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January 30, 2008

Edwards Quits -- One Woman Hardest Hit

Barack Obama may have received his biggest pre-Super Tuesday boost, but it didn't come from an endorsement. John Edwards has decided to quit the presidential race today, ending his second populist bid in as many cycles. The removal of Edwards from the February 5th contests gives Democrats a chance to coalesce any anti-Hillary Clinton sentiment behind a single candidate:

Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies, The Associated Press has learned.

The two-time White House candidate notified a close circle of senior advisers that he planned to make the announcement at a 1 p.m. EST event in New Orleans that had been billed as a speech on poverty, according to two aides. The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole the spotlight from the beginning — Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

The former North Carolina senator will not immediately endorse either candidate in what is now a two-person race for the Democratic nomination, said one adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the announcement.

Unlike other candidates who have dropped from contention, Edwards actually has a significant number of delegates. They can now vote for whomever they desire at the convention, although an Edwards endorsement will likely carry a lot of weight. However, the influence of Edwards goes well beyond delegate counts, and both of the remaining candidates know it.

Edwards has until now split the Hillary opposition with Barack Obama. His departure provides a single point of focus for those who resent the Clinton influence within the party -- a faction that has grown, undoubtedly, after the nasty and mean-spirited campaigning of Bill Clinton over the last month. Democratic pundits and politicians alike have raised their voices against the Restoration, and now Obama personifies the opportunity to prevent it.

Edwards essentially has taken himself out of the middleman role. Hillary now has to contend with Obama by herself, with no one to run interference for her, on the eve of the closest thing we've ever had to a national primary. This could very well be the tipping point for the Clintons.


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John Edwards has announced that he is quitting the 2008 race for President. Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with f... [Read More]

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