Posted: October 18, 2007 3:39 PM
Edwards Lags in Polls, Money, But Talks Up Electability
Former North Carolina Democratic Sen. John Edwards’ focus on Iowa continues this week, along with emphasis on his electability in a general election, despite trailing his Democratic opponents, Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., in both the polls and the money race.
This week, he wrapped up a two-day Barnstorm for Rural America that led him through small towns across Iowa to highlight the needs of family farmers, his proposals to strengthen rural schools and push to increase biofuel production.
Edwards took the old fashion campaign route, meeting with Hawkeye voters in schools, homes and community centers in nine counties. He has opted for smaller, more personal settings over television ads in Iowa, in an attempt to demonstrate to rural voters that he is in touch with their concerns. McClatchy’s Rob Christensen reports on how Edwards hopes this attention to local Iowans will set him apart from his rivals.
“I worry sometimes that these presidential candidates think of small towns and rural areas as places you fly over when you are going from New York to Los Angeles. But for me, it’s where I am from,” Edwards said.
And David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register warns that is too early to rule out an Edwards win in Iowa.
Edwards next begins his True Blue Majority campaign in New Hampshire, and in a speech in California before the Service Employees International Union later this week, he plans to argue that he is best suited to take on a Republican in the general election and that the Democrats need to expand their majority in order to make any real difference after 2008.
Although the SEIU declined to nationally endorse any candidate, its individual state councils may do so, and 10 states, including Iowa, threw their support to Edwards. The Los Angles Times
Reports on these union nods, and Edwards’ campaign produced a video about the announcements.
Edwards also landed the endorsement of the environmental group, Friends of the Earth Action, as reported by the Boston Globe. The group praised the former senator for his plans to cut greenhouse gases, but not rely on nuclear power.
In a recent trip to South Carolina, Edwards emphasized his roots in the state where he was born. The Charlotte Observer covered the challenges he faces in South Carolina, despite winning its 2004 primary.
A recent USA Today/Gallup Poll, meanwhile, shows Clinton with a commanding lead of 50 percent of respondents’ support. Obama came in second with 21 percent, and Edwards got 13 percent. And in New Hampshire, a Marist College poll also had Clinton leading, this time with 41 percent, compared to Obama’s 20 percent and Edwards’ 11 percent.
The American Prospect picked up recent Edwards comments on the issue of black men in prison, praising Edwards for speaking out on the politically sensitive matter.
On Thursday, Edwards participated in a live online chat sponsored by the washingtonpost.com, Concord Monitor and Cedar Rapids Gazette. On Friday, he is expected to appear on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. And, on Monday, both Edwards and his wife Elizabeth plan to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.