towards Obama (even so, win or not, the delegates are fairly split in those state s - I doubt if any of them are winner take all, so each will gather more delegates, no matter how the media plays it.

Then comes Ohio and Texas and Pennsylvania. Hillary has a very good chance at getting more delegates than Obama in those states.

Hillary is our best Democratic candidate because she does not carry the Rezko/Trinity Church (anti-Israel)/Reverend Wright radical church baggage that Obama carries. McCain will knock Obama out in the first round with Obama's negatives. Hillary can beat McCain, because McCain comes off as a 3rd term Bush presidency, and most people definitely don't want that.

Hillary is our only hope and unifier, the only one that will give us truly universal health care, and bring our troops home in a steady, careful way. Hillary Clinton is smart and experienced. gw.

Posted by: Iowatreasures | February 11, 2008 4:28 PM


I supported John in 2004 and 2008, and I agree with neutrality but I am voting for Hillary Clinton tomorrow in the VA primary because I believe she is the more competent commander-in-chief and President.

Posted by: krutkow75 | February 11, 2008 4:28 PM

All of us who have admired John Edwards and his contributions to NC and the nation will be very sad if he endorses Hillary Clinton. I would prefer that he remain neutral.

Robert Koontz
Major, USMCR (Ret.)

Posted by: robear | February 11, 2008 4:26 PM

"Obama's idea that people will universally decide to buy health care (forgoing payments on credit card debt, Christmas gifts, food on the table etc.) is plain wrong." - sscire

Interesting words there, so let's look at what Clinton suggests: she has been suggesting the possibility of "garnish"ing people's pay checks in order to get them to pay a health care premium under her health care plan. How is that better than Obama's plan? Frankly, I find that sort of forced government offensive; if that's the solution, I'm sure that big government paranoia, which we are already not short of, hitches up yet another notch. A plan suggesting taking forcibly from people's wages is DOA.

That said, I've had the feeling that Edwards would endorse Clinton for some time now. The feeling is purely intuitive and no more grounded in anything real than the entire post above. I believe such a decision on the part of JE would be regrettable, but we've consistently watched Senator Obama turn the words used against him into rallying cries ("false hopes"; "fairy tales" etc.), so I expect he'll be able to find a way to work with it if he has to.

Posted by: fallingissa | February 11, 2008 4:23 PM

All Edwards should do is say that the Democrats have two excellent candidates, each of whom have some specific ideas that he prefers to the other's, and that he will be eagerly supporting whoever is the nominee.

The only situation where he should commit between candidates is if there is post-primary hanky panky with superdelegates, retroactive admission of delegates from FL and MI, etc.

Posted by: jimk8mr | February 11, 2008 4:21 PM

lumi21us writes: "Edwards is the biggest fraud in history." It's very doubtful that he's any kind of fraud -- but the biggest in history? Come on!

Isn't it getting to be someone's nap time?

Posted by: jchaney | February 11, 2008 4:19 PM

Are you kidding me? How naive can you be? You're writing this article as if the noble, selfless John Edwards is just too torn to decide who would be the best next president.

In truth, the self-serving Edwards is likely waiting to see who has the better shot to win so he could angle for the VP nod.

Posted by: kbarnes | February 11, 2008 4:18 PM

One can only hope that we democrats support the democratic nominee, and anyone who thinks they can do a better job - throw your hat in the ring and run. Why do we wait breathlessly for endorsements, when I vote I vote because I have done my homeowrk and vote for who caters to me. Usually that is a democrat. But if you need to know who is endorsing who, and you think a republican would be better than the "other" democratic nominee, then vote republican. shoot yourself in the foot. Grow up and vote for the good of the country, not your ego. Remember, fairy dust fades.

Posted by: lndlouis | February 11, 2008 4:16 PM

I have to laugh at all you Obamaites here, piling on Edwards because you think he's about to endorse Clinton. If he goes with your Jesus figure, you will praise him to the rafters as one of your brilliant converted disciples. If only the voting age was 25!

Posted by: thinkwithyourbrain | February 11, 2008 4:15 PM

I agree with 'amitai'. A strong Hilary in the Senate in concert with Obama in the White House would be an awfully powerful force for change in the USA.

Posted by: thebobbob | February 11, 2008 4:15 PM

I am not sure that the Edwards endorsement will make a real difference at this this time.

But the reality is that if Edwards goes with his platform he will endorse Clinton. She shares his feelings on Universal health care which Obama doesn't and Hillary has spent a lifetime working on issues for children, education, the poor and rural communities and even ran legal aid in the nation in the Carter Administration.

Obama talks the talk but Hillary has walked the walk for many years. The other issue someone raised is lobbyist money. As Edwards said to Obama in one of the debates he has taken money from lobbyists in Illinois and for his national PAC and even hired one to chair his NH campaign. Again Obama doesn't walk the walk.

Don't know what Edwards will do and again I don't think it will have a great impact but in positions that matter he is clearly closer to Hillary than to Obama.

