Edwards Evening News Roundup: The Christmas Day Edition

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! There I covered all grounds. LOL. It's Christmas night and there is hardly an Edwards story to be found. But I did the best I could. Join us....

1. In shifting race, Edwards aims for the gut

Edwards continue defining his stance in the race. He's saying what a lot of us believe, that electing Clinton is essentially about keeping the DC power structure the same...in effect, no real change, that Obama is intelligent, but untested in life & death battles. Because make no mistake, the up coming epic fights will be about life and death.

DES MOINES - John Edwards, who long has found common cause with Barack Obama in portraying Hillary Clinton as a defender of the Washington status quo, is now trying to distinguish himself from Obama by saying the Illinois senator lacks the toughness to upend the Washington order.

The article also put forth a the notion that the three choices are about head, heart and gut.

That Edwards and Obama have now taken to battling each other reflects changes in the Democratic presidential race, as the two candidates compete to be the reform alternative to Clinton. In a primary fight that many have cast as a choice between Clinton's appeals to the party's head and Obama's to its heart, Edwards is aiming for the gut.

But maybe it's just me, but I think Edwards his headed for the trifecta of those pillars. First he appealed to the head with his strong sound policies for the major issues facing us, and beyond, then the focused on the heart by calling out individuals and how bad policies affect them, people such as James Lowe, the Lakeys and a few more along the way of his campaign. And finally he's aiming for the gut by speaking blunt truths about who is best able to make the change, and who can win the general election.

"What Iowa caucusgoers are looking for - they're not looking for academic and they're not looking for analytical," Edwards said in a Friday interview with Iowa Public Television. "They're looking for somebody who speaks from right here, from their gut, and who believes deeply and passionately in what they're talking about."

In distinguishing himself from Obama and their different approach to enacting change.

Edwards, a onetime courtroom lawyer, portrayed Obama, a former constitutional law professor, as cool and abstract in his thinking. "From my perspective, this is not an academic or a philosophical question," Edwards said. "This is about who has the toughness and fight to take on corporate greed and win."

Edwards message is much more hard-edged than 2004, but the core is still the same, corporate power against the people.

"Our government is selling out our children's future at the command of lobbyists and their corporate clients," Edwards says now.

Confronting "corporate greed and corporate power" has given his rhetoric a freshly vindictive edge. He now suggests a need for federal laws against predatory lending because those on the state level are insufficiently punitive. "If you have a strong law, they just go somewhere else," he said in Manchester. "We've got to put these people out of business."

What struck me as funny was that as Obama keeps copying and integrating Edwards message into his, his style is so cool, that the message doesn't resonate as well as Edwards because Edwards feels it.

Obama is exhibiting a similar impatience with economic discontent, delivering speeches peppered with the word "corporate" - one of Edwards's favorite epithets - and releasing an ad taking issue with the effect global trade has had on "ordinary people." "Enough is enough," Obama says in the ad, now on the air in Iowa.

Obama's tendency to want to "bring people together" is a head shaker for some people, including me.

"He's wearing rose-colored glasses," Jonathan Prince, Edwards's deputy campaign manager, said of Obama. "It's nice in theory that you think you can get everyone to come together, but it doesn't work that way."

The article finished with Edwards ability to effect an uprising of the people.

The suggestion that Edwards has the passion to lead an uprising while Obama offers mere uplift offers a new anti-intellectual tilt to the durable populism at the core of Edwards's appeal.

"It's a working people's message," said Dave Nagle, a former Democratic congressman remaining neutral.

"He's not being a nice guy about it this time, but it's still the same message."

It's an interesting read. Check it out.


2. Iowa caucus can elevate second choice

Did you know that second choices are really important in Iowa! I bet you do! Edwards seems to be a popular second choice. I can't think why, since he's the BEST candidate! Anyway here's a glimpse into second choice thinking.

Bill Grove is a Bill Richardson man. He thinks the New Mexico governor, with his background as a United Nations ambassador and secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, is well seasoned for the White House.

But Grove has a backup plan.

