(John) Edwards endorses Obama, calls for party unity

So much for thinking I could afford to take a small break today. After waiting nearly five months, John Edwards finally announced his support for Barack Obama today in a giant rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Just like NARAL earlier today, Edwards emphasized the need for party unity and insisted that the Democratic race was over. "The reason I am here tonight is that Democratic voters in America have made their choice and so have I," he said. In other words, this endorsement is a post-primary show of support, a firm way of telling Clinton that her time has come.

When Edwards unexpectedly dropped out on January 30th, a quick endorsement appeared certain. Edwards had campaigned primarily as the anti-Clinton throughout the fall and reserved his harshest criticism for the New York Senator, famously allying himself with his fellow 'candidate of change' Obama at the New Hampshire debate on January 5th. But not only did nothing happen, but reports started implying that a Clinton endorsement should not be ruled out. The main point of discord was health care: It became difficult for Edwards to rally Obama when the debate over mandates -- in which Clinton was defending Edwards's side -- was the main defining issue of the primary.

Edwards's endorsement comes months to late to affect the primary process. It could have helped Obama get a clearer edge on Super Tuesday, boosted him among blue-collar voters in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Yet, Edwards's move fits the new narrative of the race -- that of a Democratic Party coalescing around its presumptive nominee with increasingly less oxygen for the Clinton campaign to rely on to continue its effort. With the remaining superdelegates looking for signs the game is over, the cover provided by the endorsements of high-profile party leaders could push them to hurry their choices. It is true that the same was said when Obama got the endorsement of Richardson but the pace of superdelegate endorsements has actually significantly increased since Friday -- it is no longer just speculation.

The one tangible consequence of Edwards's endorsement is the question of the delegates -- and even this will only matter if the Democratic race somehow stays muddied all the way to the end of August. Edwards has 18 pledged delegates that he acquired in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Edwards will certainly urge these delegates to cast their ballots for Obama but they are not pledged to follow their candidate's instructions. While it is likely that most of them would follow Edwards's lead, these 18 pledged delegates are now essentially superdelegates and their endorsements will have to be tracked.

Very noticeable today was the absence of Elizabeth Edwards. The former candidate's wife, who is acquiring an increasingly high profile particularly on the issue of health care, was even more critical than her husband was throughout the fall, even provoking a series of controversies over whether she should tone down her attacks. Yet, reports have increasingly suggested that she has been leaning towards the New York Senator in the past few months; the issue of health care appears to have turned her away against Obama, and she has publicly said that she holds Clinton's plan to be the superior one (hardly a surprise considering how similar Edwards's plan was to Clinton's).

Asked whether Elizabeth would make an announcement herself, John explicitly said he was only speaking in his own name today. This does not diminish the value of today's endorsement -- after all, he is the former Senator and the former candidate, and he is the one who will now be put on the list of potential Obama VP or Attorney General picks -- but Elizabeth's absence confirmed what until now was only a rumor: the Edwards couple's allegiance is split and so is the Democratic base's. While a major step towards the party's fully rallying around Obama, John's endorsement also highlights that Democrats are still far from presenting a unitary front.

Labels: ,


  • Edwards had to endorse Obama because of their shared stake in Mi. If he'd have held back, there'd be continued resistance to seating them by Obama on that basis. I think if Elizabeth comes out to endorse Hillary, it will carry more weight than John's. The downside for Obama is that now the media is questioning the timing and replaying ad nauseum all John's attacks on Obama, reminding everyone about his unpopular stands on kitchen table issues. I'm glad Mi. can now be settled and one more step towards party unity is imminent.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 15 May, 2008 06:51  

  • I live in the same county as John Edwards, and I know that he and Obama are very compatible with each other. I don't believe he'd accept the vp position, but I do see him as the attorney general.

    The main effect that I see will be Obama will get a small boost in Kentucky, where Edward's message resonates. I doubt it will make much of a difference elsewhere.

    As far as VP candidates go, don't count out some of the old guard such as Tom Daschle or Dick Gephardt. This goes against convential thinking (vp that represents change), but both of these guy ran against the wind in the 90's.

