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Is Edwards the True Anti-Hillary?

Ever since Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) made clear last year that he would enter the 2008 presidential race, the contest has been cast as a two-person affair between a Clinton and an anti-Clinton.

John Edwards
Former Sen. John Edwards.

The "Clinton" is this case is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the establishment favorite for the nomination from the get-go thanks to her organizational and financial heft. Obama, with his message of a shakeup of the political status quo coupled with his unexpectedly strong fundraising ability, has widely been seen as the candidate best positioned to fill the anti-Clinton role.

But, as the political year has progressed, Clinton has widened her lead both nationally and in the majority of early primary states. Meanwhile, Obama has struggled to translate the politics of hope into a cohesive political strategy that can keep Clinton from the nomination. (For more on that struggle, make sure to read legendary Post columnist David Broder's piece today.)

All of which leads us to wonder whether we've misidentified the real anti-Clinton candidate in the field. Is it possible that moniker rightly belongs to former Sen. John Edwards(N.C.) rather than Obama?

Let's examine the evidence.

Clinton has been rocked back on her heels only twice in this campaign. (That, in and of itself, is a remarkable achievement.)

The first time came at the YearlyKos forum in Chicago where Clinton was forced into a halting defense of lobbyists -- "A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans," she said.

Who forced her into that slip-up? Edwards, who earlier in the forum had proposed that all of the candidates on stage pledge not to accept any more contributions from Washington lobbyists. Edwards tag-teamed with Obama to force Clinton into a corner but it was the former North Carolina senator's impassioned speech against the lobbyist culture in Washington that had primed the pump for the attack.

The second time Clinton found herself on the defensive was when she tried to explain her vote recommending that the Iranian Revolutionary guard be designated a terrorist organization by President Bush.

Who first alleged that Clinton's vote was the first step in authorizing the use of military force against Iran and a possible repeat of the same mistakes made in Iraq? Edwards. The former Senator brought it up in a debate in New Hampshire the same night the vote was cast. Edwards noted that both he and Clinton supported the 2002 use of force resolution against Iraq but "we learned a very different lesson from that. I have no intention of giving George Bush the authority to take the first step on the road to war with Iran."

Edwards was the first person to use Clinton's Iran vote against her. What happened in the intervening few weeks demonstrates the challenge he faces in turning this race into a three-way affair.

Although Obama did not vote on the Iran measure (he was in New Hampshire), he has quickly moved to capitalize on Clinton's potential vulnerability. Not only has he ramped up his rhetoric on the stump as it relates to Iran and Iraq, he has also sent out a direct mail piece in Iowa drawing attention to the fact that he is the lone top tier candidate to oppose both the 2002 Iraq measure and the Iran legislation. Obama's mailer came just days after Clinton had sent out one of her own, seeking to explain to Iowa voters why she supported the bill.

The Iowa mailbox war reinforces the idea that this race is really a contest between Clinton and Obama -- with Edwards running a noble but ultimately second-teir candidacy. Edwards fed that two-person dynamic with his decision earlier this month to accept public financing for the primaries -- a move that caps his spending in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire, making it very difficult for him to keep up with the extremely well-financed efforts of Clinton and Obama.

So, while recent evidence suggests that it is Edwards not Obama who is best carrying the anti-Clinton message, it may not matter all that much when the actual votes are cast. Due to the underlying dynamics of the race -- the organizational and financial strengths of Clinton and Obama -- Edwards may wind up getting very little credit for the efficacy of his messaging. In fact, Obama may actually benefit from Edwards strongly carrying the anti-Clinton message as it ensures voters are aware of the potential problems with her candidacy while not blaming Obama for breaking his pledge to not engage in traditional negative campaign tactics.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 25, 2007; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: The Line: Open-Seat Advantage for House Dems?



Thanks for the explanation, in passing, as to why the media fixates on Clinton and Obama, with Edwards as the "mercy candidate."

Here's a stood question: as a journalist, does it bother you that you and your colleagues have decided the Democratic candidates BEFORE a single primary vote has been cast? Don't you think your job should be to present all major candidates equally until voters narrow the field?

Hooray for Clinton that she has money and connections. That Obama has raised a lot of money. But I bet much of their success so far has been helped, if not created, by the media insistence on picking candidates prior to actual votes.

This country is messed up. Limiting candidates, putting your thumb on the scale to favor candidates, it only makes democracy harder. I'd suggest you focus on at least the top six I'd seven candidates and let the primary voters decide. Certainly it's a less arrogant and self-absorbed approach.

Posted by: TimS1 | October 29, 2007 1:39 AM | Report abuse

John Edwards is the next, "COME BACK KID!"
He has been most practical. He has been most specific in ideas. He has been most sincere in his intentions.
Hillary is riding on Bill's coat tails. John Edwards is riding his own "self-made" accomplishments.
John Edwards represents true opportunities for change. Hillary and tag-a-long Bill represent more of the same ol' political game.
I like Bill Clinton. But folks need to realize "he" won't be the president. Hillary will....if she wins.
May God forbid!

Posted by: DIVOTBILLY | October 26, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind having a woman president. But I do want to elect someone that is competent. Hillary Clinton has been a lousy senator. She has not acheived any major successes for the American people as senator.

She has however managed to help send our troops to Iraq. She has the blood of our troops on her hands.

Hillary Clinton has also managed to get rich from filling her pockets with the money of special interest groups and lobbyists.

Plus, how can she run this country if she can not teach her husband how to keep his zipper up?

Posted by: AndreaT1 | October 26, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm... while running for President, a young, idealistic, wealthy man, with limited political experience visits some of the most heart-wrenching sites of poverty in America, to point out the disparity between the two Americas: one with healthcare, safe housing, schools, running water, jobs, food, electricity... as a war raged on and casualties mounted. Lots of politicians made the same kind of trip, but "the people of the region remember [his] as the most meaningful, his person the most understanding and best listener. People often cite his large family, his warmth, and his genuine concern when they talk about his effect on them, and speak of the way he brought hope..."

Perhaps Edwards is less the "anti-Hillary", but the new Robert F. Kennedy, as that is about whom the graph above refers.

The whole quote reads: "Kennedy's tour of the region was not a unique event: his brother John had planned to come in December of 1963, Johnson came in 1964 and, in later years, Nixon, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Paul Wellstone, and Jesse Jackson all conducted "poverty tours" that included eastern Kentucky. Of these, the people of the region remember RFK's as the most meaningful, his person the most understanding and best listener. People often cite his large family, his warmth, and his genuine concern when they talk about his effect on them, and speak of the way he brought hope, hope that was dispelled a few months later, with his assassination in June of 1968."

It is interesting that people compare the excitement they feel for Barack Obama and John Edwards to the Kennedy brothers, John and Bobby. Neither Bill or Hillary elicit such comparisons. Bill might have bitten his lip and felt our pain, but Hope was just the town he was from.

Perhaps we should be asking if Hillary is the new Leona Helmsly.

Obama/Edwards '08!

