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John Edwards presidential campaign, 2008


John Edwards presidential campaign, 2008

John Edwards for President 2008
Campaign U.S. presidential election, 2008
Candidate Johnny Reid Edwards
U.S. Senator from North Carolina 1999–2005
Affiliation Democratic Party
Status Announced Dec. 28, 2006
Withdrew Jan. 30, 2008
Headquarters Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Key people David Bonior (Manager)
Joe Trippi (Senior Strategist)
Jon Prince
Slogan Tomorrow Begins Today

John Edwards is the former United States Senator from North Carolina and was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004. On December 28, 2006, he announced his entry into the 2008 Presidential election in the city of New Orleans near sites devastated by Hurricane Katrina. On January 30, 2008, Edwards returned to New Orleans to announce that he was suspending his campaign for the Presidency. On May 14, 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama at a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Michigan.



On December 28, 2006, John Edwards officially announced his candidacy for President in the 2008 election.[1] The day before, his campaign website accidentally released that Edwards would be entering the 2008 Presidential election when it went live for a short time one day prior to his planned announcement in Eastern New Orleans.[2] He also inadvertently released his campaign slogan early as well: "Tomorrow begins today."[3] This ended months of speculation about whether or not Edwards would make a second run for President.

[4] Kate Michelman, a nationally prominent abortion rights activist and former leader of NARAL, joined the campaign as a senior adviser, charged with outreach to women.[5] Joe Trippi, former Howard Dean Internet strategist, joined Edwards' campaign as part of the media team and also senior adviser in April, 2007.[6]

John Edwards campaigning in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Labor day in 2007.

Two newly hired staff members responsible for the Edwards campaign blog, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, came under fire from The Catholic League on February 6 regarding comments they had made in their personal blogs prior to joining the campaign which many Catholics considered bigoted.[7] Edwards refused to fire them, saying that while "intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign...I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake".[8] The bloggers issued statements separating their personal blogs from the campaign,[9][10] but Marcotte resigned a few days later, saying that the Catholic League's harassment was interfering with her ability to do her job.[11]

During a speech at the American Conservative Union's Political Action Conference, Ann Coulter used the epithet "faggot" in what she claimed afterward was meant as a one-liner joke about presidential candidate Edwards, a remark for which she was criticized by pundits on the left and the right.[12] Edwards responded to Coulter's remark, saying: "I think it's important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention..."[13]

Since his campaign kicked off in 2007, Edwards faced questions about potential conflicts between his campaign against poverty and his personal wealth, particularly the price of his recently built home (estimated at more than $6 million)[14] and how much he paid for two haircuts ($400 each).[15] Edwards reimbursed the campaign and explained that the cost was high because the stylist had to travel to where he was to give the cut.[16]

On March 22, 2007, Edwards and his wife announced that she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, with newly discovered metastases to the bone and possibly to her lung.[17][18] They said that the cancer was "no longer curable, but is completely treatable"[19] and that they planned to continue campaigning together with an occasional break when Ms. Edwards requires treatment, saying "The campaign goes on strongly."[17][20] This ended erroneous media speculation prior to the press conference that Edwards would announce a suspension of his campaign.[21]

In May 2007, Edwards explained that his 2005 decision to work for the hedge fund Fortress Investment Group[22] was so that he might learn more about the way financial markets and poverty were linked, saying "It was primarily to learn, but making money was a good thing, too". Edwards initially declined to disclose exactly how much money he made, saying that all information would be released in his financial disclosure forms when candidates are required to do so.[23] Those forms, released a week later, showed that Edwards made $479,512 from his time at Fortress, making it his biggest single source of earned income in 2006.[24] In addition, John Edwards has raised at least $167,700 for his campaign from individuals associated with Fortress Investment Group.[25]

During a campaign speech to the President Bush's homeland security adviser called them "irresponsible, ... offensive and outrageous".[26]

On September 1, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama joined Senator Edwards to stop campaigning in Michigan and Florida two states that have bucked their party's nomination schedule.[27]

On January 3, 2008, in the Iowa Caucuses, the first contest of the nomination process, Edwards placed second with 29.75 percent of the vote to Obama (37.58 percent), with Clinton coming in third with 29.47 percent of the vote.[28] On January 8, Edwards placed a distant third in the New Hampshire Democratic primary with just less than 17% (48,818 votes). On January 26, Edwards again placed third in the South Carolina Democratic primary, 2008, his birth state, which he carried in 2004 and he placed third in the non-binding January 29 vote in Florida.

