I think John, below, is dead on about the splitting of the Edwards vote -- and that, particularly, the Southern Edwards vote won't break Obama's way. There's a perception that Edwards dropping out is awesome for Obama -- a text message I sent this morning that read, "Who benefits?", received the reply, "OBAMA!!!" -- but I wonder if that more reflects the sentiment within the campaigns, both of whose rank and file pretty much hate Clinton, than out in the general universe.
Who will get John Edwards's votes? The exit polls give a split verdict. Those in Iowa and South Carolina show a slight tilt to Hillary Clinton. If you look at those voters among whom Edwards enjoyed disproportionate strength, it was among voters less likely to switch to Obama. In Iowa, it was among older (60-64 years old) and conservative voters.
John Edwards ends his presidential candidacy today. This is not surprising news: He finished third in every single contest except for Iowa, where he narrowly beat Hillary Clinton. Going forward, he doesn't have the money or the organization to compete with either her or Barack Obama. And, most important, Democratic voters seem content with choosing between the two front-runners—as, in fact, they should. Both Clinton and Obama are capable of running formidable campaigns and, if elected, both could lead successfully. This is hardly a knock on Edwards's political talents.
John Edwards says trial lawyers give him money to "stand up for democracy, for the right to jury trial, for the right for ?little people to be heard in the courtroom." It has nothing to do with, say, jury awards, of course. And while detainee policy has prompted a new debate about jury trials, I don't think that's what Edwards meant, and basically the right to be heard in the courtroom is not really under assault otherwise. Another small-but-annoying Edwards moment: "I don't think it's for me to tell ?anybody, and particularly not African Americans, what they should?
Eve, Yes, it did get ugly. But my standards are low. We weren't talking about idiotic process stuff. It was about how they voted on specific measures, their respective approaches to change, and so on. I can live with that. Right now, John Edwards is talking about poverty. And that alone is reason to be thankful he's on the stage, even now. From the day this campaign began, he's driven the policy agenda--not just by embracing ambitious policy initiatives but also by focussing everybody's attention on people who, frankly, don't get enough explicit attention in politics. --Jonathan Cohn
Noam is absolutely right that John Edwards's miserable four percent showing raises the question of whether he stays in the race through South Carolina. Because suddenly one of the most convincing rationales for a continued Edwards campaign--the slow accumulation of delegates that might make him a convention kingmaker--is probably now kaput. A third-place candidate can indeed rack up delegates in states where they are proportionally awarded.
I'm not out in Nevada, but I see that Obama's taken to using the "greatest weakness" question from Tuesday's debate to needle his opponents there. Here's how the AP reported it this morning: Obama began by recalling a moment in Tuesday night's debate when he and his rivals were asked to name their biggest weakness. Obama answered first, saying he has a messy desk and needs help managing paperwork - something his opponents have since used to suggest he's not up to managing the country. Former North Carolina Sen.
I can't believe no one has mentioned what surely was the most hilarious moment from last night's debate. Tim Russert asked all the candidates about their greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses. To the latter half of the question, John Edwards responded: I sometimes have a very powerful emotional response to pain that I see around me.
I do this with great trepidation, but I think I'm going to have to disagree with Dan Balz, who, wondering if/when John Edwards will drop out, writes: In a largely two-person race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, it's clear where Edwards's sentiments lie. If he can't be the nominee, he strongly prefers Obama to Clinton. If there were any doubt before, his performance in the Jan. 5 New Hampshire debate answered that question definitively.
MANCHESTER, NH-- For the reporters covering her campaign, the first clear sign that Hillary Clinton would win the New Hampshire primary came in the form of a beaming Terry McAuliffe. At roughly 10:30 Tuesday night, the former Democratic Party chairman and longtime Friend Of The Clintons appeared in the filing center where reporters had just hours earlier been prepared to type out Hillary's obituary to proclaim victory.