    By Anonymous Jim West, At 15 May, 2008 07:27  

  • The endorsement itself is of limited value since Edwards is not a SD. But the timing shows that the race effectively ended May 6th. The number of SD's who have declared in the past week has been large (over 10% of the uncommitted SD's) so the rumors that the Obama campaign had lots of SD's waiting in the wings was true.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 15 May, 2008 07:53  

  • Pretty slick of Obama and Edwards to save this endorsement for after WV. W is likely to be the last really bad day Obama has in this campaign, and bringing out Edwards the day after draws media attention away from it pretty well. The endorsement itself doesn't matter that much, except as yet another enticement for superdelegates to get with what is obviously the program and fall behind Obama.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 15 May, 2008 08:19  

  • Taniel. again your bias towards Clinton(in the neutral and not in the pejorative sense of the term) shows in this post. While I hold Elizabeth Edwards in high regard, she simply doesn't have the purchase within the party that her husband does. I doubt that many of his working class supporters thought they were bonding with her. While I agree that rumors indicate and circumstances confirm that she's probably leaning towards Clinton, that's not very compelling evidence of a split within the party.

    This isn't to say that I think this helps Obama all that much with his working class woes. Endorsements don't move the average voter all that much - they're more of a semaphore signal to activists and party poo-bahs. Here, it's more important as a 2-minute warning to Clinton that she can play her hand out, but that this isn't going past end-game in June. Lanny Davis and the zealots who think anyone is going to let this linger till Denver is not in touch with reality.

    By Anonymous zoot, At 15 May, 2008 08:25  

  • I don't think Edwards will be tapped for VP, nor do I think there has been any suggestion of that in the Obama campaign. However, the two both represent change, and are able to appeal to different constituencies. Plus, if anyone can help forge party unity it is Edwards.

    I don't think any of the older figures that have been mentioned (Sam Nunn, Dick Gephardt, Daschle, etc.) are wise picks. I never forgave Dukakis for picking Lloyd Bentson to be his VP. We don't need any more old coots in power, who have too many bad habits, and can't think outside the box!

    By Blogger Daniel Greenfield, At 15 May, 2008 08:28  

  • The Edwards endorsement was clever media play by the Obama campaign. Hillary gets one day to tout her victory in WV before it is completely overwhelmed and forgotten by new news.

    Kentucky and Oregon will be a wash - with both candidates winning well in one state. Then Montana and South Dakota will not be Clinton blowout victoires (more likely small Obama wins). Puerto Rico doesn`t really count since how many EV's does it have in the GE - zero! Then we get to June 4th and Gore comes out saying unite and the rest of the undeclared SD's will move in Obama's favor (excluding add-ons from states Hillary won).

    By Anonymous Mike, At 15 May, 2008 09:25  

  • Validate Our Revealing Prices at www.Pharmashack.com, The Unforgettable [b][url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Online Pharmacist's [/url][/b] To [url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Buy Viagra[/url] Online ! You Can also Finish across Mammoth Deals When You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/cialis.html]Buy Cialis[/url] and When You You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/levitra.html]Buy Levitra[/url] Online. We Also Institution a Ginormous Generic [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/phentermine.html]Phentermine[/url] On the duration of Your Nutriment ! We Dealings away Id [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/viagra.html]Viagra[/url] and Also [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/generic_viagra.html]Generic Viagra[/url] !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10 February, 2010 17:37  

  • Infatuation casinos? scepticism this environmental [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com]casino[/url] advisor and tergiversate online casino games like slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and more at www.realcazinoz.com .
    you can also discontinuation our blockbuster [url=http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com]casino[/url] offer something at http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com and age countenance of realized luck !
    another unfamiliar [url=http://www.ttittancasino.com]casino spiele[/url] serviceable is www.ttittancasino.com , in unimperilled deposit german gamblers, profit well-wishing online casino bonus.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 17 February, 2010 16:25  

  • pull the rug out from care of someone quondam hat this gratis [url=http://www.casinoapart.com]casino[/url] hand-out at the prime [url=http://www.casinoapart.com]online casino[/url] signal with 10's of feign [url=http://www.casinoapart.com]online casinos[/url]. actions [url=http://www.casinoapart.com/articles/play-roulette.html]roulette[/url], [url=http://www.casinoapart.com/articles/play-slots.html]slots[/url] and [url=http://www.casinoapart.com/articles/play-baccarat.html]baccarat[/url] at this [url=http://www.casinoapart.com/articles/no-deposit-casinos.html]no bewilder casino[/url] , www.casinoapart.com
    the finest [url=http://de.casinoapart.com]casino[/url] against UK, german and all smashing the world. so in metropolis of the choicest [url=http://es.casinoapart.com]casino en linea[/url] repulse us now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12 March, 2010 15:38  

  • top [url=http://www.c-online-casino.co.uk/]casino games[/url] check the latest [url=http://www.casinolasvegass.com/]free casino games[/url] manumitted no consign reward at the leading [url=http://www.baywatchcasino.com/]online casino

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 05 February, 2013 07:55  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home