John Edwards 2008 presidential campaign
The 2008 presidential campaign of John Edwards, former United States Senator from North Carolina and Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004 began on December 28, 2006 when 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.
|John Edwards for President 2008|
|Campaign||2008 United States presidential election|
U.S. Senator from North Carolina
|Status||Announced December 28, 2006|
Withdrew January 30, 2008
|Headquarters||Chapel Hill, North Carolina|
|Key people||David Bonior (Manager)|
Joe Trippi (Senior Strategist)
|Slogan||Tomorrow Begins Today|
On December 28, 2006, Edwards officially announced his candidacy for President in the 2008 election. 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. He also inadvertently released his campaign slogan early as well: "Tomorrow begins today." This ended months of speculation about whether or not Edwards would make a second run for president.
David Bonior, a former House Democratic Whip from Michigan, was Edwards' campaign manager, bringing strong relationships with organized labor, as well as experience in grassroots campaigning. 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. Joe Trippi, former Howard Dean Internet strategist, joined Edwards' campaign as part of the media team and also senior adviser in April 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. 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". The bloggers issued statements separating their personal blogs from the campaign, but Marcotte resigned a few days later, saying that the Catholic League's harassment was interfering with her ability to do her job.
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. Edwards responded to Coulter's remark, saying: "I think it's important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention..."
After 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) and how much he paid for two haircuts ($400 each). 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.
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. They said that the cancer was "no longer curable, but is completely treatable" and that they planned to continue campaigning together with an occasional break when Ms. Edwards requires treatment, saying "The campaign goes on strongly." This ended erroneous media speculation prior to the press conference that Edwards would announce a suspension of his campaign.
In May 2007, Edwards explained that his 2005 decision to work for the hedge fund Fortress Investment Group 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. 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. In addition, Edwards has raised at least $167,700 for his campaign from individuals associated with Fortress Investment Group.
During a campaign speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2007, Edwards called the War on Terrorism a slogan that was created for political reasons and that it wasn't a plan to make the United States safe. He went further to compare it to a bumper sticker and that it had damaged the US's alliances and standing in the world. In response to the Edwards's remarks, President Bush's homeland security adviser called them "irresponsible, ... offensive and outrageous".
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. 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.
On February 13, 2008, several high-ranking advisers close to Edwards stated that he believed that Clinton was the strongest remaining Democratic candidate and that, because of this belief, she was most likely to receive his public endorsement. However, Obama's meeting with Edwards on February 17 brought that statement into question.
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.
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.
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."
On July 1, 2007, the Edwards campaign announced that they had met their goal just a few hours before the midnight deadline. 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.
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. The Federal Elections Commission formally declared him qualified on November 1, 2007.
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. 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%. 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 Clinton and Obama.
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.
As votes were being tallied on caucus night, Edwards was in a tight battle for second place with Clinton, after major news agencies had projected that Obama had carried the caucuses. With 100% of the votes counted, Edwards was confirmed to have finished in second place during the Iowa Caucuses with 744 state delegates, approximately 30% of the state delegation  narrowly edging out Hillary Clinton's 737 State delegates, approximately 29% of the state delegation  Both lost to Barack Obama's 940 delegates, 38% of the state delegation.
Following the Iowa caucuses, Edwards vowed to stay in the race until the Democratic Convention in Denver despite having less support among 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 Edwards, compared to 33% for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama  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"  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. 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 
|New Hampshire||3rd Place||17%|
|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)
(3,253 of 3,909 total)
(3,409 of 3,909 total)
(694 of 825 total)
|Estimated total delegates2|
(4,103 of 4,934 total;
2,118 needed to win)
Candidate has withdrawn his/her campaign
1 "Primary Season Election Results". The New York Times. June 26, 2008. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008.
2 "Election Center 2008 Primaries and Caucuses: Results: Democratic Scorecard". CNN. August 20, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
The endorsement of 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. 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). The USW has approx. 650,000 members, across several states to influence the Presidential race.
Edwards met with Barack Obama on February 17, 2008, 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.
On May 14, 2008, Edwards traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to officially endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. 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 .
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.
The Wall Street Journal criticized his healthcare plan and estimated it would cost the taxpayers $120 billion a year 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.
Commentator Bill O'Reilly was a vocal critic of Edwards since the beginning of the controversy regarding comments made by his former bloggers Marcotte and McEwan. O'Reilly felt that what he termed the "radical left" had intimidated Edwards and controlled his agenda. O'Reilly alleged that Edwards pulled out of the Fox News debates to curry favor with financier billionaire George Soros, whom O'Reilly felt was funding radical causes. Edwards was also disparagingly characterized on O'Reilly's show as "Huey Long with a Madison Avenue makeover" for his opposition to the surge.
The News Corporation criticized remarks Edwards made about its subsidiary Fox News, saying that Edwards' criticism was hypocritical as he received an advance from Harper Collins, also a subsidiary of News Corp, for his book. Edwards donated the money to charity; however, O'Reilly's show alleged that Edwards did not provide proof of it when asked.
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- John Edwards for President Official campaign website, podcast
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- 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
- OpenSecrets.org campaign contributions
- Politics1 links to campaign sites
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- John Edwards 2008 presidential campaign at Curlie
- 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