Local Politics

Analysts: Edwards Faces Uphill Battle

Posted January 4, 2008

— With a second place finish in the Iowa caucuses Thursday night, John Edwards shifted his focus to New Hampshire and to chipping away support for Hillary Clinton to keep his campaign moving in the right direction.

After edging out the New York senator and former First Lady, Edwards claims he's in a two-person race for the Democratic nomination with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who captured the first prize of the nomination process in Iowa.

Political analysts said Friday that Edwards, a Chapel Hill resident and former U.S. senator from North Carolina, faces an uphill fight in New Hampshire, where he's lagged a distant third in the polls. The Granite State will hold the first presidential primary of 2008 next Tuesday.

"It's easier to say Edwards didn't do well in Iowa, but his campaign says – and it's true – he beat Hillary. That is an accomplishment," said Gary Pearce, a Democratic strategist.

Edwards has labeled Obama and Clinton as the big-money, celebrity candidates. Despite coming up short in Iowa, the Edwards campaign claimed record online fundraising on Friday.

"Message and what you stand for matters more than money," Edwards said. "I think we're in a good place, and I'm going to fight with everything I've got (in New Hampshire)."

But Republican consultant Carter Wrenn said credibility hurts Edwards more than his lack of money when facing off against Obama and Clinton.

"Edwards has to try to knock Hillary out of this race and then hope when it gets to be just him and Obama (that) he has a shot," Wrenn said. "(But) Obama's the real thing and Edwards is not, and that's his problem."

Pearce and Wrenn agreed that Edwards doesn't have to win New Hampshire to survive. The real pressure comes later, they said.

"Edwards did not do well there four years ago. I don't think expectations are that high. South Carolina is sort of his challenge," Wrenn said.

The South Carolina primary is in three weeks. It is Edwards' native state, and it marked his only primary victory in 2004. But he trails Obama and Clinton in the polls there this year.

"You could get hurt in South Carolina, and that could cripple you. But it's a long way to go," Pearce said.

18 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • colliedave Jan 5, 2008

    I know this is a radical thought, but if you are so tired of hearing about Edwards you could skip those article about him.
    Of course, I know that what you really like to do is whine and play the victim. S'OK by me.

    NO. What I want is for the media to do its job and ask all the candidates hard questions. All Hill did when asked hard questions was to pull the whine card and they were playing too hard 'cause she's a girl. Right now, the media is Obama-obsessed and seems unwilling to ask him the hard questions.

  • mvnull Jan 5, 2008

    I know this is a radical thought, but if you are so tired of hearing about Edwards you could skip those article about him.

    Of course, I know that what you really like to do is whine and play the victim. S'OK by me.

  • Windsway Jan 5, 2008

    I just heard a national political figure compare John Edwards to Jimmy Carter. That's a scary thought. But, if that is a good comparison, and John is elected, we had better start digging fallout shelters. Our military will go to pot, interest rates will be over 15%, we'll be the international laughing stock, and all the while John will be looking in a mirror, having his hair done, and declaring that someone else is at fault.

  • likemenow Jan 5, 2008

    So a one term, absentee Senator faces an uphill battle?...nice hard-hitting article

  • Deb1003 Jan 5, 2008

    Yet another meaningless article about Edwards. Don't they get it? We are tired of hearing about this egocentric candidate!

  • sweetsea Jan 5, 2008

    Edwards only got 34% of the vote in his hometown when he ran on the Kerry ticket. If he were to somehow get the democrat nomination, he would not carry North or South Carolina. All of these are the folks that know him best and they ain't soaking up his snake oil just like Tenneseeans didn't vote for native son and world renowned meterologist Al Gore. Edwards is a phony egotist. I wish WRAL would stop toting water for him.

  • shine Jan 5, 2008

    Edwards is in an uphill battle as long as he is trying to impress anyone - more especially from NC

    Edwards is in a downhill battle as long as he is looking in the mirror.... because every thing he does is for his self.

  • fireman1963 Jan 4, 2008

    Hope Edwards loses in NH and then in SC. That way we can be rid of him forever - finally.

  • weasleyes Jan 4, 2008

    If Edwards was being run out of town on a rail, he would proclaim that he was leading a parade! What a fake!

  • atozca Jan 4, 2008

    The results of the Iowa caucuses reveal that conservative Christians remain a powerful force in American politics. That would make a good story seeing that The New York Times wrote a demeaning obituary of Values Voters in an article called The Evangelical Crackup. CNN piled on, proclaiming the demise of the 'old values,' referring to traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life and now the mainstream media have been proven dead wrong. The old values are strong and alive and showing up to vote!

More...