Posted by: peterdc | February 11, 2008 4:13 PM

Assuming there is something to this story, ~ and I join those who posted their doubts above, this story is pure speculation ~ Edwards would be well-advised not try to become a king-maker.

At least not now.

His union supporters and those who voted for him are evaluating Obama and Clinton. Many have already made their choice. I have.

Edwards would be well-advised to lobby Obama and Clinton to take up his message on poverty and the plethora of labor issues for which he stood...for which he stood in a mighty fashion, I add.

I have known "king-makers" and for every person they convince, there is another 2 who resent their advise. I have in mind Tom Daschle who played around with king-making in South Dakota. It didn't work...people resented it. And, look at Kennedy's endorsement of didn't amount to much in his own state. Obama got every vote on his own.

After another six months of campaigning passes, maybe Edwards can be in a better position to re-consider his endorsing a candidate if it's necessary...take it to the convention John.

And, thank you John Edwards. You can count me among those who wished you would have stayed in the race.

Posted by: Vunderlutz | February 11, 2008 4:10 PM

Edwards is the biggest fraud in history. I hope Obama doesn't accept this fraud's endorsement. The fact that Edwards is actually contemplating endorsing Hillary tells you everything you need to know about this guy. Hillary is everything Edwards claimed to be against. But we all know Edwards was just faking his rethoric. Edwards is just waiting to see who as the chance of winning so he can jump on that bandwagon. The man is a true phony. Obama can win without this fraud's blessing. All my friends that are former Edwards supporters can't even believe this man is thinking of endorsing Hillary.

Posted by: lumi21us | February 11, 2008 4:08 PM

People all over the country, former candidates and super-delegates should read the handwriting on the wall. Barack Obama has offered the youth and others a NEW vision of CHANGE for the better. We need to move quickly from the status quo, "more of the same" mentality. He is a breath of fresh air. Of course, he is not Perfect, (which of any of the candidates is???).Any candidate has to do some on the job learning, and make critical decisions on the bases of the strengths, opportunities, setbacks, difficulties and curve-balls that come in everyday. The important thing is for the President not to be ARROGANT, but to keep himself/herself OPEN to the wisdom, expertise and evidence that is offered to him/her. But it will be very disappointing if we miss this opportunity and fritter away the genuine enthusiasm and momentum Obama's candidacy has generated among so many all over the country. So please put aside narrow biasses and prejudices and vote/endorse OBAMA, and get others to do the same. The country NEEDS him at this critical time in our nation's history.

Posted by: Dawson34 | February 11, 2008 4:08 PM

I don't see why either HRC or Obama would care who Edwards endorses. His opinions are irrelevant now. The time for his endorsement to make an impact has passed.

Quite frankly I can't imagine why he is torn because according to the policies he was espousing during the debates he should have had an easy time endorsing Obama.

If on the other hand he was lying through his teeth about wanting change and campaign reform then he should endorse HRC.

Edwards was a loser in 2004 and his voice is irrelevant in 2008. Edwards is trying to see what he can get from Obama or HRC and he deserves absolutely nothing.

Posted by: talisman2008 | February 11, 2008 4:06 PM

Jackiesmith1, get real. The exit polls have been very accurate this year; in fact, they were the first indication that Clinton would win NH despite prior polls to the contrary. Your conspiracy theory has no basis -- in addition to not being related to the topic in question...

Posted by: Ford1998 | February 11, 2008 4:05 PM

It would be nice if he endorses Hillary. It would give her campaign some momentum right now. If he endorses Hillary though, the media will down play it, saying endorsements are no big deal. If he endorses Obama it will be headline news!

One more seems like Hillary's supporters are more in line with Edwards...does any of it matter....the media is going to pick the next president anyway.

Posted by: badger3 | February 11, 2008 4:04 PM

John Edwards made a fortune representing people against power. He gave a persuasive voice to those wronged by big business and big money, and he took a cut of what he helped win for those people.

Then he lost his 16-year-old son in a senseless auto accident, and the loss was unbearable. In the prime of his life, at the height of his earning power, he looked at what he had gained and decided it wasn't what he wanted, or what he needed. Instead of speaking to judges and juries, he decided, he'd speak to the world about the things that were important to him, to try to change his country and his world.

Probably we'll never know the extent to which his wife Elizabeth influenced his course, but her intellect and drive have been a powerful force in his life. Even when her cancer was diagnosed as incurable, she made sure he stayed in the race to talk about the things they both care about.

The odds say he'll be raising his young children on his own before they reach adolescence. Unspoken in his decision to leave the campaign is that these are days with Elizabeth he can never get back. I doubt very much that he's thinking about how he could wrangle himself a job in Washington, a place that he seems to regard with considerable distaste. Instead, I suspect he's considering how best to advance the principles upon which his campaign was based.

He's picture-perfect and gesture-perfect, and that makes us feel somehow that he must be "inauthentic". But as a North Carolinian, an American, a progressive and a populist, I have nothing but respect for the way he's conducted himself in the past decade, and for what he's tried and still tries to accomplish.

