Following a trip to Iowa,
I was fortunate to be on hand last week in New Mexico to watch Gov. Bill
Richardson withdraw from the presidential race. In addition to his fashion
choices [What's not to love when a state executive prepares for his latest
international media close-up wearing a blue blazer with blue jeans?
Change does start at the grassroots! DC lobbyists, take a note.], I savored
Richardson's kind words for John Edwards: "a singular voice for the most
downtrodden and forgotten among us."
This description—cognizant of Edwards' launching his '08 campaign in post-Katrina New Orleans and marching with union members, including Writer's Guild members, on scores of picket lines—squares with the rationale of so many progressive leaders in backing Edwards in this highly competitive fight for the Democratic nomination.
Back in Santa Fe, Richardson's refusal to endorse one of his erstwhile rivals, along with the recent poll from Nevada (below), highlights how up-for-grabs the nomination remains. The governor and his wife also laid to rest speculation they were anything but full-hearted backers of Rep. Tom Udall in his bid this fall to claim the GOP-held Senate seat from New Mexico. [Consider, again, what it could mean to have a few more Senate votes, for cloture and for final passage, to push the pro-worker Employee Free Choice Act and a fully inclusive, pro-equality Employment Non-Discrimination Act into law!]
Why bring up Udall's Senate bid? Because it's crucial what kind of Democrat we have at the top of the ticket to carry as many Democratic candidates to victory this fall. Senate and House incumbents and challengers—and statewide candidates, legislators, and others—benefit from a presidential aspirant whose platform, biography, and fluency on the campaign trail build our progressive coalition. My friends in some parts of California and the urban East as well as the press may plug their ears or wince at this injunction. But Democrats should be strategic actors, not merely casual shoppers, in selecting a standard-bearer who can build our electoral majority. We cannot afford to do otherwise. The stakes, for foreign and domestic policy, for judicial appointments, for the integrity of government and public service, are simply too high. Choosing a nominee with demonstrated leverage in expanding the Democratic electoral majority will help pull many candidates--especially those in the most closely divided states, which New Mexico was in both 2000 and 2004--to victory and into office.
In keeping with this realization, several people urged me to re-circulate the polling data from Florida and Ohio that I shared in last week's update. It makes clear a simple pattern: Edwards, uniquely, gains majority support from voters in key states. And as I travel across the country, voters I talk with continually validate this data. Independents and moderate Republicans repeatedly tell me that Edwards is the lone Democrat in this year's field whose track record, substantive talk, and tone sit well enough with them to cast a ballot for him.
Far more than realpolitik and the need for broad Democratic victories argue in Edwards' favor: There is also the unique insight he, his wife, and his staff bring to policy and leadership. It's heartening, for instance, to read Edwards' detailed platform "The Plan to Build One America: Bold Solutions for Real Change" and note his opposition to "divisive Constitutional amendments" like those the gay-rights movement had to fight in 13 states in 2004, and is still fighting in Florida and Iowa. What a difference one letter makes! In this case, it's the "s" denoting the plural form of such amendments that means so much. By putting on record his visceral hostility to all such vicious antigay ballot measures at the federal and state level meant to strike down existing domestic-partner or civil-union recognition for committed same-sex couples and pre-empt equal access to civil marriage, Edwards shows coherence with his commitment to social and economic justice and courage.
January 14, 2008
by Paul Krugman, Op-Ed Columnist
"On the Democratic side, John Edwards, although never the front-runner, has been driving his party's policy agenda."
3 front-runners are competing in a dead heat
January 15, 2008
For the first time since polling began in the Silver State, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama has taken a slight lead over U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, and former U.S. John Edwards has come within shooting distance of the two front-runners.
Of 500 likely Democratic caucus-goers surveyed, 32 percent favored Obama, 30 percent favored Clinton, and 27 percent favored Edwards.
But with 9 percent undecided and 12 percent of those who expressed a preference likely to change their minds before Saturday, the race could shift dramatically to any of the candidates.
"In a one- or two-point race, it could tip either way," pollster Del Ali said. "It's a volatile electorate out there, particularly in a primary or a caucus. Twelve percent could change their mind, that could mean all the difference in the world."
The poll was conducted Jan. 11-13 by Maryland-based Research 2000 and has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.
Study: John Edwards Doesn't Exist
January 16, 2008 -- 5:31
by Greg Sargent
A new study finds that John Edwards doesn't exist.
Allow me to explain.
After John Edwards placed second in the Iowa caucus on January 3, Elizabeth Edwards took to the airwaves to argue that his finish should occasion the media to stop covering the Dem contest as little more than a showdown between two political superstars, Hillary and Obama. Not surprisingly, nobody listened to her.
Comes now some statistical evidence of this fact. The Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its latest campaign coverage index for January 6-11, a study that does its damndest to try to quantify which political figures are sucking up the most media oxygen and why.
