Bloggers are analyzing John Edwards' endorsement of Barack Obama and breaking down John McCain's speech about withdrawing from Iraq by 2013.
Edwards for Obama: John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama for president Wednesday, and, like clockwork, the United Steelworkers Union, which had supported Edwards, followed suit. Some are speculating that the timing of the nod—a day after Hillary Clinton's decisive win in West Virginia—indicates Edwards' concern that Obama hasn't got the chops alone to sway Appalachian white voters.
It was Clinton's win in West Virginia that moved Edwards, according to Jeralyn Merritt at Talk Left: "It's about ending the growing perception that Obama can't win against John McCain because he can't get rural, blue collar, less wealthy and less educated voters." And Craig Crawford at CQPolitics adds: "Edwards has spent more time among Appalachian voters than anyone in this presidential campaign. His poverty tours and tireless championing for working-class voters in the region might encourage those voters to listen to Edwards if he goes on the road in Kentucky." Yet Noam Scheiber at the New Republic's Stump notes: "Pat Buchanan made an interesting point on MSNBC just now: While Edwards's endorsement does ease the sting of last night's West Virginia battering, it probably raises expectations for Obama in Kentucky next week."
In Edwards' speech, he offered heavy praise for Clinton, calling her a woman of "steel." Greg Sargent at TPM Election Central argues: "This suggests that Edwards clearly recognizes that a genuine gesture to Hillary supporters will be necessary to bring them into the fold if the party is going to be united -- and that he wants to be seen as a conciliatory figure, as a key promoter of party unity, even as he's choosing one of the two Dems." While self-described "militant progressive" JM Bell spins the labor angle: "I have to think that certain Union leaders are breathing a little easier today. In the early days of the 2008 campaign season (1912, wasn't it?), Edwards was a favorite of a lot of different Unions and I know that more than a few Edwards supporters were hoping that things would break this way."
New York Sun contributing editor Seth Gitell says it doesn't matter: "Edwards was not an asset to John Kerry, whose top supporters still carry resentment towards the lawyer who couldn't carry his home state of North Carolina. Edwards can't help Obama in the South, where John McCain will win. And he hasn't won white voters since 1998." At the Washington Post's Fix,Chris Cillizza agrees, though for a different reason: "[R]emember that Edwards has been out of the race -- and the limelight -- for months now and his endorsement doesn't matter as much as it might have three months ago or even one month ago." Or, as Obama supporter Francis L. Holland puts it: "So, it shows tremendous courage, foresight and solidarity that Edwards has endorsed Obama after the media declared Hillary's campaign to be as good as dead, right? Oh, well! Better late than never!"
Pam Spaulding at lefty Pandagon says: "[A] slice of this demographic, as we've seen, has no qualms declaring that they will not vote for a black man under any circumstances — even if voting for a Republican is against their basic economic interests. You have to think those folks are unlikely to be moved by an endorsement by Edwards." At Shakesville, Melissa McEwan, a former Edwards campaign blogger, was less excited about the endorsement: "I was actually hoping he would withhold an endorsement altogether, and then vociferously support the eventual nominee, which is a position, in my opinion, better suited to a party's elder statesman. Then again, maybe he doesn't want to be an elder statesman."
Citizen Wells offers a cryptic but ominous response: "I was born, raised and still live in NC. I have done extensive research on Obama. If you align with Obama, you will go down with him."
McCain's withdrawal strategy: John McCain spoke Thursday about his vision for the world in 2013, provided he's elected president. Among the prognostications is victory in Iraq and the withdrawal of "most" of the U.S. forces there. The McCain camp also debuted this new ad making the same case.
At the Los Angeles Times' politics blog Top of the Ticket,Andrew Malcolm reminds readers: "Maybe you remember during their most heated debate exchange of the Republican primary season, McCain going right after former Gov. Mitt Romney for even hinting at a vague timetable for U.S. troop withdrawals because the Arizona senator alleged it would be taken by the enemy as a sign of surrender and a date they need only await. How times change."