Posted by: jade7243 | October 26, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

There are so many differences between Edwards and the other Democrats that it is a clear cut choice. Edwards is, and always has been, a church going decent man. He and his wife have attended the same Methodist chruch for years, every Sunday, not just when elections make it expediant. He is, and always has been, a genuine populist, concerned about jobs. And he has been forced to take public matching funds becasue he doesn't get big money from Wall Street yuppies and assorted crooks. Take a look at who gives money to Clinton and even Obama! Both of them receive the vast majority of their donations as maximum allowable money not just from Wall Street types and corporations, but from under aged children, foreign governments, illegals, dead people! Don't you people read!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 26, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The 'anti-Hillary' candidate will be whichever of these two candidates is still standing after the other falls. Pragmatically speaking, it's not about their messages or style of attack. It's about how they poll and how much support they draw.

I suspect that as we grow very close to the actual voting, there will be intense pressure for one of these 2 guys to drop out so that there can actually be an anti-Hillary. What she probably wants is a wide field for as long as possible. That way a plurality is always an option. Having either Edwards or Obama suddenly drop out would be a total nightmare for her campaign.

Posted by: JacksonLanders | October 26, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Interesting post, dave. There's a good opinion article in today's WaPo Faith section about John Edwards and the coveted Faith and Values Portfolio (FVP) that every candidate wants to have nowadays.

"John Edwards, come to think of it, occupies a storied place in the history of FVPs. The campaign he ran with John Kerry was the Chernobyl of the Faith and Values Industry. Kerry/Edwards 2004 is a cautionary tale. It is the very reason that all Democratic contenders have been polishing their portfolios, churching-up, citing the Scriptures and hiring consultants with advanced degrees in theology.

This having been said, let it be noted that when it comes to religious imaging, Edwards himself is quite impressive. As for the narrative, he speaks quite convincingly of growing up in the small-town, church-going America of Georgia and the Carolinas. He reports that he drifted away from religion until a family tragedy reawakened his faith.

Dwelling on his non-privileged past (as opposed to his privileged present) he can speak fairly convincingly of working class values. These values have been desecrated, he argues, by the policies of the current administration. As with all Democratic hopefuls, he will thump the Bible and he will identify poverty--not homosexuality or abortion--as its abiding priority.

A pious, Dixie Democrat is the gold standard in presidential races and Edwards knows fully well how to exploit his regional assets. Less heady than Obama and far more at ease discussing faith than Clinton, Edwards could charm a room of (undecided) Red State folks with his breezy, like-my-pastor-always-says oratory. Connecting with White Evangelicals is crucial in a general election, and he could most likely best his two rivals at this game.

In terms of his vision of religion's role in public life, he is no George W. Bush -- and no Michael Dukakis either. All the Democratic frontrunners have understood that the electorate is uncomfortable with both extreme secularism and the theocratic Will to Power of the Christian Right. Like all Democrats, Edwards attempts to walk a middle ground--a strategy whose motto I describe as "God? Yes! Theocracy? No!"

Yet even with his good religious imaging. John Edwards is flagging in the polls. My impression is that Democratic voters care infinitely more about winning this election than about the particular politician who will lead them to victory. That politician, they seem to agree, is Hillary Clinton.

All this, alas, reminds us yet again of an important lesson. While a good Faith and Values Portfolio is essential to modern presidential campaigning, it is not enough to win a party's nomination."

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 26, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"But if Edwards' ideas were successful..." And therein lies part of the problem. We don't know if any of his ideas would be successful or if they would be successful in the way he (and the next several administrations) would run them. LBJ had the grand idea to eliminate poverty and, since this is Edwards claim to fame for this run, it apparently was not successful. But it was hugely expensive. So I think that it would be more expensive than even I think. This reminds me of the Soviet Union's string of unsuccessful 5 year plans. It's not that I don't think that there is merit in many of his ideas, there may be. But I think that poverty in DC and poverty in Appalachia require different solutions and that those most intimately familiar with the problems would know best. Those are your neighbors, church, community, county and state.

Philosophically, my thing is that when you let the Feds do it, you, by default, lift the responsibilty from the individual. The thought is "Well, the governement is fighting poverty and I'm paying all these taxes so I am doing my share." You hear it all the time - "Why doesn't the govt do something about this or that?" My question to people when they ask that is "What are YOU doing about it?"

You are correct that getting people out of poverty helps everybody. But the fact is that there are going to be people living in poverty regardless of what anybody does because of bad choices, bad luck, or a personality that won't do the things necessary to lift you out of your hole. The Fed needs to help the locals find the appropriate ladder for those in the hole but trying to make people climb it is up to the person.

Finally, my last issue is how the poverty numbers are determined. In 2006, my poverty threshold was 24,059. If I was living in Jackson, MS, that 24K would go almost twice as far as if I was living in San Francisco. Therefore, I would be a lot poorer in Frisco. But the Feds, as best as i can tell, use one number for all the 48 contiguous states to calculate the number of poor people. Cost of living varies by county much less state. The point is that we know that the current number of people living in poverty is inaccurate. We don't know if it is more or less because we are not taking in cost of living. We need to prioritize any help we give people (regarless of whether it is Fed/State/local) to help the poorest first. I don't know that we can even to that. But I'm sure John Edwards has a plan.

Posted by: dave | October 26, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"I am really sick of this. Too bad you aren't in the same room with me, coward -- I would bash you senseless."

Posted by: claudialong | October 26, 2007 08:35 AM

Geez, drindl. Threatening physical violence now, are we? Maybe you forgot to take your pill this morning or something. You know, I always notice you telling those with opposing views how much hatred they have, and how they are filled with venom and bile. Seems like the pot calling the kettle black to me.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 26, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Dave, several of those initiatives would help the middle class and society as a whole. Improvements to education help to make our country more prosperous; look at the GI bill after WW2. Fighting teen pregnancy and improving healthcare bring down health care costs for everyone. And eliminating poverty would also help reduce crime, which is very expensive.

I'm not saying that anti-poverty initiatives pay for themselves, at least not in the short term. But if Edwards' ideas were successful, they'd help reduce government expenditures in other areas, and increase the tax base by allowing more people to have good, knowledge-based jobs. So it's not as expensive as you think, in the long run.

Posted by: Blarg | October 26, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Edwards is not talking about battling poverty in the same way as Oprah or the Gates'. They use their own money or volutary donations and try to use them effectively. Edwards wants to end poverty by 2036 and talks about how we have gotten away from LBJs war on poverty and how we need to make it THE priority of the US Government. To do that, some of his proposals include the following:
- increase the reward for working by raising the minimum wage to at least $9.50 an hour by 2012 and then indexing it, tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for adults without children and cutting the EITC marriage penalty.
- Create One Million Stepping Stone Jobs
- Create a Million New Housing Vouchers
- Revitalize Devastated Neighborhoods
- Create New Work Bonds
- Strengthen Public Schools
- a College for Everyone program
- Home Visits for New Parents
- Invest in Family Literacy
- Fight Teen Pregnancy

Now my question to you is where the money to pay for all of this is coming from? Can't say rolling back the Bush tax cuts because he is planning on his own tax cuts for the "middle class". You could say Iraq but it's not like that is responsible spending to begin with. There is no way that a new war on poverty is going to be funded like the current war in Iraq. Edwards will need to raise taxes on more than just the rich. The burden will be placed on Middle class people like me.