On January 30, 2008, Edwards announced that he was ending his campaign for the Presidency.[29]

On February 13, 2008 several high-ranking advisers close to Edwards stated that he believed Hillary Clinton was the strongest remaining Democratic candidate and that because of this she was most likely to receive his public endorsement.[30] However, Barack Obama's meeting with Edwards on February 17 brought that statement into question.[31]


Edwards speaking at a "Small Change for Big Change" fundraiser in Los Angeles, California in August, 2007.
In the first quarter of 2007, the Edwards campaign raised over $14 million, $1 million of which was reserved for the general election. Almost $3.3 million of the $14 million was raised from over 37,000 contributions made over the Internet.[32]

On June 21, 2007, Edwards campaign adviser Joe Trippi sent out a fundraising e-mail stating that the campaign had a goal of raising $9 million in the second quarter and $40 million before the Iowa caucuses.[33]

On June 25, 2007, with the end of the second quarter of fundraising approaching and the campaign short of its goal, Trippi sent a strongly worded email to supporters, saying that "the whole Washington establishment wants our campaign to go away." Trippi wrote, "they don’t want the American people to hear the message, so they attack the messenger. They call him a hypocrite because he came from nothing, built a fortune while standing up for regular people during some of their toughest times, and—heaven forbid!—he has the nerve to remember where he came from and still care passionately about guaranteeing every family the opportunities he had to get ahead."[34]

On July 1, 2007, the Edwards campaign announced that they had met their goal just a few hours before the midnight deadline.[35] Edwards shrugged aside criticism that he had not raised nearly as much as his competitors by noting that Howard Dean, the leading fundraiser in 2004 did not get the nomination.[36]

On September 27, 2007, Edwards announced during a CNN interview that his campaign would accept public financing, enabling him to receive federal matching funds for the primary season.[37] The Federal Elections Commission formally declared him qualified on November 1, 2007.[38]

Opinion polling

Towards the end of 2007, polls indicated Edwards as either tied for 1st or 2nd place, depending on the poll, for the January 3, 2008 Iowa caucus and in 3rd place for the January 8 New Hampshire primary.[39][40][1] Edwards finished in 2nd place in the Iowa Caucus with 30% of the vote, behind Senator Barack Obama who had 38%, and ahead of Senator Hillary Clinton who had 29%. [2] On January 8, he placed third in the New Hampshire Primary, the first primary of the nominating process.

The early national polls showed Edwards placing third among the Democratic field, behind Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama.[41]


Map showing results by county.[42]
On January 3, 2008, the 2008 Iowa Caucuses were held across locations across the state of Iowa. Unlike primaries, voting during the Iowa caucuses was held across the state where participants gathered into groups to select their choice for the Democratic Nominee. If a candidate failed to garner over 15% of the support at a particular site, all supporters at that site would be given the option to leave or join a different candidate.[43]

As votes were being tallied on Caucus night, 2008, John Edwards was in a tight battle for second place with Senator Hillary Clinton, after major news agencies had projected Barack Obama had carried the Iowa caucuses.[44] With 100% of the votes counted, John Edwards was confirmed to have finished in second place during the Iowa Caucuses with 744 State delegates, approximately 30% of the state delegation [45] narrowly edging out Hillary Clinton's 737 State delegates, approximately 29% of the state delegation [46] Both lost to Barack Obama's 940 delegates, 38% of the state delegation.

Following the Iowa Caucuses, John Edwards vowed to stay in the race until the Democratic Convention in Denver despite having less support amongst New Hampshire voters in the 2008 New Hampshire Primary. A poll released after the Iowa Caucuses showed that 20% of those polled showed their support for John Edwards, compared to 33% for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama [47] However, with 100% of the vote counted, Edwards finished in a distant third with 17% of the vote, compared to second place finisher Barack Obama who received 37% support, and even further behind Clinton, who won the state and received 39% of the vote.

