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3/22/2007
IS EDWARDS OUT?
CATEGORY: Decision '08

Presidential candidate John Edwards cancelled the rest of his trip to Iowa following a visit to the doctor by his wife and has called a press conference for noon today to discuss his campaign.

John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat making a second bid for the presidency, announced late Wednesday night that he would hold a news conference Thursday, a day after he and his wife, Elizabeth, visited Mrs. Edwards’ doctor to assess her health following her recovery from breast cancer.

Mrs. Edwards, in a brief interview from her home in Chapel Hill, said she and Mr. Edwards would discuss her health at the news conference, but she declined to elaborate.

“I’m still here,” she said.

Jennifer Palmieri, communications director for the Edwards campaign, said that she would not provide any details in advance of the press conference, which will be held in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Edwards campaign announced the news conference at the end of a day when Mr. Edwards canceled a campaign appearance to join his wife at a visit to her doctor. Mrs. Edwards was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, almost on the day that Mr. Edwards, running for vice president on the Democratic ticket with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, lost to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

This is ominous news for the Edwards family. Elizabeth faced her bout with cancer with great courage and good humor. Let us hope that if there has been a setback, it’s a minor one and that the doctors can treat it quickly.

There are a couple of options for Senator Edwards. He could put his campaign on hold, revisiting his decision in the fall. Perhaps he could even stay in the race but with a much reduced schedule. Or he could drop out entirely.

A darkhorse to begin with, I’m afraid that it would be an enormous uphill challenge for Edwards to offer himself as a viable alternative to Hillary/Obama unless he is campaigning full speed between now and next January when the primary and caucus season begins. Already starved for oxygen due to the rock star status of both the major candidates, Edwards will be hardpressed to maintain any visibility unless he is out on the stump day in and day out.

In effect, his campaign has boiled down to a must-win scenario in either Iowa or Nevada, the first two caucus states. He’s got to have some kind of momentum going into the New Hampshire primary so that a decent showing there will get him to the South Carolina primary the following week where he is expected to win. What this means in practical terms is Edwards will be forced into playing the retail voting game - shaking as many hands as possible in Iowa and Nevada while his major backers in organized labor take care of the nuts and bolts of getting his supporters to the caucus meetings.

Quite simply, he can’t do this unless he devotes most of his time between now and next January to the task. I feel pretty certain his advisors are telling him this which is why if he does make a decision about the future of his campaign today, I expect him to drop out although leaving the possibility open that he will reenter the race at a later date.

I can’t pretend to be upset if that happens. Edwards is something of a demagogue and a class warrior seeking to divide Americans and ride a wave of hate and loathing for “the rich” all the way to the White House. An economic downturn - a possibility between now and the end of the year - would have benefited him enormously. For this reason, he probably won’t close down his options entirely.

But we can certainly feel for Edwards as a husband and father. And I can speak from experience that when cancer visits a household - no matter how poor or how rich - the emotional impact on the entire family is absolutely devastating. Edwards and his three surviving children (he lost a son, Wade, in a tragic car accident) may have some rough times ahead. Let us pray that they all get through this trial and emerge healthy and happy.

UPDATE

This from the NY Times Caucus Blog:

Update from The Times’s John Broder: Mrs. Edwards, in a brief interview from her home in Chapel Hill last night, said she and Mr. Edwards would hold a news conference Thursday night about her health, but declined to elaborate. “I’m still here,” she said.

Jennifer Palmieri, communications director for the campaign, said that she would not provide any details in advance of Thursday’s press conference.

We were told not to assume the worst.

I certainly hope that means that we shouldn’t assume the worst about Mrs. Edward’s health.

And this is proof Ed Morrissey is a Christian gentleman (as if we needed any more):

I’ll have the Edwards family in my prayers, and I hope you will, too. I understand what it means to have a spouse with a serious illness and how it impacts everything one does — and how one has to make that a priority. If his wife has had a recurrence of the cancer, it would be almost impossible for him to campaign effectively. Let’s hope the news isn’t quite that dire and that Elizabeth Edwards will quickly regain her health, if she has lost any ground.

I’ll have more thoughts later in the day, depending on the results of the press conference.

UPDATE

It’s bone cancer but not an aggressive variety. That’s very good news.

John Edwards said Thursday that his wife is now battling an incurable reappearance of cancer but vowed to continue his second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“The campaign goes on. The campaign goes on strongly,” Edwards told reporters, his wife by his side.

Earlier Thursday, MSNBC.com incorrectly reported that Edwards would suspend his campaign because of his wife’s illness. The report was based on a statement an Edwards friend made to Politico.com, a political Web site, and a source who spoke to NBC.

There was a lot of confusion (as evidenced by my story above) about exactly what course Edwards would take. I feel for that fellow at Politico who totally botched it and reported that the campaign would be suspended. What this shows that even more than traditional media, bloggers are under pressure to get the news out there as quickly as possible. Even though he felt he was on pretty solid ground, there’s always the risk you’ll end up with egg on your face.

I’m sure political reporters will be watching the Edwards campaign carefully for any sign that the candidate is cutting back or slacking off. And let’s hope that Elizabeth lives a long, fruitful life.

By: Rick Moran at 5:01 am
3 Responses to “IS EDWARDS OUT?”
  1. 1
    Jay Said:
    7:19 am 

    Hopefully her health has not turned for the worst. It would be an honorable opportunity for him to bow out, and if her health has turned for the worst he probably should. He should probably focus his time and energy with her and not on a campaign. If her health is getting worse and he were to become President, as unlikely as that is, his attention on the Nation’s problems would be greatly hampered by this.

  2. 2
    Michelle Malkin Trackbacked With:
    9:20 am 

    The Edwards announcement

    News is expected at noon about the health of the better half of the Edwards team. As all of us who have had loved ones who have fought tough battles with terminal illness, I wish her the best. As for…

  3. 3
    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Breaking: Edwards set to suspend campaign over wife’s illness Pinged With:
    10:42 am 

    [...] Update: Michelle got to Moran’s post before I could link it, but it’s spot on so I’ll link it anyway. digg_url = ‘http://hotair.com/archives/2007/03/22/breaking-edwards-set-to-suspend-campaign-over-wifes-illness/’;digg_topic = ‘political_opinion’; [...]

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