Posted by: dave | October 26, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

parkerfl writes
"But an anti-Hillary can't win the general..."

That prediction does not bode well for the GOP. All of their candidates are trying to cast themselves as the most 'anti Hillary'.

Posted by: bsimon | October 26, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

'Well, Biden is a Democrat running for president. Democrats, particularly party activists who will attend the caucuses, are loathe to back anybody they even suspect might support the war in Iraq.'

I am really sick of this. Too bad you aren't in the same room with me, coward -- I would bash you senseless.

Posted by: drindl | October 26, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

dave and others criticizing edwards for being a lawyer: dude, they are ALL lawyers--edwards and his wife, obama and his wife, and clinton and her husband all have law degrees.
i'd like to reply to all the smearing of edwards in general, but it could take all day. his wealth--that's the american dream. if he wants to turn around and help people the way oprah or bill gates or princess di or the other countless wealthy people do, then hats off. he's not talking about taking your money and giving it to the poor, but protecting the poor from being kept poor by strengthening the middle class and increasing opportunity. he started a think tank on poverty so that we can use the best solutions possible. sometimes it's just about making sure government works to not hurt the poor and his helping effectively. i was listening to kojo nnamdi today, discussing the farm bill and food stamps. here in dc, most who do not have enough food are elderly and children, and not people who as many would believe are lazy and not working hard enough and living off of government handouts instead.
as for the hedge fund thing, the people here who criticize it must not be from the washington area, even if you are reading the washington post. consulting for banks, being ambassadors for universities, etc., this is what retired politicians do. they use their political connections to help people get connected with potential clients, federal grant money, etc. if edwards wants to get into the belly of the beast to find out how money really flows in the market, so be it. taking a class is just not the same as what goes on in the real world--like half of what i learned in college.
if you are interested in volunteering your time and talents rather than your money, this is why edwards started onecorps. his plans typically provide for ways for ordinary citizens to volunteer their time and talents.
finally, i'd like to point out the error in the article: edwards criticized hillary on iran in a statement, but in the debate, it was poor old gravel who stuck it to hillary on iran. hillary's response: a loud, long cackle, followed by a dodgy answer.

Posted by: kenshin1 | October 25, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Edwards can turn a red state into a blue state. In an Oklahoma survey, he is outpolling all the Republican candidates, as well as all the Democratic candidates.

Edwards is challenging Hillary on substantive issues. Hillary started out a Goldwater fan and is showing her true corporatist colors. Edwards has been fighting for the individual citizen against crews of corporate lawyers all his life.

Edwards is genuine; he could have compromised with a few more interest groups and had a much easier time raising money and getting heard. He is taking the high road--the harder road--so I support him enthusiastically.

Posted by: CyberCitizen | October 25, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Most New Yorkers will tell you that Hillary Clinton has not done much of anything significant for them as their senator of New York. And she has not done much of anything significant for the country either. She has however filled her pockets full of special interest and lobbyist money and she does indeed have the blood of our troops on her hands since she authorized Bush to send our beloved troops to Iraq. Don't be insane, do not place a vote for Hillary Clinton, she by no means deserves to be the next President.

To determine how Mr. Obama is doing in the race, go by actual fact, not polls. Political polls this year are quite unreliable indicators -- especially in regard to Mr. Obama's success.

The truth is that Mr. Obama is running a record setting campaign. He is making history.

-- He has raised more money to date than any other candidate for President has ever done.

-- He has the most organized and invloved grassroots campaign going.

-- He is drawing more people to his rallys than any other candidate, probably in history.

-- He has the broadest voter support than any other candidate in the race. He has Independents, Republicans, Democrats, and people of all races and ages planning to vote for him in their primaries.

So you can't go by those unreliable national polls being done, you have got to go by the actual facts to see who is actually winning this race. Based on the facts -- Barack Obama is winning.

Obama '08

Posted by: AndreaT1 | October 25, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Of course Edwards is the "real" anti-Hillary. But an anti-Hillary can't win the general...

Posted by: parkerfl | October 25, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

nice read chris! edwards poll numbers will rise as obama's go down. i hope he can do it. and he is the sure thing against any gop nominee. =)

Posted by: lbutcherwv | October 25, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

What staes would Obama win

J Edwards said he is going to campaign in all 50 STATES !!

Hillary and Obama can start at Ohio and go over to Iowan and Nebaska and Colorado and include all the states south to Texas and then move on over to LA, MISS, AL GA TN SC NC VA, West VA Kty. Indiana all those states if you look at a map all will go to Republicans if Obama or Hillary are the Dem. choice... I am just trying to educate myself on who has the best chance to win=

John Edwards hands down !

Posted by: sbarber75 | October 25, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary get the touch from God- What will the commericals be from the Republicans? Do we not remember the LIES, the SCANDALS, all the DRAMA, ADULTERY around this family=time to move on.

Republicans are really scared of JOHN EDWARDS !! Hillary has enough baggage they can have commericals for decades to come to kill her campaign dead in water.


National Poll=you got to love the usa today and CNN poll= 386 people polled and it is a national poll=what a joke.

Posted by: sbarber75 | October 25, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards did not "take" money from Rupert Murdoch (as alleged above, Murdoch being, of course, a backer of Fox News). Edwards was in contract with the publishing house Harper Collins I believe, prior to Murdoch's acquisition of it. He & Murdoch did not negotiate this deal, and I doubt Murdoch even knew about the deal until later. Edwards was paid an advance of $500,000, which he gave to charity. This is a far, far cry from taking money from Murdoch.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton actually took contributions from Murdoch.

Whose hands were really in the cookie jar?

Oh, and it's such baloney about Edwards not being able to relate to the poor because he's a millionaire. He's a self-made man, never was handed anything, and worked hard for his money. He did not forget his modest roots. One does not have to "be" poor to understand the plight of the poor. And he is absolutely the only one of the top three who can really relate to the middle class, which is in real trouble of simply disappearing.

Posted by: amc6541 | October 25, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris, have you not learned not to rely so heavily on polling, especially national ones?
For one, we have Mark penn, a guy who makes Rove look tame and a pollster who is most likely manipulating them, and you guys never say that over 70% of the democrats have not decided yet.
But, Edwards is not my choice. I am an Obama supporter. However, if Edwards succeeds I will gladly support him. Actually, I will gladly support any of our candidates except for Hillary.
If she is the nominee I leave the party and refuse to vote for her period.

Posted by: vwcat | October 25, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

OK, Tangent Police here, taking us back to the original topic...

Obama is running out of time. Those of us who have been long-time-Obama-leaning-fence-sitters are getting frustrated by his unwillingness to pick a fight.

His strategy of letting Edwards do his dirty work is a) not enough to knock her down, and b) no way to get me to vote for him.

If he won't fight Hillary, how can I have any confidence that he'll fight the real enemy? (no, I'm not talking about the terrorists, I'm talking about the Republicans.)