Edwards was hit by further losses, including a distant third showing during the Nevada Caucuses in which he finished with 4% of the vote. This prompted Edwards to say "I got my butt kicked" [48] during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on Late Edition.

Finally, the Edwards campaign staked much of their campaign on South Carolina, a state in which the Senator won in 2004 with 45% of the vote, and the state in which he had been born. After a praised debate performance during the Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach shortly before the South Carolina Primary, Edwards began to see a last minute surge shortly before the contest.[49] During the conclusion of a last minute surge the week before the primary, most polls indicated Clinton and Edwards in a close match for second place in South Carolina In the end, Clinton came in second with 27% of the vote while Edwards came in third with 18% of the vote [50]

After a non-binding contest in Florida, Edwards left the race, but garnered several votes during Super Tuesday, which included finishing with 10% of the vote in Oklahoma, and 4% in Tennessee [51]

Primary Contest Place Percentage
Iowa 2nd Place 30%
New Hampshire 3rd Place 17%
Nevada 3rd Place 4%
South Carolina 3rd Place 18%
Florida (non-binding) 3rd Place 14%
     Edwards won the nominating contest (None)
     Edwards Placed Second in the Nominating Contest (Iowa)
     Edwards placed Third in the Nominating Contest (New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida)

Delegate count

2008 Democratic presidential primaries delegate count
As of June 10, 2008
Candidate Actual
pledged delegates1
(3,253 of 3,909 total)
pledged delegates2
(3,409 of 3,909 total)
(694 of 825 total)
Estimated total delegates2
(4,103 of 4,934 total;
2,118 needed to win)
Barack Obama 1,661 1,763 438 2,201
Hillary Rodham Clinton 1,592 1,640 256 1,896
John Edwards 6 6
Color key
  1st place
  Candidate has withdrawn his/her campaign
1 "Primary Season Election Results".  
2 "Election Center 2008 Primaries and Caucuses: Results: Democratic Scorecard".


The endorsement of John Edwards was heavily sought after by both Hillary Clinton as well as Barack Obama.

Edwards, after dropping out of the primaries, had a total of 19 Pledged Delegates from the Iowa Caucuses, the New Hampshire Primary, as well as the South Carolina Primary.[52] In addition to 19 Pledged Delegates, before departing the race, Edwards had the support of 26 Super Delegates in the Democratic Party. Also, Edwards had been endorsed by several big unions such as the USW (United Steelworkers).[53] The USW has approx. 650,000 members, across several states to influence the Presidential race.

Edwards met with Barack Obama on February 17, 2008 [31] to discuss various issues regarding his endorsement. Despite the fact that no announcement was made immediately after the endorsement, the meeting gained quite a bit of media attention.

Edwards had frequent conversations with Hillary Clinton throughout his time after the primaries. Also, Clinton met with Edwards in North Carolina on February 10, 2008 to discuss among other things a possible endorsement.[54]

On May 14, 2008, Edwards traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan to officially endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic Presidential Nomination.[55] During his endorsement speech, Edwards praised Senator Clinton but stated that "the voters have made up their mind and so have I" to the sound of resounding applause to the packed audience .[56]

After Edwards had endorsed Obama, twelve of Edwards' delegates pledged their support to Obama following Edwards' lead. Also, the United Steelworkers followed his lead and endorsed Senator Obama.[57]

Political positions



The Wall Street Journal criticized his healthcare plan and estimated it will cost the taxpayers $120 billion a year[84] and pointed out how Edwards did not address the Tax Code with regards to S-Corporation loopholes that allow people to dodge medicare taxes; a loophole Edwards himself has used in the past.[85]

Commentator [88] Edwards was also disparagingly characterized on O'Reilly's show as "Huey Long with a Madison Avenue makeover" for his opposition to the surge.[89]

The News Corporation criticized remarks Edwards made about its subsidiary Fox News, saying that Edwards' criticism is hypocritical as he received an advance from Harper Collins, also a subsidiary of News Corp, for his book.[90] Edwards donated the money to charity, however, O'Reilly's show alleges that Edwards did not provide proof of it when asked.[91]

