John Edwards: Keeping His Feet in Iowa While Reaching for New York


John Edwards doesn't have to care what all the sourpusses on DailyKos and HuffPost think, this New York Observer profile of his liftoff attempts for the White House points out:

"Sometimes I do feel like someone needs to shake the national press and remind them we do not have a national primary—never have," said Mr. Edwards.
He added, "The only thing that matters is: How are you doing in Iowa and New Hampshire?"
That's the Edwards scenario in a nutshell: win in Iowa, and national attention will follow.
If the early polls are even remotely accurate, it's not an implausible calculation.
A recently released survey of Iowa Democrats conducted in October by Harstad Strategic Research for a group called Environmental Defense showed Mr. Edwards way out in front with the support of 36 percent of likely caucus-goers. Mrs. Clinton had 16 percent, and Barack Obama had 13.

But that doesn't help him with his most pressing need: big bucks, especially from big cities like New York–a Big City with a Big Favorite Daughter crowding out the field of big political spenders. (As the story relates, it's hard for Edwards to even find a restaurant to schmooze with bigwigs in NYC without unexpectedly running into Hillary Clinton.) While Edwards had a rep as a great fundraiser,

he is starting this time around at a pronounced disadvantage. According to the Federal Election Commission Web site, Mr. Edwards' One America Committee P.A.C. had $20,611 on hand as of the end of November. As of September, Mr. Edwards' 2004 Presidential campaign was still more than $300,000 in debt.

And with high-profile rivals like Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama to contend with, the former Senator is likely to find that resources are considerably more difficult to come by this time around, even in the country's most donor-rich precincts.
"He wasn't running against a New York Senator last time. It creates a precarious situation for any fund-raiser to go against their own Senator, especially when she is the front-runner," said one New York fund-raiser sympathetic to Mr. Edwards. "Giving to Hillary is a win-win: She is either going to be the nominee, or she is going to be the New York Senator for as long as she wants to be."
Undoubtedly, a President Edwards would be an orgy of new national attempts at "problem solving" from nationalized health care on down, and I'd guess a pretty unlikely one right now; I hold out the hope he can continue to stress the "I was wrong about Iraq, and I'd do something about it" idea enough to drive the eventual Democratic nomination winner further in that direction.

NEXT: Is Taxation Theft?

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  1. Yeah, Edwards comes from the nationalized health care stock of Democrats and that doesn’t bode well. With a Democratic Congress for at least the next two years and the good possibility of them keeping the majority, plus the razor thin margin in the Senate, a socialist-leaning Democrat would bring America’s massive spending habits from the GOP’s military/homeland security days into a new era of massive spending on domestic services. Trading one area of government bloating to another.

    Either way, we lose.


  3. Calling Edwards’ opposition to the war in Iraq a “meme” robs the word of all meaning. The notion that the human propesity to make war can be overcome is a meme that survives in a pacifist strain of the left. Edwards’ position is a variant the very successful polical differentiation meme. Putting any hope in it belies a profound misunderstanding of the nature of the meme.

  4. Oops, I guess I’ve called it a meme, too. God, I hate it when I fall into the same pretentious use language that marks self-important commentators.

  5. I think a contest between a hawkish hillary or barack on one side and war-mongering mccain/guliani on the other would do quite a bit to spread the “major-party politicians love war and if you vote for them, you’ll get more war” meme.

  6. Brian, you lose no matter what because you belong to bunch of soppy political losers. Nothing will ever measure uo to your juvenile libertarian wet dreams. You jammer ad nauseum at each other and imagine that you’re a political force.

  7. Message to those who post here – These are not the trolls you’re looking for. You can go about your business. Move along. 🙂

  8. Ted is absolutely correct on my careless and thoughtless use of the word “meme” when I meant “idea.” Corrected in the post.

  9. Edwards talks a good game, but his record sucks

    He co-sponsored the bill that massively increased H-1b visas that wiped out tech as an upwardly mobile field for Americans

  10. Look you guys he is going to end poverty OK. 33.33333% per decade for the next thirty. Its linear so it shouldn’t be too hard… even for a trial lawyer… with a play station 3.

  11. I think Edwards is great but I just don’t know what has changed since 2004 except that he is two years older. The more I think about the Dems in 2008, the more I think the nomination is Al Gore’s to lose: he was robbed in 2000, has been consistently right on Iraq (unlike Hillary), and will not have a problem with either cash or name recognition… I wrote a story on this at

  12. We get socialized medicine if a Dem is elected? It’s a good think we voted for them on their anti-war, anti-corruption, minimum-wage stance.

  13. Anon: “He co-sponsored the bill that massively increased H-1b visas that wiped out tech as an upwardly mobile field for Americans”

    Can anyone confirm this (the first part, I know firsthand the second part is not true)? If it is true maybe I hate Edwards too much.

    Go Richardson.

  14. mike, see for yourself

    John Edwards acknowledges that he co-sponsored ACWIA in 2000 and said that special interests want to eliminate the yearly visa cap. He thinks that H-1B is a “necessary short term” solution until Americans are educated enough to take high-tech jobs.

  15. So, does Edward’s New York City fund raising problem explain Hillary’s move to New York? If she was that smart, why didn’t she run for Governor instead of Senator? Or has she not noticed that her hubby isn’t the only President that had an easier road to Washington by going through a governor’s mansion?

  16. John Edwards co-sponsored the H-1b bill?

    What a 2 faced JERK

  17. Anon, thanks! Now I hate Edwards a little less.

  18. Hil didn’t run for NYgov because she probably couldn’t have beaten Pataki. The Senate seat was open in 2000, due to the retirement of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and she lucked into not having to face the Reps’ A-team, when Rudy Giuliani, diagnosed with prostate cancer, declined to run. If she wanted to run for Gov, her election/re-election years would have been 2002 and/or 2006, and that didn’t fit her schedule.

    New York also has had a tradition of supporting blowins as Senators (Bobby Kennedy, Rufus King). My gut feeling is that county party organizations would have been much more opposed to an interloper running for the governor’s chair than for a Senate seat, though the NYDems might have backed HRC if for no other reason than that the candidates that they did run against George Pataki were such nobodies. After all, Pataki beat the incumbent Mario Cuomo, and is a formidable pol. Ms. Rodham could certainly raise money for a shot at Albany, but Senate was a seriously easier road. Remember that when she was running for Senate her husband was still the sitting President. that wouldn’t have been the case in `02.


  19. Edwards is locking up the black vote early. Of course, that’s nothing against actually being black, but it’s a good bet on his part that if all else fails, Osama, . mm, Obama will HAVE to pick him for VP. At his age, 8 years of warm urine won’t be a bad price to pay.

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