Posted by: patrick | October 25, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Edwards or Clinton is a false choice. They are both shades of gray.

The only credible candidate is Dennis Kucinich. He is the only one who fought the illegal Iraqi occupation since the beginning and the only one who would not authorize any funding to continue the madness. He is the only candidate not in the pocket of K Street lobbyists.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | October 25, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

OK, Tangent Police here, taking us back to the original topic...

Obama is running out of time. Those of us who have been long-time-Obama-leaning-fence-sitters are getting frustrated by his unwillingness to pick a fight.

His strategy of letting Edwards do his dirty work is a) not enough to knock her down, and b) no way to get me to vote for him.

If he won't fight Hillary, how can I have any confidence that he'll fight the real enemy? (no, I'm not talking about the terrorists, I'm talking about the Republicans.)

Posted by: patrick | October 25, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Dear Chris Cilliza,

Keep this up and someone might accuse mainstream media of showing signs of balance and honest journalism.

Posted by: theman_in_black | October 25, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

EXACTLY why this police officer made America's only politically CONSERVATIVE music CD! When Edwards 'spoke out against them' I thought he might have been referring to the Iranian threats--he was referring to US again. What a moron-and I say it in song--about him, Hillary, Ward Churchill and the gang. 1 of a kind stuff @

Posted by: Truscott1 | October 25, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

"Did The White House Miss A Chance To Catch OBL Again?
By: Nicole Belle @ 12:14 PM - PDT Boy, even FOX News analysts are calling the Bush Administration (and the military generals-Watch out!) incompetent.

I have to admit that this story seemed completely buried until I heard it this morning on the Stephanie Miller Show. I only found one MSM story on it, which I don't remember seeing at the time, and I get MSNBC news alerts constantly. Maybe the press should try doing their job and ask a few questions at the next presser??? I'd think that it would be in the public's interest to know how well we are going after known enemies before they create even more in Iran, wouldn't you?

Col. David Hunt (ret.) on (I'm citing the relevant portion if you don't want to give them the hits):

Besides, these things are of little consequence when you realize how we missed, squandered, screwed up, made a mess of and were massively risk adverse - again - when we did not kill Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan just two short months ago.

We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty - which is huge in the world of intelligence - that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world's best hunters/killers - Seal Team 6 - nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it. Nice job again guys - now, pull the damn trigger.

Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.

You cannot make this crap up; truth is always stranger and more telling than fiction. Our government, the current administration and yes, our military leaders included, failed to kill bin Laden for no other reason than incompetence.

The current "boneheads" in charge will tell you all day long that we are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan to stop terrorists there so they do not come here. Nice talk, how about - just for a moment - acting like you mean what you say? You know walk the walk. These incidents, where we displayed a total lack of guts, like the one in August, are just too prevalent. The United States of America's political and military leadership has, on at least three separate occasions, chosen not capture or kill bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahri. We have allowed Pakistan to become a safe haven for Al Qaeda. We have allowed Al Qaeda to reconstitute, partially because of money they (Al Qaeda in Iraq) have been sending to Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

I'm waiting for Boehner to introduce a resolution censuring Col. Hunt now...

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 25, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Everybody is anti-hillary except for MSM.

Posted by: gbuze007 | October 25, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Iowans care about experience and results. Edwards and Obama are both lacking in both areas. The race in Iowa is going to come down to Hilary and Biden. You want proof? See the attached Des Moines Register article on Biden noting that two Iowa National Guard members lives were saved by the newly designed vehicles they were riding in. This shows the kind of experience and results that Iowans are looking for, even if the national media did not see fit to cover this story.

Published October 21, 2007

Carlson: Biden takes a hit by funding vehicle that saved Iowans

You probably didn't hear or read about four soldiers from an Ottumwa-based Iowa National Guard unit being wounded in Iraq a few days ago.

It rated only four paragraphs in the paper, which is probably understandable given there were not many details available - including the soldiers' names.

The Iowans were wounded when an improvised explosive device - a roadside bomb - exploded next to their vehicle during a patrol near the Iraqi city of Samarra. Two of the soldiers were injured seriously enough to be flown to a military hospital at Landstuhl, Germany. The two other members of the 833rd Engineer Company were treated in Iraq and returned to duty.

Here's what initial news reports didn't say:

"They were in an RG-31 armored vehicle," said Lt. Col. Gregory Hapgood, chief spokesman for the Iowa National Guard. "If they'd been in a Humvee, they would have been killed. A Humvee couldn't have withstood the explosion."

You could call it "Exhibit A" in the argument over whether to build more of the state-of-the-art armored vehicles for use by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not that you would think such a thing would be a point of political controversy. But it is, and you can ask Joe Biden if you don't believe it.

More than any other member of Congress, the Delaware senator has pushed for funding and construction of thousands of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles - including the RG-31 - the type that saved the Iowa soldiers last week.

Why would championing these things cost a politician, when they are certain to protect American troops?

Well, Biden is a Democrat running for president. Democrats, particularly party activists who will attend the caucuses, are loathe to back anybody they even suspect might support the war in Iraq.

Biden opposes the war, and it's not just jabbering. He's come up with a plan to divide Iraq into three semi-independent regions with a strong central government and a fair split of oil revenues. It may be the best idea yet to resolve the ugly situation and get U.S. troops home.

Biden's political problem: He cast a Senate vote in May in favor of a supplementary appropriations bill to continue funding the war. The sole reason is because the bill included funding for buying MRAP vehicles.

There was, as they say, hell to pay. Especially because Democrat presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Christopher Dodd all voted against the bill. Those candidates support appropriations for the MRAP, just not when it is specifically tied to an Iraq war funding bill. Their spinning translation? Biden voted for the funding, therefore he supports the war.

Biden says the vote made him "the bastard at the family picnic." Anti-war activists held "Impeach Biden" signs when he visited Iowa City. His staffers warned he would "get his skin ripped off" if he attended an event in Council Bluffs.

All because of the vote. And he says he doesn't care.

"As long as there's one American kid over there, I'm voting the money for these things," Biden said in a chat the other day during a stop in Des Moines. "It's the one way we can save lives before getting them out."

He got an education a couple of years ago, during his fifth trip to Iraq, when he saw one of the relatively few MRAP vehicles in the country. Then he talked to some soldiers about an MRAP that had been hit by a roadside bomb. It was a large vehicle known as a Cougar and it had taken a direct hit. Soldiers explained to Biden it had been thrown 25 feet straight up and sustained massive damage. The soldiers inside were shaken, but all walked away.

Like the situation with the Iowa soldiers, the vehicle saved their lives.

The MRAP vehicles are built with a V-shaped undercarriage that deflects shrapnel from mines and roadside bombs from the passenger compartment.

The military estimates that MRAP vehicles would prevent from between 68 percent and 80 percent of deaths and injuries from the roadside bombs, as compared to armored Humvees.

"Seventy percent of all the kids killed or wounded are from IEDs," Biden said. "If you can extend life expectancy by 80 percent by having MRAPs, how can you not fund it?"

