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July 6, 2004

This may be the never-ending story, but now the AP reports that John Kerry has selected John Edwards for his running mate:

John Kerry selected former rival John Edwards to be his running mate, picking the smooth-talking Southern populist over more seasoned politicians in hopes of injecting vigor and small-town appeal to the Democratic presidential ticket, The Associated Press learned Tuesday.

Kerry offered Edwards the No. 2 spot on the Democratic ticket in a telephone call Tuesday morning, and the North Carolina senator accepted, said two senior Democrats familiar with the conversation.

I suppose that the Post may be asking its reporter for its source in the next few minutes, as putting out a massive front-page story on the wrong pick can be just a tad embarrassing. Edwards, of course, may prove more embarrassing in the long run. He's a one-term Senator with no foreign-policy experience, no great ties to labor, and in his previous career was a personal-injury trial lawyer, which as far as running targets go, don't get much better than that. He would inject more excitement into the campaign than Kerry, but almost anyone apart from Gephardt could have done the same thing. If Gephardt's hold on his home state was in doubt, Edwards' is even more tenuous; the Carolinas have been Bush country and likely will continue to be.

Edwards is a lightweight with a handsome face, and while he scored well in Iowa in the caucuses, he will carry no weight in the Midwest, even less than a Gephardt or even Howard Dean. Dick Cheney will shred Edwards in a debate, where Gephardt would have provided a better match.

There's something wrong with a process that elevated the mediocrities to the short list for the VP selection. That problem is the nominee at the top of the ticket.

UPDATE: Again via Malkin, Kerry must have flip-flopped on Edwards since January, since even he said then that Edwards was a lightweight:

"I like John Edwards a lot," Kerry said at a town hall meeting on the Newton campus of Des Moines Area Community College.

"He's a capable, talented person. But I believe the nominee of our party has to be somebody who has the experience necessary to stand up to the onslaught that will come from the Republicans," Kerry added. "If they run this race on national security and you have a nominee who has been in the Senate four years, and that is the full extent of public life -- no international experience, no military experience -- you can imagine what the advertising is going to be next year."

If he's that inexperienced for the presidency, why is Kerry picking him for the VP slot, the position that potentially puts Edwards a heartbeat away from the White House? I guess we can imagine the advertising; it will likely include this anti-endorsement from Edwards' own running mate.

UPDATE II: Our friends at the GOP were prepared for this selection. Yikes. Wonder what they'll find after a few more days:

Kerry Blasted Edwards Lack Of Military And Foreign Policy Experience. Kerry took aim at Edwardss lack of military and foreign policy experience while responding to Edwardss comment that both candidates shared similar plans to rebuild Iraq. Well, I think he would like it to be that way, said Kerry, a decorated veteran, but I think I have 35 years of experience in international security, foreign policy, and military affairs, and I think that makes an enormous difference here. I think that the world is looking for leadership that is tested and sure. (Raja Mishra, Edwards And Kerry Emphasize Contrasts, The Boston Globe, 2/23/04)

Kerry Mocked Edwards Ambitious Nature After Only One Term In Elective Office. The veteran senator also questioned the former trial lawyers pursuit of the presidency after less than one term in elective office. And people call me ambitious? a Globe reporter once overheard Kerry asking an aide. (Glen Johnson, Once a Rival, Edwards Staying Close to Kerry, The Boston Globe, 6/10/04)

1998: Yitzhak Who? One evening while he was campaigning for the Senate in North Carolina, Edwards was faced with a choice of several events he might attend. An advance man suggested, Maybe we ought to go to the reception for Leah Rabin Edwards responded, Whos she? Yitzhak Rabins widow, replied the aide. Who was he? asked Edwards. (Charles Peters, Tilting At Windmills, Washington Monthly, 6/1/03)

Edwards Sought Dramatic Revision Of The PATRIOT Act, But Cited Portions That Arent Part Of The Act. SEN. EDWARDS: I support dramatic revision of the PATRIOT Act. The last thing we should be doing is turning over our privacy, our liberties, our freedom, our constitutional rights to John Ashcroft. Let me speak about this quickly. First, the very notion that this administration can arrest American citizens on American soil, label them an enemy combatant, put them in prison, keep them there indefinitely -- they never see a lawyer, never see a judge, never even get an opportunity to prove that theyre innocent and they did nothing wrong this runs contrary to everything we believe in this country. (Democrat Presidential Candidates Debate, Baltimore, MD, 9/9/03)

-- A Year Earlier Edwards Praised PATRIOT And Said Broadening Surveillance Was Correct Thing To Do. SEN. EDWARDS: [I] think the director of the FBI actually believes weve made progress in this area, partly, I might add, as a result of some of the work that Senator Hatch and others have done on the Judiciary Committee, on the Patriot Act, on the intelligence legislation which both of us were involved in which was passed earlier in the year. We broadened the extent to which this kind of surveillance could be done and gave the FBI and the CIA more authority to do it. I think that was right. It was the correct thing to do, and now we need to make sure that whats what can be done is, in fact, being done. (CNNs Late Edition, 7/14/02)

And so on. Looks like a pretty good start. Expect to see more of these examples in campaign advertising.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 6, 2004 7:06 AM

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CNN is now confirming that John Kerry has picked John Edwards to be his running mate in 2004. Of the three top candidates, Edwards was probably the best pick. Edwards has what Kerry sorely lacks: charisma and the ability to fire up an audience. Of c... [Read More]

Tracked on July 6, 2004 7:26 AM

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