Posted by: j.norris | February 11, 2008 4:04 PM

Who cares what Edwards thinks, clearly not the voting public.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | February 11, 2008 3:59 PM

John Edwards staked his campaign on the poor and one of their most fundamental interests lies in universal health care, which ONLY Senator Clinton provides. Obama's idea that people will universally decide to buy health care (forgoing payments on credit card debt, Christmas gifts, food on the table etc.) is plain wrong. Fortunately, I think John Edwards knows it and will soon endorse Clinton!

Posted by: sscire | February 11, 2008 3:51 PM

I think Edwards knows that his endorsement is a wild card in the race right now, and he wants to see what Obama and Clinton are willing to offer him. Vice Presidency? I doubt it. Cabinet positions? I could see that. I'd like to see Edwards as the next Secretary of Health & Human Services or Housing and Urban Development. Or maybe the head of special task force on poverty. I personally think Clinton is on the ropes, and would be willing to offer Edwards almost anything if he could deliver her the primary. I really hope that doesn't mean VP, because the Republicans would tear that ticket apart in a general election.

Posted by: squatty418 | February 11, 2008 3:50 PM

I am beginning to think that Mr. Balz has designs on David Broder's position, when Mr. Broder retires. This article is nothing but speculation and is, furthermore, in the same league as Mr. Broder's prediction about the "Bush bounce." Mr. Balz is not yet a contributor to the op-ed page, so I wish he would just report the news and discontinue speculation that leads nowhere.

Posted by: marmac5 | February 11, 2008 3:47 PM

Interesting posts about leverage and opportunism. Well, it is after all, POLITICS,

Edwards for Atty General or Supreme Court Justice!!!!

Posted by: Spectator | February 11, 2008 3:47 PM

JackSmith1 writes: "It looks like you got some vote fraud hankypanky, and selling of votes going on in the democratic caucuses. Obama seems to be doing disproportionately well in the caucuses where it is easier to commit vote fraud...."

The problem with that argument is that voter fraud is harder, not easier, in a caucus. And it would require believing in a widespread conspiracy among Party officials (who, from the beginning, have tended to prefer Clinton, as can be seen in the superdelegate count). It is always a little surprising to see how well Obama does in the caucuses; but the standard explanation makes sense: he has attracted thousands of activists. The Clinton campaign readily admits that Obama has built a better "ground game."

JackSmith1's suggestion is unfounded, irrational, and malicious.

Anyway, although I can't guess what is going on with Edwards, Hillary Clinton certainly has to be viewing a potential endorsement as her best way of saving herself from a totally disastrous post-Super Tuesday month of February. Maybe she can pull a surprise in Virginia, but it looks doubtful. Ohio may be a fantasy. And Obama will have plenty of time to focus in on Texas. I think these are critical days for the Clinton campaign.

Posted by: jchaney | February 11, 2008 3:43 PM

I respect Edwards, and I think he is torn because he supports HILLARY. And, it would be easier to just jump on the bandwagon and say "GO OBAMA."

Posted by: mjno | February 11, 2008 3:43 PM

I expect Edwards will eventually endorse Obama.

What's going on now is Obama's asking him to make the endorsement sooner rather than later, and Clinton's asking him to hold off until the direction is clear (she probably wants to wait for Ohio and Texas).

Of course, the longer he waits the less his endorsement is worth and so the less leverage he has. But does that matter? No. Obama's going to pick the best people he can find for his Administration, and whether or when they endorsed him is irrelevant - anything else is old-style politics. What part of that do you not understand?

Posted by: TomJx | February 11, 2008 3:38 PM

Has anyone seen ANYWHERE that Hillary acknowledged Obama's FOUR wins over the weekend? What's worse, did she bother to even acknowledge -- let alone express ANY appreciation for -- her voters who turned out for her in those 4 states? I haven't seen anything anywhere. Wonder what you're feeling as a Maine voter for Hillary who turned out in a snow storm to vote for her only to have her ignore your support completely by not so much as even saying a simple thank-you for coming out to the polls for her?

Posted by: jfboehle | February 11, 2008 3:34 PM

I am ven parameswaran, scarsdale, n.y. It appears most likely nominee will be Obama. Edwards has more to gain by supporting Obama than Clinton. If Edwards endorses Obama now, Edwards become most important component of Obama victory. Americans like Edwards and he can play very useful roles. Edwards even should consider as Obamas running mate. Based on Edward's challenge of Clinton, I doubt he will endorse Clinton.

Posted by: vpwaren | February 11, 2008 3:32 PM

All the above is speculation (with occasional blasts of hot air). But to add my two-cents worth (as innocent of inside-track intelligence as the rest of you):

Edwards is probably waiting to see whether Obama continues to win big during the next week to month. If it truly looks like Obama (my man, be it said) is on a roll that will sustain him all the way to the nomination, then he'll clamber aboard. If Obama blows it, then he'll come out for Hillary. As long as it looks like a toss-up, he'll play his cards close to his chest and try to extract policy promises from each. (And as things stand, he can probably count on offers from either side of becoming the AG.)

Same for Richardson, by the way.