Then he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket, checked the numbers, and gave a startling bit of information.

"From March of 2003 to July 19, 2007, if we'd had MRAP vehicles in Iraq it's reasonable to say that between 938 and 1,120 Americans who were killed by IEDs would still be alive."

Manufacture of the new vehicles is under way, largely because Biden became such a pain in the neck to his congressional colleagues on the issue. So far, $23.6 billion has been appropriated for building and deploying 18,000 MRAPs in Iraq. Ideally, they would replace all of the Army's up-armored Humvees in the country.

Biden promises to keep up the fight to see that funding continues.

"It's cost me politically," Biden said. "But some things are worth losing elections over. This is one."

You can bet the four Iowa National Guard soldiers who were wounded last week and their families would agree.

Columnist John Carlson can be reached at (515) 284-8204 or

Posted by: dobrien | October 25, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Edwards is the anti-hillary. But he is to liberla to get elceted at this time, unfortunatly. Sen. Obama walks that line very nicely. I wish he would lean a little closer to edwards and the major issues. But YOU SOMETIMES HAVE TO COMPROMISE. Do you hear that gop. COMPROMISE. Learn it.

Sorry, to my fix readers/fans, that I haven't been posting. I've been trying to take O'Reilly down all day. Using this:

"Bill O'Reilly asserted: "[I]t seems to me, and the studies indicate, that most teachers -- high school and college in the United States -- are left-wingers. That they bring in a anti-American viewpoint to the sense that they don't preach about the nobility of America, they teach about the deficits."

Most american teachers hate america? WOW. We'll see how far that get's him.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 25, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Chris, in answer to your question -- YES, Edwards is the anti-Hilliary in the primary. And yes, he should be the one the national media is covering as such, but they haven't until now. Thank you, Thank you for reporting it. I wish more in the national media would see this dynamic and report it.

Fortunately, the local media in Iowa IS covering Edwards as the legitimate candidate that he is. You don't hear much about it but the race in Iowa is tight even though Edwards hasn't run TV commercials like Hilliary and Obama. It's actually pretty impressive that the race is as tight as it is considering he hasn't spent anywhere near what Hilliary and Obama have spent and he is getting little to no national coverage. For the folks in Iowa they have seen up close and personal the differences between Edwards & Hilliary and a lot of them evidently like what they see.

Hilliary is corporate America's candidate and Edwards is not. Hilliary is the establishment candidate and Edwards is not. All of those insiders who have done well in the last decade don't want an Edwards to rock the boat and they are spending lots of money in donations to make sure that he doesn't. They know that Hilliary will only change things on the margins but that Edwards will change things dramatically. That kind of change is very threatening to these people. One of the bloggers recently wrote that Edwards is up against entrenched interests on both sides of the aisle that don't want him as the nominee. If the American people really knew what this election was about Edwards would win in a landslide. I agree.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | October 25, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the Cillizza Channel... all Hillary all the time.

For the record and in the interest of full disclosure, I am a card-carrying, full-fledged unapologetic Barack Obama supporter and proud to be one. Also for the record, 2004 I supported John Edwards and he is my second choice in 2008. Third choice is anybody but Hillary.

Cillizza, if he really wanted to identify the true anti-Hillary candidate would have chosen -- wait for it -- Dennis Kucinich. It's Dennis Kucinich who can really take Hillary to task for everything from Iraq, Iran, healthcare, NAFTA, NoChildLeftBehind (because "childrens do learn"), Katrina, campaign finance and just about everything else. (Confession: If he were a little taller, I'd vote for the little guy. (sound effect = rim shot) But seriously, folks...I gotta tell ya...)

If the media experts gave him equal time, he'd clean Hillary's clock. But instead, the pundits set up these pro-Hillary stories all the time, even when they are ostensibly about someone else. What the pundits don't get is the growing queasiness of voters who can't stomach the idea of another Clinton in the White House, even with Bill pulling the strings ("Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"). As we get closer to the election, voters will take some Pepto-Bismal and voter for any non-Hillary.

Now, my ideal ticket is Obama/Edwards, and I'd press for these two thinking guys to find a place in the Cabinet for Rep. Kucinich. His bold ideas are needed, and perhaps among the three of them, big change can happen.

Posted by: jade7243 | October 25, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

From the gitgo, John Edwards has produced substantive proposals - while Hillary and Obama produced gimmicky sex and gun videos - then later copied Edwards plans.

The corporate media promoted a 2 yr senator as a rockstar purporting to take on Washington - after he had ENDOR$ED warmonger Lieberman and voted with Repubs for every war funding bill UNTIL he began running for prez.

It's becoming clearer to many WHY Obama changed his mind about running for prez.

There's a reason the Clintons got in bed with a media mogul who helped defeat Gore and Kerry - and impeach Clinton.
If Hillary would win on her own merits - the media wouldn't be promoting her and smearing John Edwards 24/7.

Posted by: annefrank | October 25, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards is a two-time loser who's only spikes in fundraising and poll numbers since announcing his bid for the presidency again came when his wife went public with her cancer diagnosis (press conference drama! would he drop out?), and when his wife mixed it up with Anne Coulter on live tv; Elizabeth Edwards claimed Coulter had launched unprovoked attacks on the Edwards' dead son and called for a terrorist attack on her husband.

Aside from that, his populism hasn't exactly caught fire.

Here's a thought. How about pairing John Edwards with... John Edwards for '08?

from another blogger.....

"The pairing of Sen. John Edwards the lawyer with John Edwards the paranormal medium is a marriage made in heaven, literally. When John Edwards the lawyer tells the country he hears the voices of dead soldiers speaking to him from the grave, John Edwards the paranormal medium call tell us which soldiers, give us their names, tell us if they are conferring with soldiers who died on the battlefield in any number of previous wars and then demand George Bush listen to their advice." Their" being the advice of the Dead Soldiers Committee Group, the DSCG, as communicated through the country's personal paranormal medium, John Edwards."

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 25, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

every day I am more satisfied with John Edwards' candidacy-he will make a great President-Hillary is a female form of George Bush-a bought and paid for politician-a gatekeeper of corporations-Edwards embodies the beliefs of MILLIONS of us-he is not a phony-Hillary is the phony-it is Bill Clinton's policies and behavior that has harmed America-Nafta has hurt our economy and his personal behavior enabled a Republican win with our current nightmare President-It is time to end this Clinton/Bush dynasty-this is AMERICA, not ENGLAND-we don't want kings or queens.

Posted by: jeanruss | October 25, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"The WAPO and NY Times have been irresponsible in conferring upon her the title of the "inevitable" nominee, and not covering the other candidates, especially Edwards." - couldn't agree more.

As for Edwards choice to accept public financing for the primary - what with many of the primaries coming early and grouped together, it's not like he'll need longterm primary operations as in past years.

SEIU, one of the nations largest unions, in 10 major states, have endorsed Edwards -this was fairly recent in case it wasn't in the MS press. If the press would cover Edwards the way they have covered Thompson, then we would have a race. But the Rupert Murdochs of the world want Hillary or Rudy. What's that tell ya. Often the news is what you don't read in the papers.

