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Questions, Rumors Abound About Edwards' Political Future

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Sen. John Edwards Ends Presidential Bid: Part 4
RALEIGH, N.C. — Twenty-four hours after John Edwards officially suspended his presidential campaign, the North Carolina senator remained on the ballot for next month's state Democratic caucus.

Meanwhile, rumors continued to swirl about where Edwards goes from here, including -- until an Edwards spokesperson put it to rest -- a rumor that he might return to the U.S. Senate race.

Since he has been back home, Edwards has been catching up with family and thanking supporters. He has nine months left to serve in his senate term, a job some critics believe he has neglected.

But, what about next next year? Let the speculation begin.

The main question has been: Will Edwards get back into the presidential race as John Kerry's running mate?

"It's by no means certain that Edwards is going to get it," said Rob Christensen, political columnist for the

News & Observer

of Raleigh. "Kerry and Edwards are not enemies, but they are not friends, either."

Christensen said that if Edwards does not make the ticket, he expects the senator to campaign hard for the nominee and other Democratic candidates.

Edwards may still be part of a Kerry White House.

"There's been a lot of talk that Edwards could end up being in a cabinet position," Christensen said.

A rumor that had been circulating until Thursday was that Edwards could jump back into the U.S. Senate race.

"There's a little buzz about that," Christensen said, adding that "there would be many Democrats who'd be very, very angry, who'd see him almost as a double cross."

Democratic senate candidate Erskine Bowles brushed off the possibility of Edwards rejoining the Senate race.

"John is an extraordinary person and ran a great campaign," Bowles said in a statement. "I am so proud to have supported him. I am thinking about November, and that is it. I am not even thinking about it (Edwards in the Senate race)."

Whatever Edwards decides, most pundits expect he will keep a foot on the national stage with an eye toward running for president again in 2008 or 2012.

Christensen said he expects Edwards to start campaigning almost immediately if George W. Bush wins re-election -- or possibly taking a job as a college president.

Of course, it is all up to the senator.


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