Neither wants to look foolish (as Gore did in 2004) for too-early an endorsement of a candidate who goes on to implode.

Gore will bestow his blessing only at the last minute--or, possibly, to avert a major catastrophe should Obama and Hillary arrive at Denver without the votes to secur the nomination and with the Florida-Michigan mess still unresolved.

Posted by: jm917 | February 11, 2008 3:29 PM

Several points:
-Edwards supporters have not reallocated yet. That is just a plain uninformed statement.
-Support for Edwards came both for a respect for his rejecting lobbyists and for his persona for being the one to finish off the Republican party for a while. Hillary's donors are less problematic than Obama's (needlessly-what is he thinking?!) extending a hand in friendship to the Right.
-Hillary is more prepared and genuine for tackling populist issues.
-Edwards might have more power in an Obama cabinet because Mr. Obama clearly would have no idea what was going on. On the other hand . . .
-Having a spineless president is likely to undermine the executive branch.

It is pretty obvious that Edwards tried to knock off Clinton first because he felt she was the stronger candidate. Hence the over-the-top anti lobbyist rhetoric. Now he has to figure out if that is supposed to define him (I say, who cares--we have a campaign finance law that IS WORKING to limit lobbyist and coporate influence). On the other hand, as I said, he might have more free rein for his own agenda, although Obama would more likely undermine by perversely inviting Right Wing voices.

What does any of this mean? I have no idea.

Posted by: josiahSchmoe | February 11, 2008 3:27 PM

John Edwards for Secretary of Health and Education.

Posted by: knjincvc | February 11, 2008 3:26 PM

"Inauthentic" is a good adjective for John Edwards. I presume his endorsement will be consistent. He'll do it for attention, however fleeting. For someone who has been a successful personal injury lawyer, an irrelevant US Senator and an unsuccessful presidential candidate (twice), he gets a lot of attention without accomplishing much that helps the public at large.

Posted by: Cyelverton42 | February 11, 2008 3:25 PM

"Inauthentic" is a good adjective for John Edwards. I presume his endorsement will be consistent. He'll do it for attention, however fleeting. For someone who has been a successful personal injury lawyer, an irrelevant US Senator and an unsuccessful presidential candidate (twice), he gets a lot of attention without accomplishing much that helps the public at large.

Posted by: Cyelverton42 | February 11, 2008 3:25 PM

Dear Mr. Edwards...

We're tired of the polarized way politics is done in DC by DEM LEGISLATORS, as well as the republican administration.

The senior citizen insiders of the democratic party who are still fighting the impeachment of clinton, and the stealing of the election from Mr. Gore with gridlock and divisiveness no longer represent us. They need to step aside and let us move forward as a united nation... Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.

Obama is the face of the new political wisdom.

Go with the FUTURE, JOHN!


Posted by: onestring | February 11, 2008 3:25 PM

Despite the political rhetoric from the campaign of Hillary Clinton, the change in personnel is due directly to the fact that Barack Hussein Obama won the political contests in all 4 states on Saturday. The loss was understandable since political contests in 2008 have been dominated by the youth vote.

Now, look at hard, cold facts. 75% of adults between 18 and 24 (inclusively) years of age do not know that most people in Indonesia are Muslim. (Visit for other shocking information about the utter stupidity of young adults.) The ignorance of young adults is disturbing.

Yet, Barack Hussein Obama and his supporters claim that the youthful voters are smart and that they can correctly pick the "best candidate". Obama certainly attracts the youth vote.

If a person is a dummy, he bases his decisions on emotion. He is drawn to the inspirational speeches -- of Barack Hussein Obama.

Political candidates in 2008 cannot win on the basis of experience and voting record. In fact, political contests since the dawn of the American nation have never been decided on substantial criteria.

These contests hinge on superficial criteria like skin color and emotion. In the Democratic party, African-Americans vote exclusively on the basis of skin color.

Further, Barack Hussein Obama has hired skilled speechwriters who write speeches that are in sync with the emotions of the current generation of under-30-years-old adults. They are ignorant ignoramuses. They know nothing about the world -- and cannot locate China on the map. However, they can "shuck and jive" to ghetto music like rap and hip hop.

Obama has, quite effectively, attracted the shucking and jiving youth voter.

So, Clinton must adjust her campaign in order to use emotion-laden speeches (and other approaches) to appeal to the ignoramuses in the Democratic party. Note that, in a general contest between Obama and her, she would easily win. However, the Democratic primary is not a general election. The Democratic caucus (with its racist pressure tactics to vote for the African-American candidates) is even less like a general election.

Clinton could lose the Democratic caucuses even though she would easily win a general election. That is the Ned-Lemont effect. Ned Lemont won the Democratic nomination for the senate seat of Connecticut in 2006. Joseph Lieberman left the Democratic party, in response, and ran as an independent. Lieberman won the Senate seat.

However, Clinton will not leave the Democratic party if she loses in the Democratic nominating process (which is dominated by various fringe groups and one large racist ethnic group).