Posted by: tourist4earth | October 25, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

More to the point, perhaps, than "dislike", many Ds around here think HRC, singularly, would hurt their rebuilding effort.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 25, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I cannot tell about Ds any more than I can about Rs. None of my D friends dislike Edwards, but many dislike HRC.

If Edwards is the "populist" D, and HRC is the "DLC" D, they could serve, in that respect, as "opposites".

bsimon declared the abandoned "Davis won't run" thread as open for off-topic posts. I sent one to AggieMike. [gig 'em?]

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 25, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Re: "Clinton has been rocked back on her heels only twice in the campaign"

I beg to differ. If the MSM would focus on substantive issues in the campaign, rather than poll numbers and money, there are likely other situations that have become sticky for the Queen, but have not been covered by the media. I can think of one off the top of my head involving the person in Iowa who asked her a innocent question about her vote for confering terriorist status on the Iran Revolutionary Guard, and her rude response to the question.

Clinton is running her campaign by not saying anything at this point, because she does not want to take any shots from her opponents or press. I don't think this will last, if both Edwards and Obama turn up the heat on her and stop treating her as if she is an incumbent president.

The WAPO and NY Times have been irresponsible in conferring upon her the title of the "inevitable" nominee, and not covering the other candidates, especially Edwards.

Posted by: bringbackimus | October 25, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Do you hear a fat lady singing? I surely don't. John Edwards is very much in this race; the thought of his becoming our next president is the worst nightmare of the GOP and business-as-usual corporate Democrats.

Edwards is indeed the candidate of substance who offered substantive, detailed policy proposals early on. I smile when I encounter the assumption that Edwards' financial success somehow makes him insincere in his advocacy for the poor. Remember, his wealth was earned, not inherited, and that he grew up poor. He has worked to level the playing field for the less fortunate for years. Where is it written that a person must BE poor to advocate for the poor?

Even with the negatives about "the 3 h's" and the fact that poverty isn't a sexy issue, Edwards is the best choice; he's the populist candidate. Have you noticed he doesn't change his message or his position depending on where he's speaking? He's the real deal. Hillary's vote on Iran was the last straw for me, and Obama's absences on that and other critical votes are troubling as well. He's consistently an excellent speaker, but he has been a disappointment as far as "walking his talk."

I think it took courage for Edwards to choose the public funding route; courage isn't something we get to see in candidates very often. I believe thinking voters are beginning to appreciate Edwards and his message.

And did you hear that the California Service Workers have endorsed him and are ready to get to work as volunteers? I think there are over 600,000 members in that state alone. Voters who understand the critical need for real change are taking a second look at John Edwards and liking what they see. I'm betting his passionate volunteers will help prove this election isn't all about who spends the most money.

I've never enjoyed pulling for an "underdog" as much. It's already beginning to feel more like America. Go John Edwards!

Posted by: lucindashirley | October 25, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Where is JE getting his money from? According to here is the list of the top five industries:
1 Lawyers/Law Firms $8,087,658
2 Democratic/Liberal $1,684,512
3 Retired $1,348,015
4 Securities & Investment $781,660
5 Real Estate $637,156

and the top 5 contributors:
ActBlue $1,651,177
Fortress Investment Group $190,150
Stearns, Weaver et al $147,300
Lerach, Coughlin et al $94,080
Goldman Sachs $79,500

Posted by: dave | October 25, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

With all of the time Edwards has spent in Iowa since 2003, one would think that he would have the state all but wrapped up now. But the fact is that he has lost his early lead and now usually comes in third place. That makes Iowa do or die for him.

Now, I like Edwards. He would be my third choice (behind Obama and Biden, and ahead of Hillary), but his financing is a major issue. I moved from Iowa 4 months ago, yet I still talk to many in the area. What I have heard from family and friends (from all over the state), the matching funds issues has some Edwards supporters waivering. He has yet to spell out how he can effectively beat back a swift boat attack. If he cannot do so, that would make him the most vulnerable of the Democrats to lose the general election. And that is a killer.

Also with the financing, didn;t he say that in 2004 that he was not accepting matching funds on principal? And now he is. How does that mesh?

Lastly, in 2004, Edwards was able to rise because the one of the frontrunners (Gephardt, who needed to win Iowa) attacked the leader (Dean). If we all remember, neither one won the caucus. Edwards sunny disposition and the fact that he didn't attack the other candidates warmed Iowans up to him. So who can reap the benefits of Edwards attacking? Obama, who is not attacking. I also think a possibility is Biden. Everyone there seems to like him and he also has the most experience in the race (sorry Hillary supporters, she has less than Biden, Dodd and Richardson).

Posted by: mcmahon10 | October 25, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

And I'm sure Appalachia and New Orleans benefitted from a visit from John Edwards. Is that the extent of John Edwards's record? The guy is all talk and no action. He is misleading.

Posted by: Pscoots14 | October 25, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Where is the record?" He did that tour of Appalachia and New Orleans...

Posted by: dave | October 25, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Edwards's support in Iowa is superficial and deceiving. I believe he was down in the New Ham polls. I agree that the Executive branch and presidential campaign have been tied too closely to corporations. However, what makes you think Edwards would be any different? What has he done, for you to think an Edwards White House would be any different? He wouldn't be denouncing Hillary's lobbyist connection if lobbyists were willing to contribute to his campaign. Edwards wouldn't be self-righteously opting for public financing if he could keep up with Clinton and Obama. He wouldn't have worked for a hedge fund that seeks tax loop holes off shore if his actions were in concert with his bluster. The guy is telling you what you want to hear. Where is the record?

Posted by: Pscoots14 | October 25, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Pscoots hit is on the head, Edwards comes across as slick with little real heft, plus he has even less policital experience than Hillary. Yet, the fact that he still has people giving him a look in Iowa and NH shows how apprehesive Dems are about blowing the election by going with the establishment's choice of Hillary. As I have said in the past, this election is shaping up as a Shakespearean tragedy, where Hillary wins and goes down in election or even worse and more likely, wins and cannot govern. Looks like America needs more poor leadership and division before it hits bottom and finally pulls itself back together.

Posted by: merganser | October 25, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I believe Edwards is genuine even going to the extent of not accepting lobbyist money. What does that get him? He continues to pound on issues that others do not. If we want a continuation of corporate wars, then Hillary is our person. And why is it that genuine folks out in Iowa and in New Hampshire are lining up behind Edwards. Can't they tell the real deal?

Posted by: tourist4earth | October 25, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Tourist, anyone can tell you what you want to hear. It doesn't take much for a person to say that they wouldn't vote for a bill or resolution when they don't actually have to. And it doesn't take much to rattle the cages of the wealthy and fortunate or complain about health care, but what has Edwards done other than help shovel some dirt in New Orleans and establish a research center at a college. The guy is so canned and artificial. Edwards is not genuine and undeserving of the nomination.