It found that Edwards only
got 7% of political coverage during those days -- less than one-fifth of
what Hillary earned, and less than one-forth of that accorded to Obama.
Edwards even got less attention than Mike Huckabee, even though he, like
Edwards, finished third in the New Hampshire primary. Take a look:
Now, before we get into a big argument about the study's validity or over whether Edwards deserved more coverage than he got, let me just say that I'm flagging these numbers just to make a larger point.
You can make a valid case, I suppose, that Edwards didn't merit more media attention during those days. Even post-Iowa he looked to be a long-shot for the nomination; New Hampshire made things worse. What's more, Hillary's New Hampshire comeback was obviously going to get a ton of attention. So the above numbers are understandable.
But here's the thing about this. For literally the past year we've been hearing justifications for the fact that Edwards, despite being competitive in Iowa polls, didn't get the attention that his Dem rivals got -- he didn't raise as much money; his candidacy isn't as historic as theirs; etc., etc. Indeed, the virtual media blackout of Edwards got so glaringly obvious that even New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt urged his paper to give Edwards more attention back in November. At a certain point we should just acknowledge that Edwards basically got screwed and that this shouldn't have happened to the extent that it did.
Edwards Alone in '08 Field Can Flip '00 and '04 Outcomes in Florida AND Ohio
Opportunity for Democrats: Pick a nominee who can win in November.
In order to win, Democrats need to "flip" one or more of the "big" red states (e.g., Ohio and/or Florida).
Edwards beats all four leading Democrats in Ohio and three of four in Florida.
The only Republican whom Obama would beat consistently is Giuliani. Obama would lose in both states to McCain. He would tie Huckabee in Ohio and lose to him in Florida. And Obama would beat Romney in Ohio while tying him in Florida.
Clinton would lose to both McCain and Huckabee in Ohio and Florida. She would beat Giuliani and Romney in both states.
Given the very real possibility that McCain will be the Republican nominee, this poll (like many before it) should send a clear message to all Democrats who want to win in November. It's not enough to simply hope for a better future. We need to win in order to put our plans into action.
John Edwards has the best policy positions on critical issues, and he is the most electable candidate in the race.
Here's the full survey: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_010105National.pdf
Poll: Edwards leads major GOP candidates in Ohio
By William Hershey
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Barack Obama was the winner in Iowa and Hillary Clinton's planning to be the "comeback kid" in New Hampshire, but John Edwards just might be the Democrats' best bet to win Ohio, a crucial state in the general election.
At least that's the conclusion of a new presidential poll released Saturday by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, N.C., which happens to be Edwards' home state.
Edwards, who finished second to Obama in Iowa, leads all four major Republican candidates — Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee — in the poll in Ohio. Obama and Clinton each leads in just the matchups with Giuliani and Romney.
On the Republican side, McCain emerged from the poll as the GOP's strongest Ohio candidate, leading Clinton and Obama, but trailing Edwards.
The poll also showed that Edwards led three of the four Republicans in Florida, another battleground state while McCain led all the Democratic candidates in Florida.
The poll was conducted Friday with 946 likely Ohio general election voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent. In Florida, 543 likely general election voters were surveyed with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.
For full poll results,
Poll results for November presidential election matchup in Ohio:
If the election for President was between:
Hillary Clinton (D) and Rudy Giuliani (R):
Clinton: 44 percent
Giuliani: 37 percent
Undecided: 19 percent
Clinton (D) and Mike Huckabee (R)
Huckabee: 45 percent
Clinton: 43 percent
Undecided: 11 percent
Clinton (D) and John McCain (R):
McCain: 46 percent
Clinton: 42 percent
Undecided: 12 percent
Clinton (D) and Mitt Romney (R)
Clinton: 45 percent
Romney: 40 percent
Undecided: 15 percent
John Edwards (D) and Giuliani (R)
Edwards: 51 percent
Giuliani: 34 percent
Undecided: 14 percent
Edwards (D) and Huckabee (R)
Edwards: 49 percent
Huckabee: 40 percent
Undecided: 10 percent
Edwards (D) and McCain (R)
Edwards: 47 percent
McCain: 40 percent
Undecided: 13 percent
Edwards (D) and Romney (R)
Edwards: 53 percent
Romney: 33 percent
Undecided: 14 percent
Barack Obama (D) and Giuliani (R)
Obama: 47 percent
Giuliani: 37 percent
Undecided: 16 percent
Obama (D) and Huckabee (R) - tie
Huckabee: 43 percent
Obama: 43 percent
Undecided: 14 percent
Obama (D) and McCain (R)
McCain: 45 percent
Obama: 42 percent
Undecided: 14 percent
Obama (D) and Romney (R)
Obama: 44 percent
Romney: 38 percentUndecided: 18 percent