Posted by: blueboat | February 11, 2008 3:23 PM

You said it alland you said it very well. If I had the money or the means I would do my best to put your post into the hands of every Democrat in the country.
The sad fact is, though, that Billary willstop at NOTHING. They will destroy this man, and with it the hope that he represents. Their strategy, their whole approach to politics needs division and conflict to survive.

Posted by: Marks1153 | February 11, 2008 3:22 PM

I think Edwards needs to ask himself:

(1) what position in the US Government, short of the Presidency, gives him the forum to accomplish his goals (societal, political, ambitious, etc.)?

(2) Second question is which candidate, Clinton or Obama, will appoint/nominate him for that position?

For #1, I'd suggest Attorney General, a good position to be a stepping stone to the Supreme Court.

For #2, Edwards needs to decide.

Posted by: egc52556 | February 11, 2008 3:15 PM

The issues have little to do with winning over Edwards. I bet that both Hillary and Obama are willing to give him the VP slot, promise of Supreme Court or Attorney General for those 26 delegates. Gotta love politics!

Posted by: SWadvocate | February 11, 2008 3:15 PM

Edwards and Hillary are much closer on key policy issues, especially universal health care and the poor.

Obama's health care approach will lead far too many Americans, especially the poor, to go without health insurance to save money. They'll try to "tough it out" and only get medical attention as a last resort, go to the emergency room, and get charged a fortune for sub-standard care.

America needs universal health care and to face up to and solve its poverty problem.

We cannot do everything in America, but we can make sure that no American dies in pain alone in the gutter.

To me, that doesn't seem to be very much to ask of ourselves.

Posted by: svreader | February 11, 2008 3:14 PM

i think edwards is THE ultimate kingmaker in this. his flock may have gravitated to one side or other. but they will reassemble under edwards and follow his recommendation. do not forget who his flock is - working class folks. they tend to be a fairly unsophisticated mix who follow the trusted edwards but do not have strong opinions otherwise. if edwards leads this flock to hillary, she likely blows out ohio, PA and texas as the working class is so heavily represented there. if edwards delivers this block to obama, this is the block obama is missing from his mix - lots of working class voters. it's over for hillary if edwards hits the campaign trail for obama before ohio, TX and PA. finished, over, working class and women is mostly all she has left. take a piece of that and we all write hillary's obituary.

edwards wants something - a job and workers rights "written in blood" his camp says. hillary offers all of the above - she said yesterday edwards can have any job plus all he wants. that means she would make him running mate, AG anything just to get him to help her win. obama would likely hand over workers rights gladly but he is holding out on something - likely a job for edwards as obama may have that committed elsewhere already. so edwards stands back and smokes out obama. he is not smoking out hillary, she already offered all he wants. edwards is rumored to be leaning more obama - but there is something he wants obama is not giving up, so he is laying in wait.

if edwards swings obama, hillary can pack up and go home, it's over. it will tip the scale of the steel workers in PA and ohio, the army of working class folks in those crucial states. but edwards can also break obama if he swings hillary and helps her win the fat delegates there. edwards will determine the outcome. washington post says gore and edwards are both crucial. i disagree on gore. gore is needed, but later in the government. and the gore supporters are already with obama anyway, and the missing working class folks voters want better wages, health care and are largely oblivious to environmental policy, so gore does not matter much aside from being a beauty prize. i am not diminishing gore, he is my big hero. but i think he is irrelevant in swinging the crucial working class votes in Ohio, PA and texas. it's down to edwards deciding the nominee now just due to the big working class folks up for grabs in those crucial states. plus the 26 edwards delegates on top of it.

Posted by: s.germek | February 11, 2008 3:13 PM

In the past seven days Barack Obama has won primaries or caucuses in eighteen states, and with projected wins this week in Virginia and Maryland he will have won twenty states in eight days. He was won all over the country and in states with less than 10 percent African-American population such as Nebraska, Maine, and North Dakota, and states such as Washington and Minnesota with very few African-Americans. His appeal to all Americans of all colors and religions and all parts of the country is vast--and is growing. The Clintons' win-at-all costs, mean-spirited campaign of the politics of personal destruction and tearing down your opponent with rumors, lies, innunendos and race-baiting is wearing on the public. Clinton may be holding her base, but the more the voters get to know Barack Obama the more he expands his. The Clintons will stop at nothing to destroy this man, even if it means destroying the Democratic Party's chances of regaining the White House. Obama is running a campaign of hope, change, inspiration and working together to solve our nation's problems, while the Clintons' are running a campaign of tearing their opponents apart. The American people are smarter than the Clintons think, and all their mud-slinging and dirty campaigning is not going to stop Obama. The American voters see through what the Clintons are doing and are responding with their most powerful weapon: their votes!

If she loves our country as much as she says she does and is not just obsessed with being President, Hillary should return to the Senate, where she would essentially be able to maintain her seat for the rest of her life, and she should take a page from the life of Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy deeply wanted to be President, but he realized that was not in the cards. Love him or hate him, the fact remains that in the last forty-five years no other senator has had more legislation passed for children, minorities, healthcare, women, the environment, the disabled, the poor or for education than Ted Kennedy. Being President is not everything, Hillary, not if you truly do care for those you say you care about.

