WASHINGTON--John Edwards is dropping his presidential bid, deciding he had little chance of being resurrected on Feb. 5 "Super Tuesday" votes. Meanwhile, Caroline Kennedy, who already cut a commerical spot for Barack Obama is traveling with him on Wednesday to rallies in Denver and Arizona.
Who does this help? Edwards departure cuts both ways for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
1. Think of the upcoming elections as not one race, but on Feb. 5, 22 separate primary and caucus votes. Each with unique rules and political dynamics. In Illinois, for example, Edwards never mounted any real effort to pick up delegates, while Clinton is not conceeding the home turf to Obama. That's why Bill Clinton is in Edwardsville, Ill. today.
2. Edwards' departure frees up a lot of labor support. It's not a given that union backing can be moved en mass to either Obama or Clinton.
3. Edwards won a chunk of the white vote in South Carolina. In the southern states--if there is voting along racial lines--Edwards departure may help Clinton.
4. On the money front, Obama and Clinton have already been wooing Edwards big donors in anticipation of the day he would drop out. That money will not walk in unity.
5. Voters for whom Edwards message of hope and change is meaningful--overshadowed by Obama's more forceful embrace of the same message--would seem to gravitate to Obama.
6. Will Edwards endorse? It's hard to see how he could be for Clinton, given his Washigton and lobbyist bashing. Being neutral will be helpful to Clinton.
OBAMA STATEMENT ON JOHN EDWARDS
CHICAGO, IL - Senator Barack Obama released the following statement regarding John Edwards.
“John Edwards has spent a lifetime fighting to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the struggling, even when it wasn’t popular to do or covered in the news. At a time when our politics is too focused on who’s up and who’s down, he made a nation focus again on who matters – the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington. John and Elizabeth Edwards have always believed deeply that we can change this – that two Americans can become one, and that our country can rally around this common purpose. So while his campaign may end today, the cause of their lives endures for all of us who still believe that we can achieve that dream of one America,” said Barack Obama.