early and often

The Edwards Endorsement: What Will the White People Think?


Come here and give me a hug, y’all.”Photo: Getty Images

Before blue-collar whites coalesced around Hillary Clinton, they had a champion in John Edwards, who made his “two Americas” theme the centerpiece of his campaign. Given that Barack Obama has been struggling to win over this very demographic, it probably would have helped if Edwards made his long-sought endorsement earlier in the race. Though it probably won’t make that much of a difference going forward (Edwards never had enough support to win any states), Obama is surely happy for any extra credibility among white people — now, later, whenever.

• Andrew Romano thinks that all the endorsement is doing is “shifting the storyline from ‘Obama isn’t winning the Bubba vote’ to ‘maybe he will.’” [Stumper/Newsweek]

• Craig Crawford thinks Edwards, who has campaigned in Appalachia more than any other candidate, could help avoid another embarrassing blowout in Kentucky on May 20. Proving his strength among voters skeptical of Obama could set him up for a veep role. [CQ Politics]

• Ben Smith explains the fate of Edwards’s sixteen pledged delegates (he’s expected to get “two or three more” at the Iowa convention). Basically, they have the freedom to vote for whomever they please (like superdelegates), but, at Edwards’s insistence, they will likely back Obama. [Politico]

• Chuck Todd and friends note that, with Edwards’s delegates, Clinton’s argument for Michigan and Florida loses steam, since even after seating both of those states Obama would hold a majority in pledged delegates. [FirstRead/MSNBC]

• Jim Geraghty supposes the Edwards endorsement could help Obama in Kentucky or, later on, with white, working-class voters, but what really would’ve made a difference is if Edwards endorsed Obama before West Virginia or North Carolina. [Campaign Spot/National Review]

• Chris Cillizza believes the endorsement will have less of an impact than you might think, because, basically, even “the most popular politician” will have a hard time transferring support to whomever he or she endorses. But the endorsement is important for symbolic reasons, because it shows that Edwards, a party leader, believes the race to be over, and perhaps superdelegates will agree. [Fix/WP]

• Noam Scheiber, agreeing with Pat Buchanan, says this might make it harder for Obama in Kentucky, since Edwards’s support will raise expectations in the state, while not really making much of an actual impact. [Plank/New Republic]

• John Nichols doesn’t think this was a primary endorsement, but the beginning of positioning for the general election. (It was delivered in Michigan, a general-election swing state, not, say, Kentucky.) Edwards was there to “bury Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate” and possibly give her some competition for a spot on the Obama ticket. [Campaign ‘08/Nation]

• Jim Rutenberg writes that, at the very least, Edwards’s endorsement pushed Clinton out of the news spotlight on a night when her TV appearances would have received a lot of attention. [NYT] —Dan Amira

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

The Edwards Endorsement: What Will the White People Think?