Posted by: amitai | February 11, 2008 3:10 PM

The timing suggests he will endorse Clinton, or is threatening Obama that he will. He is likely mad over Obama's reported spurning of his overtures for endorsement between Iowa and SC. The endorsement would be well timed for HRC because of the losses she knew she'd take this month. She's aiming for a rebound by firing Solis Doyle, and rolling out this endorsement, and "finding herself" again. Fortunately, his supporters have already reallocated, and Edwards verges on meaningless.

Posted by: ajacobs | February 11, 2008 3:09 PM

I don't mind if John Edwards stays neutral for the remainder of this Democratic Party primary season, but if he throws his support to Hillary Clinton, he will prove to be the Rat of 2008.

Imagine him giving whatever boost he has to the Senator who helped vote us into this unimaginably disastrous war; who couldn't be bothered to read the documents revealing the flimsy nature of the proffered "evidence" for launching it; who attempted to incite racial fear and hatred in the South Carolina primary; who after meeting with him, issued the cheesy public bait announcement that he would have a part in her administration.

All these are typical of Hillary Clinton's approach to anything. Anyone interested in Clinton's modus operandi should carefully note, whenever she leaves a building, which way the wind is blowing. That way she will go.


Posted by: bilwil | February 11, 2008 3:02 PM

In all seriousness, why does he need to endorse any of them.

Posted by: wattsh | February 11, 2008 2:56 PM

Edwards will endorse which ever candidate (Obama or Clinton) promises him a post within the Whitehouse should they win.....He is an opportunist...and nothing more.....trsut me..I'm from NC and know of what I speak....

Posted by: short1 | February 11, 2008 2:50 PM

Like some of the posters, I was an Edwards supporter. But I am leaning towards Obama.

The notion that she is vastly more knowledgable or substantive than he is strikes me as baseless. I have carefully compared their legislative records and he is clearly the more accomplished legislator. I have carefully listened to both of them and he strikes me as very well-informed and MORE intelligent.

More importantly, he is the superior politician and politic is and in a democracy should be more important than policy. The person with the best speaking, organizational and fund-raising skills (Obama) is the most likely to win and get something done.

As to health care, this country must eventually adopt a single payer system. Edwards stated that his proposal, which the two others have adopted, is intended to do that. Obama has expressed similar views.

The mandate issue is a tempest in a teapot. If mandates are required to control costs and improve quality, then it is clear that health care is a collective good and that we need a single payer system. Obama has dispensed with a mandate, recognizing (1) that it will impeded progress and (2) that chances are that insurance companies will wind up being the strongest advocates of this once someone is elected and a serious debate begins. That strikes me as smart. HRC's emphasis on universality, as opposed to cost, strikes me as politically tone deaf. I see a repeat of the fiasco of 1993 if she is in charge.

I would hope that Edwards would endorse Obama as the more likely to win and be effective in office. Also in recognition of the fact that it is time for a President born in the second half of the twentieth century. We don't need a gerontocracy, which is what 24 years of Clinton (b. 1946), Bush (b.1946) and Hillary Clinton (b.1947) would be.

Posted by: mnjam | February 11, 2008 2:50 PM

Bottom Line:

It looks like you got some vote fraud hankypanky, and selling of votes going on in the democratic caucuses. Obama seems to be doing disproportionately well in the caucuses where it is easier to commit vote fraud, and sell votes. Obama has not been doing as well in the non caucus primary's where you can't cheat the vote as easily.

I smell a pole cat. I smell the Karl Rove vote fraud machine at work. This looks like past presidential elections where most voters leaving the poles said they voted for the other guy. But Bush still won. No wonder Obama thinks the republicans have some good ideas. Apparently a lot of republicans are voting for Obama in the democratic caucuses.

The insurance companies, and medical industry that have been ripping you off, and killing you are determined to keep you, the American people from having good universal health care. So it seems they are supporting Obama. Along with the republican vote fraud machine.

This looks like a great story for a team of aggressive investigative reporters. Or maybe some good documentary film makers like Michael Moore, or Oliver Stone.

If I were the Clinton's, I would focus like a laser bean on what has been going on in the democratic caucuses. No wonder the Republicans like Obama so much. Looks like he's their man in the democratic caucuses.

I'm absolutely convinced now that Hillary Clinton is your best choice for good universal health care coverage. And HR 676 (Medicare For All). "Single payer, Tax Supported, Not For Profit, True Universal Health Care" free for all as a right. Like every other developed country in the world has. See:

"HR 676:
For church goers: less money to insur. companies and more to the church- lots more.
Srs on Medicare: save way over $100/wk. Because no more medigap, long term care & dental insur. needed. No more drug bills."

They really think you are all stupid, inattentive cash cows... It may be time to bring back Bad Bill.

Posted by: JackSmith1 | February 11, 2008 2:47 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if he endorsed Clinton; actually I would be the other way around. No one (me included) has a clue what's going to happen...nevertheless, he has always come across as made up and his endorsement probably will make very little difference.

