Breaking News: Edwards Drops Out

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Hat Tip: Nedra Pickler, Associated Press, photo by alexdecarvalho of fickr.

DENVER – 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. Both candidates would welcome Edwards’ backing and the support of the 56 delegates he had collected.

Edwards waged a spirited top-tier campaign against the two better-funded rivals, even as he dealt with the stunning blow of his wife’s recurring cancer diagnosis. In a dramatic news conference last March, the couple announced that the breast cancer that she thought she had beaten had returned, but they would continue the campaign.

Their decision sparked a debate about family duty and public service. But Elizabeth Edwards remained a forceful advocate for her husband, and she was often surrounded at campaign events by well-wishers and emotional survivors cheering her on.

Edwards planned to announce his campaign was ending with his wife and three children at his side. Then he planned to work with Habitat for Humanity at the volunteer-fueled rebuilding project Musicians’ Village, the adviser said.

With that, Edwards’ campaign will end the way it began 13 months ago — with the candidate pitching in to rebuild lives in a city still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards embraced New Orleans as a glaring symbol of what he described as a Washington that didn’t hear the cries of the downtrodden.

John and Elizabeth Edwards are tenacious advocates for whomever they fight for and they brought a touch of class and compassion to this race. I wish them and their family well.

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14 thoughts on “Breaking News: Edwards Drops Out

  1. hfamom

    It’s unfortunate that the remaining 46 States won’t have an opportunity to vote for him. Edwards is a good man and, I believe, would have made a great President.

  2. Zeitgeist9000

    I think Hillary is helped by this; Hill and Bill have successful boxed in Obama on the racial issue, and from a purely demographical perspective, Edwards’ non-black supporters will essentially be siding with Hillary on the basis of race….

    Great picture of Edwards!

  3. NuPolitico

    It’s true that some of Edwards’ voters will go to Hillary BUT not as many as folks think! Rednecks who refuse to vote for a black man WILL NOT vote for a woman. (think rural AL, rural GA, WV, central TN)

    Edwards’ ideological voters will overwhelmingly support Obama. (think OR, WA, CA, MN, MO, NM, NC, WI)

  4. john in california

    The problem for Obama with Edwards supporters is his lack of a populist message. I didn’t think the Edwards lifestyle really fit his message, but it was the message that got him support. If Obama want those votes he needs to make some specific reference to adoption of Edwards policies this weekend. A lot of people who suported Edwards are a bit dismayed that he dropped out just a few days before super Tuesday, especially as many had already voted. Maybe he has made a deal with one of them.

  5. Chesapeake

    john in california,

    Both Obama and Clinton have the chance to win some Edwards’ votes. Both of them probably have won some. The tougher assignment is winning Edwards’ support. Edwards is still on the ballot, and we will probably see him get a good number of votes on Tuesday.

    When one look at how much wealth Edwards has amassed, his 10 acre home, his record of a $400 haircut (including travel for the barber), his conservative, professional, appearance, etc., one thinks his lifestyle doesn’t fit his message. The media perpetrated that image. However, what we didn’t hear about or see is him taking 700 (I think) kids to New Orleans for spring break to help rebuild; him opening, supporting, and working at a fairly substantive and comprehensive poverty center at Chapel Hill; him establishing and maintaining a foundation to send to college kids who worked 10 hours per week; him sending his own children to public schools; the type of law practice he ran; him truly shunning lobbyists as a Senator and candidate, etc. His lifestyle is harmonious and does not conflict with his plans (plans as opposed to messages).

    As you can see, this writer is still grieving his suspension – dwelling on what couldh’ve been. In agreement with one supporter on Edwards’ blog, “I feel like I just lost a part-time job.” But I’m looking forward to Obama vs. Clinton/ vs. McCain!

  6. Rick

    “The problem for Obama with Edwards supporters is his lack of a populist message. I didn’t think the Edwards lifestyle really fit his message, but it was the message that got him support. If Obama want those votes he needs to make some specific reference to adoption of Edwards policies this weekend.” John in Cali

    I thought this was an excellent point, John. I personally could have ShAkEn Obama myself for not mentioning the economy A SINGLE TIME during the NH debate. (HRC did once). Did you know that NH voters placed the economy as their number one concern that weekend — ahead of Iraq or nat. security issues? Of course, Obama lost NH (and many have offered their reasons why).

    As we head into tonight’s debate in Los Angeles, a city with a significant latino population — a population that has, like blacks, been devastated by the subCrime housing catrastrophe — he will need to convey that he can tap into such frustrations and convey that he offers a solution to it, that Hillary does not.

    Rightly or wrongly, many latinos (in particular) feel that Hillary Clinton would “fight” harder for them. And if you are about to lose your home, and think things were better in the 1990s when the Clintons were in the White House, why wouldn’t you vote for someone who you thought could bring you back to those times? Right now, I understand that democratic latinos in California favor Hillary by 3:1. In short, John, I agree with what you are saying.

  7. Rick

    you are welcome, Chesapeake.
    When I read that article, I thought Edwards would make a great Vice President. Edwards has bold ideas, is willing to stand FIRM and is willing to go to the matt for what he believes in. Obama would benefit from having someone like Edwards as VP. Just my 2cents.

  8. Chesapeake

    Maybe. If he has the opportunity, the bad experience of running with Kerry may be a factor. Besides, Kerry is a big Obama supporter and advisor, and the opportunity may not arise. We’ll see.

    Because of Senator Edwards’ firmness and the influence he wanted to have in Kerry’s decisions, some think he will be better suited as cabinet appointee. There’s some noise of him as an AG. Again, we’ll see.

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