See also


  1. ^ Knight, Sam (2006-12-28). "John Edwards joins race for White House". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  2. ^ Nedra Pickler (2006-12-28). "John Edwards Joins Presidential Race". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  3. ^ "Democrat John Edwards: I'm running for president". AP. 2006-12-28. Archived from the original on December 29, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  4. ^ "Bonior Joins Edwards: Ex-congressman will lead his run for White House". Detroit Free Press. 2006-12-29. Retrieved 2007-01-06. 
  5. ^ "Abortion Rights Activist Backs Edwards". ABC. 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2007-01-06. 
  6. ^ Trippi joins campaign
  7. ^ Catholic League press release
  8. ^  
  9. ^  
  10. ^ Melissa McEwan (2007-02-08). "My Words". Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  11. ^ Amanda Marcotte (2007-02-12). "Announcement". Pandagon. Archived from the original on February 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  12. ^ "Controversial columnist draws fire for gay slur". Reuters. 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  13. ^ "John Edwards Breaks Silence on Coulter's 'Faggot' Barb". 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2007-03-06. 
  14. ^ "Edwards Home County's Largest". Carolina Journal. 2007-01-26. 
  15. ^ "Edwards' haircuts cost a pretty penny". MSNBC. 2007-04-17. 
  16. ^ "Edwards 'embarrassed' by haircut". Quad City Times. 2007-04-20. 
  17. ^ a b Transcript of press conference (2007-03-22). "Former Sen. Edwards Holds a News Conference on Wife's Health: Breast Cancer Has Returned". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 
  18. ^ Candy Crowley (2007-03-23). "Edwards: Wife's cancer returns, campaign goes on". CNN. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  19. ^ Mary Carter; Elizabeth Cohen and Amy Burkholder (2007-05-22). "'"Edwards: Cancer 'no longer curable. CNN. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  20. ^ Nedra Pickler (2007-03-22). "Edwards Presses on With 2008 Campaign". Archived from the original on March 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  21. ^ See's explanation and retraction of their incorrect blog post which other media had cited in the hours leading up to the press conference. Ben Smith (2007-03-22). "How Politico Got It Wrong". Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  22. ^ Alec MacGillis and John Solomon (2007-05-11). "Edwards Says He Didn't Know About Subprime Push". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  23. ^ "Edwards Discusses Time at Hedge Fund". AP. 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  24. ^ "Candidates’ assets, income on display". MSNBC. 2007-05-16m. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  25. ^ "Fortress Contributions to Edwards". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-05-24. 
  26. ^ Michelle Nichols (2007-05-23). """Edwards slams war on terrorism as "bumper sticker. Reuters. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  27. ^ Jeff Zeleny (September 2, 2007). "Clinton, Obama and Edwards Join Pledge to Avoid Defiant States". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  28. ^ Iowa Democratic Party Caucus Results
  29. ^ "Edwards exits presidential race". CBS News. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  30. ^ Pitney, Nico (2008-02-13). "Edwards Endorsement For Obama: Speculation Grows". Huffington Post. 
  31. ^ a b "Obama and Edwards Sit Down in North Carolina". 
  32. ^ Robert Yoon and Sasha Johnson (2007-04-01). "Edwards campaign raises $14 million". Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  33. ^ Mark Murray (2007-06-21). "Edwards' 2Q fundraising goal?". Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  34. ^ Alexander Mooney (2007-06-25). "Edwards campaign claims Washington wants them to ‘go away’". CNN. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  35. ^ Raelyn Johnson (2007-07-01). "Edwards Pulls in $9 Million for Quarter". ABC. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  36. ^ "Edwards cites Dean campaign as example". The Boston Globe. AP. 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  37. ^ "Edwards says he'll accept public financing". CNN. 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  38. ^ edwards certification
  39. ^ Gearino, Dan (December 28, 2007). "New Lee poll: Edwards moves into 3-way tie".  
  40. ^ Hook, Janet (December 28, 2007). "Obama catches Clinton in N.H.; Iowa remains a 3-way contest".  
  41. ^ "Clinton, Obama in Virtual Tie Among Democrats". Rasmussen FReports. 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  42. ^ "ElectionCenter2008; Iowa Caucuses (Special Coverage) County Results". CNN. 2008-01-03. CNN.