Posted by: maelstrom_uk | February 11, 2008 2:47 PM

I doubt he's "torn." Edwards knows how to leverage his position. By meeting with Hillary first, he puts pressure on Barack to bring a better "offer," so to speak, because losing Edwards to Hillary would be a disappointment and could hurt him. He's coming out a little late, in my view. Still, smart politics, I suppose...

Posted by: mbergerson | February 11, 2008 2:44 PM

Endorsements are so over-rated. How well was John Edwards doing when he was in the race? He was always coming a very, very, very distant third. Same with Richardson, he was not even winning the Hispanic vote when he was in the race? Both dropped out to retain their dignity and avoid further embarassing losses. So what is the big deal?

Posted by: ezboy03 | February 11, 2008 2:41 PM

posted by randymk1:
"A John Edwards endorsement of Hillary Clinton would be fundamentally correct and the general election would be guaranteed.

The challenges our country faces will take much more than inspiration."


You're coo coo for cocoa puffs! An Edwards endorsement of Clinton would be fundamentally incorrect. Edwards disagrees with Clinton on everything except for the pocketbook policies of the Democratic party! To excoriate someone so viciously for their relationship with lobbyists and for being a member of the status quo, and then to turn around and endorse that same person would reek of a behind the door deal that the average voter would immediately catch on to. This would guarantee the general election, it would only ensure that Edwards would lose ALL credibility and would be forever marked as one of the greatest hypocrite politicians in the history of this nation.

You can argue that HRC should be our next president. You're wrong if you do so, but you're certainly entitled to that opinion. You cannot, however, argue that John Edwards is somehow on board with her message.

Posted by: walterbond | February 11, 2008 2:39 PM

Edwards might want to listen to Robert Reich's presentation on Brian Lehrer this morning in which Reich said that Obama's health care plan was much better than Hillary's plan.

Posted by: bernicedunn | February 11, 2008 2:39 PM

I had never been a fan of Edwards, and had generally regarded him as inauthentic and an opportunist who was seeking to capture the "populist" segment of the market. During the campaign I developed a respect for him, and was sorry that he didn't do better: his voice deserved to be heard.
I hope he will do the right thing and endorse Senator Obama. This is such a critical time for the party and the country. With this election we can either choose to rehash the old debates again and capitulate to the politics of sleaze and character assasination, or we can reject all that and get down to the business of solving our problems and reaching our potential.

Posted by: Marks1153 | February 11, 2008 2:38 PM

Despite all their repeated efforts, the Clintons failed to get an endorsement from Ted Kennedy. I cannot see how John Edwards, the fighter against lobbyists, can endorse Hillary who is the only Democratic candidate who takes money from American lobbyists, and even from German lobbyists, as German newspapers confirm.

Posted by: dunnhaupt | February 11, 2008 2:36 PM

I am afraid the "Fix" is in. I fear that Bill Clinton has offered Edwards a lifetime of beauty parlor fees in exchange for Edward's support of the former Goldwater Girl from Illinois, Arkansas, New York.
Lets face it, the Clintons know how to win and Win Dirty.
In the end, McCain will be inaugurated president next January.

Posted by: jdnewman1 | February 11, 2008 2:35 PM

The Edwards factor will be key, at least in the short term.

Posted by: davidmwe | February 11, 2008 2:35 PM

mcmahon10 - Don't fool yourself with that point. Those state lobbyists will become federal lobbyists if a Democrat wins the election and if they have connections to the candidate. That's how lobbyists work.

As for Edwards, I don't see what he has to gain from endorsing either candidate at this point. And I say this as a Clinton supporter. It seems he does more for himself by playing the candidates against themselves until a nominee is chosen.

Posted by: ghokee | February 11, 2008 2:34 PM

The Obama/Edwards meeting that was scheduled for Monday night is off.


Posted by: lrodner | February 11, 2008 2:32 PM

Mudcat Saunders, a close friend and adviser to Edwards, pledged "to do everything [he] can to make sure" John Edwards does not endorse Clinton.

Posted by: Republicus1 | February 11, 2008 2:32 PM

Why doesn't John Edwards just stay out of this. I know he has 26 delegates, but once they're released, they can go to anyone. Seems like Edwards voters have been going to Senator Obama. This is a very busy campaigning time and he's having them come to his mansion to kiss his ring?
Give me a break.

Posted by: GraceMN | February 11, 2008 2:32 PM

A John Edwards endorsement of Hillary Clinton would be fundamentally correct and the general election would be guaranteed.

The challenges our country faces will take much more than inspiration.

Posted by: randymk1 | February 11, 2008 2:17 PM

I don't disagree with any other posters' comments here; they're all pretty accurate. That said, who cares who Senator Edwards endorses? Sure he has 26 delegate votes to play with, but noting else. More than half of his union and elected officials' endorsements went to Mr. Obama in advance of 5 February. He surrendered any significance to his endorsement when he stepped away from the microphone in New Orleans. He is wasting Senators Clinton and Obama's precious campaigning time (unless they're doing drop-by visits in NC) with these foolish meetings.

