Election 2008

Sen. John Edwards

Edwards’s Nod Blunts Clinton’s West Virginia Win

May 15, 2008 11:10 AM
by Christopher Coats
John Edwards’s delayed endorsement of Barack Obama could provide a jolt of delegates and southern support.

30-Second Summary

Countering Hillary Clinton’s decisive victory in West Virginia, Barack Obama rolled out a series of endorsements on Wednesday, topped off by a speech announcing the official nod from one-time opponent and former North Carolina senator John Edwards.

Avoiding the question of endorsement for months, Edwards and his wife Elizabeth recently announced that there would be no imminent endorsement, though Elizabeth did allude to her support of Clinton’s health care plan over that of Obama.

While no official reason was given for his delayed decision, Edwards reportedly required that Obama make the issue of poverty in America a top campaign priority.

Both Clinton and Obama have courted the support of Edwards since he dropped out of the race in January, thanks in part to the former senator’s strong support in southern states and his popularity among independent voters.

Whether intentional or not, the endorsement has served to soften the blow of Obama’s loss in West Virginia, where voters voted for Clinton by a 2-to-1 margin.

The delegate and superdelegate support Edwards earned before suspending his campaign is now free to be courted by both campaigns, but many feel that they will follow the lead of Edwards and shift to Obama, giving him a boost toward the 2025 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

The endorsement, which came at Obama’s final appearance of the day in Grand Rapids Michigan, also sparked speculation about a possible role for Edwards in the White House should Obama win the general election.

Headline Links: Edwards endorses Obama

Background: A long time coming

Reactions: ‘Its not over’ for Clinton

Related Topics: Who’s next?

Opinion and Analysis: Too little, too late?

Reference: The candidates


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