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February 21, 2005
John Edwards Won't Defer To Kerry In 2008

Showing that he learned a lesson from Al Gore's backstab of Joe Lieberman in the last election cycle, John Edwards told ABC that while he and John Kerry remained close, he would not defer to his former running mate in 2008 if Kerry decided to run again for the presidency:

Former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards will not talk about whether he plans to run for the White House in 2008, but he is not pledging to stand aside if former running mate Sen. John F. Kerry tries again. ...

"Not only are John Kerry and I friends, our families are close," Edwards said. "I have enormous respect for him. But I'll decide what's the right thing to do based on what's going on with my own family."

Last time, Lieberman held off announcing his candidacy while Gore sat around growing his beard and transforming himself into a radical leftist while deciding whether or not to run. Lieberman had made a pledge to support Gore if he came back for another run against George Bush, and having made that pledge, felt duty-bound to honor it. After it became clear that Gore would not toss his hat into the ring, Lieberman finally did, but at a significant disadvantage, as several others got a big head start that he never was able to make up.

As a reward for that loyalty, Gore sucker-punched his former running mate by endorsing Howard Dean on the eve of the Vermont governor's Iowa meltdown -- without even having the courtesy of calling Lieberman to inform him. It made Lieberman look foolish and Gore look like a snake.

Edwards has no intention, apparently, of allowing either to happen in 2008. This may be the clearest indication yet that the Democrats have accepted the fact that Kerry will run again in 2008 and intend on showing no deference to their also-ran. Edwards and the Democrats may have sent a message back to Kerry with this statement, informing him of their desire to see him retire from the fray and be satisfied with the Senate career instead. I doubt that Kerry will accept that message.

On a more personal note, Edwards tells viewers that his wife Elizabeth continues to progress well with her fight against breast cancer. That's good news, and we hope she has a speedy recovery.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 21, 2005 6:52 AM

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