Posted by: InspectorOh | February 11, 2008 2:13 PM

I am a primary care physician and former supporter of John Edwards. After careful consideration of the issues and attributes of the remaining two cadidates I am now a avid supporter of Hillary Clinton. I am policy and substance driven; I want to see results not rhetoric. We have the chance, for the first time in decades, to push a progressive agenda with a majority in the White House and the Legislature.

I believe that both Senators Clinton and Obama intend to end the war and work hard to repair our relationship with the international community. Clinton's international connections and good standing there is a plus for me.

She is right on health care and Barak Obama's republican-like attempts to scare people away from her universal health care plan is deplorable. The American Nurses Association agrees and has recently given her their endosement.

Barak Obama's connection to the nuclear power industry is also of grave to concern to me. I am not sure if he has taken money from them during the presidential campaign but he has accepted substantial amounts as a Senator. His position on nuclear power as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels and the fact that he does not appeal to the very working class and poor who John Edwards was trying to be a voice for should give Edwards pause should he decide to give out an endorsement.

John Edwards was careful to stay focused on policy and rarely resorted to back handed politics as usual. The press has been on President and Senator Clinton like paparazi on Brittany but little attention is paid to underhanded remarks and methods by Mr Obama and his wife of which there have been many. I also think we need to hear more now about Obama's property deal in Illinois and any other matters of potential ethical concern now instead of later when he is the candidate.I agree with those who feel he has not been properly vetted.

I sincerely hope that John Edwards either waits for this to play out or gives his support to Hillary.


Posted by: pjrussell | February 11, 2008 2:08 PM

No, he hasn't taken any federal lobbyist money. He has taken state lobbyist money. Just like Edwards. When it came to this Presidental election, Obama and Edwards are exactly the same when it comes to accepting money from lobbyists.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | February 11, 2008 2:07 PM

I don't remember Edwards as an angry populist during his time in the Senate. Neither does Feingold, who stated he doesn't remember Edwards that way and has given an interview basically accusing Edwards of making up this character. I do remember him lying down when he debated Dick Cheney. And also making an incredibly sexist remark when Hilary shed a tear in New Hampshire, saying that a President needs strength or something of that nature. There's no way to know, but my guess is that he will endorse whoever promises him the most. If it was about principle, he wouldn't need to meet with them; he knows where they stand.

Posted by: gabriellerner99 | February 11, 2008 2:06 PM

Any speculation as to what, if anything Edwards may do is just that. Some things he may consider however are: Obama's health care plan is not universal, blue-collar, working people overtly support Clinton and, though Obama hasn't taken nearly as much lobbyist money as Clinton, contrary to popular belief, he has taken a substantial amount. I'm sure these issues are weighing heavily in Sen Edwards' decision.

Posted by: brigittepj | February 11, 2008 2:00 PM

I think Edwards endorsing Clinton would be devastating to Edwards. Any progressive positions he has championed would really come to look like he at heart is a sellout. He simply would loose a lot of his credibility (and influence).

Posted by: dan | February 11, 2008 1:59 PM

I'm willing to be the Clinton campaign is offering him the universe - including a possible VP bid - to lure him over, and he's debating whether or not she can even win the nomination, much less the general election.

Posted by: BABucher | February 11, 2008 1:49 PM

Edwards main case was that he was the best equipped to make change in Washington. The change he wanted was getting rid of lobbyists. So he has a decision; support the candidate who is accepting no federal lobbyist money, or the candidate who sopports the lobbyists. His endorsement will show how deep his convictions truly are.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | February 11, 2008 1:41 PM

It is rather sad this drivel represents the very top of our political discourse. Are there no adults left in our political press?

Posted by: zukermand | February 11, 2008 1:36 PM

This must be a challenge for John Edwards, I'm guessing that his heart is leaning towards Obama, but his constituents are within the Clinton camp. Obama has been representing the affluent well educated part of the Democratic party. The populist part of the party which Edwards represents is more aligned with Clintons.


Posted by: jeffboste | February 11, 2008 1:26 PM

I'd be completely shocked if Edwards endorses Hillary. After the tongue-lashing he gave her in each debate? Unless he knows something about those pesky superdelegates that we don't...

Posted by: parkerfl | February 11, 2008 1:19 PM

This whole post is speculation, written in the evident absence of any sources close to Edwards. Frankly, I doubt that Dan Balz knows any more about what Edwards really wants than I do.

What we do know of Edwards is that he devoted himself continuously to the mechanics of getting himself the Democratic Presidential nomination for more than five years, with a brief break when he got the Vice Presidential nomination in 2004. He was the passionate candidate of optimism and hope in the spring of 2004, and the passionate candidate of populism running down the special interests in 2007 and the first few weeks of this year. Now that he is not going to get the nomination we worked so long for, we ought to consider the possibility that he is hesitating now because he doesn't know himself what he wants to ask either Clinton or Obama for.

Posted by: jbritt3 | February 11, 2008 1:03 PM

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