  43. ^ "How do the Iowa Caucuses work?". 
  44. ^ "Mike Huckabee wins Iowa; Dems Clinton, Edwards, and Obama close". 
  45. ^ "Election Center 2008: Results for John Edwards". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  46. ^ "Election Center 2008 Results for Hillary Clinton". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  48. ^ "CNN Political Ticker". 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  49. ^ "The Swam[: Clinton Obama showed grit at SC Debate". 
  50. ^ "2008: Primary Results". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  51. ^ "John Edwards Results". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  52. ^ "Edwards endorsement pays off for Obama". The New York Times. 
  53. ^ "USW: Steelworkers endorse John Edwards". 
  54. ^ "Hillary Sneaks Away to Seek Edwards". Fox News. 2014-04-24. 
  55. ^ "Edwards to Endorse Obama". CNN. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  56. ^ "Breaking News: Edwards endorses Obama". 
  57. ^ "Join John Edwards in growing wave of support for Barack Obama". 
  58. ^ Concord Monitor - Edwards touts endorsements
  59. ^ Nichi Bei Times | | Japanese American News Since 1946
  60. ^ John Edwards for President-Maine Democratic Leaders Endorse John Edwards For President
  61. ^ John Edwards for President-Prominent Georgia Leaders Endorse John Edwards For President
  62. ^ John Edwards for President-Former New Jersey Governor And State Senate President Richard Codey Endorses John Edwards For President
  63. ^ John Edwards for President-Prominent Civil Rights Activists Endorse Edwards For President
  64. ^
  65. ^ "Candidate wife appears at fundraiser". Oklahoman. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  66. ^ Edwards gets two big union labels - Mike Allen -
  67. ^ The Guardian (London),,-6900503,00.html . 
  68. ^
  69. ^ John Edwards: Edwards Receives Endorsement From California Elected Official Betty Yee | All American Patriots
  70. ^ WHO TV - Des Moines: 'Desperate' Star Campaigns for Edwards
  71. ^
  72. ^ "Top of the Ticket". Los Angeles Times. 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^ a b c "Bacon & Edwards".  
  76. ^ Edwards Wins Endorsement from Friends of the Earth Action
  77. ^ MyDD :: Harry Belafonte Endorses John Edwards
  78. ^ Iowa First Lady endorsement
  79. ^ Nader supports Edwards.
  80. ^ Economists for Edwards | projects
  81. ^ The Associated Press: Celebrities Donate to Many Candidates
  82. ^ Opinion: McCain is top Republican; Edwards best for Dems
  83. ^ Politicos: With state's late primary, there's no hurry in picking favorite presidential candidates
  84. ^ "Wrong Turn". The Wall Street Journal. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  85. ^ "Liberal Loopholes". The Wall Street Journal. 2004-07-13. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  86. ^ "John Edwards and His Anti-Christian Employees". Fox News Channel. 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  87. ^ "Helping the Enemy". Fox News Channel. 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  88. ^ "Far Left Influence: 'Hurricane Soros' Is Getting Stronger". Fox News Channel. 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  89. ^ "Surge Success". Fox News Channel. 2008-01-03. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  90. ^ "Murdoch's News Corp. says former Sen. John Edwards benefited from book deal with the media company". International Herald and Tribune. 2007-08-03. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  91. ^ "Hypocrite? John Edwards vs. News Corporation". Fox News Channel. 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 

External links

  • John Edwards for President Official campaign website, podcast
  • John Edwards '08 Blog, One Corps
  • Iowa for Edwards
  • Students for John Edwards
Topic pages and databases
  • FEC presidential campaign finance reports
  • Spartan Internet Political Performance Index rank for John Edwards by week
  • On the Issues issue positions
  • campaign contributions
  • Politics1 links to campaign sites
  • Project Vote Smart candidate information
  • John Edwards presidential campaign, 2008 at DMOZ
Media coverage
  • NewsHour with Jim Lehrer campaign coverage
  • New York Times campaign coverage
  • Washington Post campaign coverage
  • And the Democratic Front-runner Is... John Edwards? Joe Klein, TIME, December 14, 2006
  • Saint Elizabeth and the Ego Monster by John Heilemann & Mark Halperin, New Yorker magazine, January 9, 2010
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