If Richardson fails to qualify under Iowa's complicated system of counting Democratic caucus votes, Grove says he will switch his vote to former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

Hmmm, what are the chances of Grove using his backup plan. Just wondering out loud? Not sayin' nuthin'.

Edwards, the former vice presidential candidate, is sort of the bridesmaid of the Democratic Iowa caucus. While most polls show Edwards running a close third behind Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, the polls also say that Edwards is the most popular second choice among potential caucus participants.

Edwards is really nice to everybody. Even without him being second choice & all. He's nice. Really.

Most everywhere Edwards goes in Iowa, he talks about what a stellar group of Democrats are running for president. He avoids criticizing the second tier of candidates. Before many campaign rallies, Edwards meets privately with undecided voters selected by his staff.

The other candidates are making similar efforts to reach out to supporters of their competitors. The courtship is a soft sell because nobody wants to offend the backers of other candidates by saying that their guy is probably toast.

Interestingly, in Iowa, even after you've picked your horse, you're still checking out all the other horses.

Grove, a 64-year-old retired school superintendent, attended an Edwards rally in Council Bluffs. It was the third time he had seen Edwards speak. He has also gone to two Richardson speeches, one Clinton speech, one Obama speech and, even though he is a Democrat, to speeches by Republicans Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul.

"It's fun going to these things," Grove said. "It's the beauty of being retired."

The economic message seems to be a strong pull in Edwards favor.

Grove picked Edwards as his second choice because he likes Edwards' emphasis on helping restore rural America and his populist message about the declining middle class.

"I like his fighting spirit," he said.

Seems like this particular voter likes a guy with fighting spirit.

Grove was moved by a new video that the Edwards campaign showed before the rally. The video included photos of a shuttered textile mill in Edwards' boyhood home of Robbins, N.C., and Edwards in football pads and footage of his father, Wallace, recalling how he taught his son - who had come home bloodied one day from school - never to start a fight but never to walk away from one, either. Wallace notes that his son whipped the bigger boy the next day.

Grove said that if that video were shown across the state, Edwards would win Iowa.

"Most of my career has been in small towns and, in Iowa, they are disappearing," Grove said. "His message really resonates with you. I just personally like him."


3. When Private Struggles Become Public Displays

A story coming out of NYTimes on how personal stories are played on the trail. As we know, Edwards likes to use personal stories to make his point. It humanizes politics and policies. Though the Times story dealt with more than one candidate, including republicans, here is what it said about Edwards. Stories from the heart to the heart.

Some of the stories that have emerged along the trail have been incorporated into the campaigns. Former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, for example, has drawn on stories that have emerged in public events to emphasize his populist agenda.

Mr. Edwards has pointed to a Las Vegas man named Robert Souflee as an example of why the country needs stronger unions. He asked a man in Kentucky to tell the audience the name of his uninsured daughter, who was suffering from diabetes complications. And several times he expressed anger over a New Hampshire man named Celso Mena who was injured at work and is struggling with medical bills.

Doug Bishop, who was laid off from his job at a Maytag plant in Iowa and first met Mr. Edwards in the 2004 campaign, was on the road with him last week. Mr. Edwards also frequently refers to James Lowe, whom he met in July in a rural poverty event in Wise, Va., where Mr. Lowe related a story about how the lack of medical care to correct his cleft palate kept him from speaking until he was 50.

Mr. Edwards has since flown Mr. Lowe and his wife, Cynthia, to the Democratic debate in Chicago, their first trip on an airplane, and sent him flowers when his mother died in September. Mr. Edwards’s staff recently called for details to place the couple on Mr. Edwards’s Christmas list, Mrs. Lowe said.

Now, Mr. Lowe is featured in television advertisements and even accompanied Mr. Edwards to New Hampshire for a campaign swing last week.


4. Blog Roundup

An Edwards Christmas Carol by AJ WI

Why the Choice of Edwards is Clear (Donor Match 2) by democracy is coming

My Christmas Wish: Edwards in the White House!!by RDem

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