Posted by: Pscoots14 | October 25, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives don't begrudge him his money. They don't care that he helps the poor (bogus lawsuits and talking to dead people aside). His claiming that he is the only one that REALLY cares about the poor or that is interested in helping them is part of his problem. In reality, he doesn't want to help the poor - he wants to force me to help the poor in the way that he thinks is best. I'd prefer to do it in my own way in line with my conservative beliefs - by voluteering, contributing money and being active in my community and church.

Posted by: dave | October 25, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Blarg writes
"I think that when CC refers to the anti-Hillary, he means the candidate who stands in opposition to Hillary and competes with her for the nomination... Even by that definition, I'd say Edwards isn't the anti-Hillary, because he's so far behind. His poll numbers are worse than Obama's, and his fundraising isn't even in the same universe as Obama and Hillary's."

Hmmm... Maybe then Edwards IS the anti-Hillary. Hillary raised a lot of money, Edwards, not so much. Hillary holds a commanding lead, Edwards, not so much...

As far as Edwards being the VP pick goes, I don't see what he adds to the ticket; surely if HRC wins the nomination she will select someone who adds a little more gravitas. Back when Edwards first ran for the senate, he was billed as 'the next Bill Clinton' as a young, charismatic southerner. He's been trying to live up to that media hype ever since. I suspect HRC will put an end to that theory.

Posted by: bsimon | October 25, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

John McCain at ringside? If that's the case, it only shows how lightweight his primary opponents are. As for Edwards saying "just about anything" to get elected, actually he has consistantly stated his message although not covered by the MS press. More press was given to Fred Thompson when he WASN'T running. And once he was, there was an avalance of great press. Why would the press bury Edward's message?

Posted by: tourist4earth | October 25, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

'The contest has been cast as a two-person affair between a Clinton and an anti-Clinton.'

And why is this? Because the media wanted it this way. They created it. They love the idea of a contest between the Steel Magnolia and the Testerone-on-Steriods Drag Queen.

Posted by: drindl | October 25, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Cilliza is certainly right about Edwards being the most effective challenger to Hillary message wise. The Obama campaign seems to have to modes of attack obscure and personal (remember the devolution of the preconditions kerfuffle). Edwards has been very good at substantive contrasts, without personal attacks.

If he wins Iowa that should serve him well.

Posted by: sfmandrew | October 25, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I find it perplexing that CC would devote an entire article and blog space to Edwards. Edwards's campaign rightfully seems to be floundering. I would think CC would spend more time discussing the heavyweights. Who are the heavyweights?

The Heavyweights
1) Hillary Clinton
She is a middleweight sitting atop the shoulders of a heavyweight -- her husband Bill.
2) Barack Obama
He is being carried above his weight class by those who desperately seek inspiration.
3) John McCain
Despite pandering early in the campaign, McCain has found his way to ringside.
4) Al Gore
Weighing in at ???, the Inconvenient Truth, Al "The Nobel" Gore.
5) Joe Biden
He is the true dark horse--a Little Mac. Each new idea he comes up with is like a Rocky Balboa left hook. He even has the resolve of Balboa from surviving his past tribulations. Iowans will have the final say on whether this cinderella heavyweight gets a shot at the title.

The Lightweights
1) Chris Dodd
He is a heavyweight who can't get the media to promote his fights.
2) Bill Richardson
On paper he's Muhammad Ali. At the debates he is Spider Rico.
3) Rudy Giuliani
He's more a Don Flamenco then a Rocky Marciano.
4)Fred Thompson
The first thing that comes to mind is bumbling. Rather than getting back into the ring this fighter should stick to his Foreman grill-like lobbying acumen--cut the fat.
5) Mitt Romney
I imagine it would be difficult to fight in flip flops no matter the weight class.
6) John Edwards
This Glass Joe will say just about anything to get a shot at the title. I believe it took about 13 bouts before you got to "The Dream Fight" against Tyson. Actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: Pscoots14 | October 25, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I think that what we can say is that Edwards is better than Obama at getting Hillary off track. Since he is a lawyer, just how surprising is this? And isn't this the Trippi strategy? Are we finally seeing the new John Edwards? Edwards is attempting to be the populist and conducting "a markedly more aggressive attack on what he says is Clinton's poll-tested commitment to the status quo", as we covered the other day. He needs to do something to get any sort of coverage he can before his candidacy falls apart. Edwards is the anti-Hillary in the same way that Dean was the anti-Kerry.

Posted by: dave | October 25, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Edwards grew up poor and made good by working hard. To me that sounds like a classic american story-- the kind that the gopers always cite and extoll. So why is the fact that he is now a rich guy who says he wants to help the poor better themselves not somehow credible? Because if the gopers got rich, they wouldn't want anything to do with poor people??Maybe it's just projection, which seems to be the central psychological quality of most movement conservatives.

Posted by: drindl | October 25, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually shocked to see a news article/blog written about John Edwards. Although he has commanded a lead in Iowa for months, and is lining up many county chairs in New Hampshire - this is not headline news. His issues have been picked up by other candidates after he has brought them to the fore. this is a media race, and Hillary & Obama are just juicier material. Edwards continues to press the issues, whereas his opponents just seem to blather on. So glad to hear Hillary is as much of a hawk for Iran as she was for Iraq. Lieberman Lite. But hey, the press will have loads of fun if they get their obvious choices for opponents: Hillary and Rudy. Newspapers will read like the Enquirer - just can't wait. Edwards is a tad boring with all those damn policy issues, and speaking out on lobbyists, the poor and the war. boring!

Posted by: tourist4earth | October 25, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Money doesn't buy votes.

Voters are going to know who said what, as the primaries approach.

And yes, John Edwards has always been the "anti-Clinton," and the one that the Clintons have smeared through the media, peddling stories like a house, hedge fund, hair, and so on. The Clintons now have links to Matt Drudge, the NY Post, Rupert Murdoch, the National Enquirer, and nearly every Democratic Strategist on CNN and MSNBC, minus Donna Brazile, to pound John Edwards with, like they have been doing since February.

They never wanted the race to be Clinton v. Edwards, which is why Obama is in the race in the first place, considering the fact that Obama said, unequivocably, back in 2004, that "No, I won't be a candidate for President in 2008." Who in DC sweettalked him into getting in John Edwards' way to stopping Hillary Clinton?

Edwards = Populist Messenger

Clinton = Corporatist lawyer and support from defense contractors, health insurance companies, and corproate lobbyists

Edwards v. Clinton

Populist v. Corporatist

Edwards has always been the "anti-Clinton," and Obama was always just supposed to be in the way, ensuring that the anti-Clinton vote was divided.

Posted by: framecop | October 25, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Edwards could have been an anti-Hillary, but he lost that when he took matching funds. He could get burried by the right if he won the nomination and not have the money to fight back with a consistent message. Consistent messages win. Edwards is the top tier candidate that could lose to the Republican candidate due to lack of funds.

Also, I have to agree, the "learn about the poor by working for a hedge fund" is a joke. Its like learning about the progressive movement by working for Fox News.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | October 25, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Remember former Iowa Gov. Vilsack who was in the race for a few months and then left and almost immediately endorsed Clinton? He was obviously a stalking horse for Clinton. She wanted to make Iowa irrelevant the same way that Harkin made it irrelevant in '92.

Edwards, I'm guessing, may also have a deal with Clinton to stay in the race and divide the anti Clinton vote in Iowa. Yes, he'll "attack" her, just like Vilsack made some statements about executive experience that took a swipe at her. But its sort of a charade with a hidden motive. Edwards cannot be elected president and he knows that. Now, he's after something else, maybe some position in a Clinton administration that he's been offered.

Posted by: Malia2 | October 25, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Last "off thread" comment for me: drindl, it probably does not ease one's angst to recall that the neocons used to be "Wilsonian Ds".

That was pre-Eisenhower, when Wilson's dream of America as liberator, by force, if necessary, was still around, and most Rs were isolationists.

What goes around comes around, I guess.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 25, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I never heard the "shot-in-the-chest" story. If you have a handy cite to it, lemme know.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 25, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry this is long, but I found it so terrifying I though some of you might want to know:

'Check out what nattering nabob of neoconservativism Norman Podhoretz, a top foreign policy adviser to Rudy, has just confided to The New York Observer about a recent private conversation he had with the candidate:

Norman Podhoretz believes that America needs to go to war soon with Iran. As far as he knows, Rudy Giuliani thinks the same thing.

"I was asked to come in and give him a briefing on the war, World War IV," said Mr. Podhoretz, a founding father of neoconservatism and leading foreign policy adviser to Mr. Giuliani. "As far as I can tell there is very little difference in how he sees the war and how I see it."

So unless I missed something here, Podhoretz explicitly says that he "was asked" to brief Rudy on "World War IV," and that Rudy is with him on this and is even preparing for this fourth global showdown against Iran and the rest of the 'Islamofascists.'

You know, maybe someone should ask Rudy's campaign about this.

At the end of the Observer interview with Podhoretz comes the following about his views:

'America should be working to overthrow governments in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt and "every one of the despotic regimes in that region, by force if necessary," he said. "They are fronts of the war.. And to have toppled two of those regimes in five years or six years is I think a major achievement. And maybe George Bush won't be able to carry it further, but I think he will. It may have just been given to him to start act one of the five-act play."

A play which I expect will end like one of Shakespeare's grittier --with everyone in the cast dead on the floor.

Posted by: drindl | October 25, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, off-thread.

Mark -- I just read the transcript of "All Things Considered". Thanks for bringing it up.

I noticed how all 3 of these Marines commented on General Petraeus' leadership.

I have some close army friends who met him a couple years ago. They were quite impressed him, and couldn't stop talking about what a great general and a humble human being he was.

Have you heard the story of the private who shot him in the chest when he was a Colonel?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | October 25, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

The real question: is JE HRC's future running mate? As has been said before, BO would make a double minority ticket and HRC would certainly avoid that mistake. JE is a white Southern male. A perfect counterpart to HRC. His bulldog debating style would be useful in attacking whomever the R's put up for VP. HRC won't hold him back from that.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey Judge -- liked your space umbrella thingy idea. Who knows whether these things are really practical, but it's certainly right up Darpa's alley. Did you know they are creating a cybug? A biological insect with a robot component [likely with camera, etc] to be a ... well, bug. Spy.

It would be a very lovely thing is America went back to what it was when I was a kid --forward-looking, innovative, fascinated with science and technology. I still remember how proud I was, and probably every US kid was, sitting in front of that tiny little TV screen, watching our guy walk on the moon. Now that was national unity....I miss it.

Btw, I hear China has a moon station project going. Inevitably, since all our money is going to war, we are falling quickly behind.

Posted by: drindl | October 25, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- I replied.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | October 25, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Bsimon, I see your point, but I think you're using the term differently than CC. You're talking about a candidate who is the ideological opponent of Hillary, and I agree that it would be hard to imagine that person.

But I think that when CC refers to the anti-Hillary, he means the candidate who stands in opposition to Hillary and competes with her for the nomination. So Edwards might be the anti-Hillary because he regularly attacks her, not because of who he is or what he believes.

Even by that definition, I'd say Edwards isn't the anti-Hillary, because he's so far behind. His poll numbers are worse than Obama's, and his fundraising isn't even in the same universe as Obama and Hillary's. If Edwards is the alternative to Hillary, then voters aren't interested in that alternative.

Posted by: Blarg | October 25, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Edwards apologized for his Iraq vote, Hillary didn't. That's a big difference.

Mark in Austin... (sorry for the off thread) I have heard about the "can't we just get along" communication from Iran. Seems more and more the bottom line is, the White House doesn't (and never did) want to get along, they want oil.

What did the electorate expect when they put the oil barons in charge of our national money pump.

Fareed Zakaria had a wonderful one-page article in this week's Newsweek on the subject of the threat? from Iran... you can find the link on my blog site.

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | October 25, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

AggieMike, did you see that I answered your question last night? Did you hear the great story of the three Marines on "All Things Considered"?

bsimon, you have identified the logical flaw.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 25, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Due respect to the previous two posters, but this race is about Hillary. She is the frontrunner and polling at close to 50% nationally. I'm not sure 'anti-Hillary' is the right phrase because that implies a polar opposite, but it is about who is going to be the alternative to voters.

Posted by: zmeunier | October 25, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

bsimon makes a good point. What does an anti-Clinton stand for if you don't know what a Clinton stands for? And are there only 2 alternatives - Hillary or not-Hillary? Maybe that is the true success of her campaign - to define the Democratic field in terms of either Hillary or not-Hillary.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | October 25, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"Is Edwards the True Anti-Hillary?"

In order to effectively define the opposite of something, you have to first define the something. The Clinton campaign has been very effective at turning name recognition into an 'inevitability' meme. They have not necessarily defined their candidate as anything other than a front-runner.

Former Senator Edwards perhaps is most effective at pointing out Senator Clinton's failings, but that does not automatically make him the best alternative to Senator Clinton. In other words, the conclusion The Fix is attempting to reach does not follow the supporting data.

Posted by: bsimon | October 25, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

What's the difference between a former senator claiming he would have voted a certain way and a current senator skipping a vote (for whatever reason) and claiming he also would have voted a certain way?

Claiming Edwards is a more credible anti-Hillary becuase he wasn't around to vote is like saying RUFUS is a more credible anti-Hillary because he surely would have voted differently than her if he could have.

I also don't buy that Edwards is 2nd tier because he is the only one launching attacks on Hillary. I get the feeling (mainly from my Democratic-leaning fiance) that he has lost his credibilitly - that he is a fake. (Incidentally, she supported him in '04 but has since said that was a mistake. She likes Obama for '12 or '16, and the Huckster '08).

Was it the haircuts? I don't know - I doubt it. But working for a hedge fund to "learn about poverty" and taking money from people associated with ---gasp--- Fox News probably didn't help either.

I am not poor. And for that, I am greatful. But I expect that if I were, I would have a hard time taking a multi, multi millionaire seriously when he claims to understand "poverty" the way JE does. Especially after I saw his mansion across the street from my trailer park.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | October 25, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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