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Power brokers

Al Gore isn't running (yet); neither is Elizabeth Edwards. But either could be a factor in an Obama win.
By STEVEN STARK  |  July 2, 2007


As the race for the Democratic nomination enters the summer, there are two figures lurking in the background: Al Gore and Elizabeth Edwards. Gore, of course, is the man many wish would run but who probably won't. Edwards is arguably the biggest spousal asset in presidential politics since Eleanor Roosevelt. (We'll leave a certain Clinton out of the equation because he falls into another category altogether.) Undoubtedly, both of these specters will affect the outcome of the Democratic contest — though perhaps not in the ways their supporters anticipate.

If you're a true liberal, you're for Edwards — only the first name is Elizabeth, not John. Any rational Hardball viewer who saw her confront hate-spewing 21st-century Father Coughlin–figure Ann Coulter this past week had to have been impressed. By comparison, even Chris Matthews looked bad for his failure to speak truth to bigotry. That TV tiff followed Edwards's San Francisco appearance where, conspicuously unlike her husband, she spoke out in favor of gay marriage.

I've heard a number of voters say that, of the Edwards couple, they prefer her to him. Elizabeth Edwards's struggle with cancer has already made her part of the biggest Campaign 2008 story to transcend the political pages. And her sharp intelligence and authentic caring personality embodies the kind of modern empathetic woman of accomplishment that people wish Hillary was.

Just because Elizabeth Edwards often overshadows her husband, however, doesn't mean she isn't helping him enormously. If nothing else, a candidate's choice of a spouse is a kind of character test — one that John Edwards passes with flying colors. (Interestingly, it's a bellwether that the GOP frontrunners, save Mitt Romney, seem to have had trouble with — something that social conservatives rarely mention.)

But we are in uncharted waters. It's hard to recall an instance in post-feminist political history where an outspoken spouse was more revered by the public than was her husband. That's an untried positive dimension that certainly alters the Edwards campaign's dynamic. And, it could give Elizabeth a card to play, should her husband's efforts ultimately falter.

As for Gore, the results of a recent WHDH/Suffolk University survey have reminded everyone of his latent political strength. If Gore were to enter the race, the poll showed, he would shoot into first place in the New Hampshire primary, passing Hillary, who otherwise has a huge lead there.

Will that convince Gore to get in? Most Gore watchers think not. Now that he's become a sort of international hero, Gore understands that a potential candidate is more popular than a real one. And he seems happier now than when he was mired in conventional politics.

Still, the former vice-president wields enormous clout. If he doesn't run, he's expected to endorse one of the current candidates. He has a following, and his seal of approval could well make the difference with voters in a tightly fought contest. Those privy to his relationship with the Clintons seem sure he won't pick Hillary. That leaves Edwards or Obama.

Gore would probably be comfortable with either. But given the chance to be a part of the historical moment of nominating the first black major-party presidential contender, the guess here is that he would endorse Obama.

And Elizabeth Edwards?

When they drop out of a race, losing candidates often endorse one of their opponents. Suppose Edwards does poorly and quits at a point when the race is undecided. Given a choice between Hillary and Obama, it's pretty clear which way the Edwards family would lean, if only because of Hillary’s lack of leadership opposing the war. And we've learned that Elizabeth, to her great credit, wouldn't be quiet about it.


SAM BROWNBACK Odds: 1000-1
TOMMY THOMPSON Odds: 20,000-1
DUNCAN HUNTER Odds: 20,000-1
JAMES GILMORE Odds: 40,000-1
TOM TANCREDO Odds: 75,000-1
RON PAUL Odds: 500,000-1

JOE BIDEN Odds: 65-1
CHRIS DODD Odds: 150-1
DENNIS KUCINICH Odds: 25,000-1
MIKE GRAVEL Odds: one million to 1

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Power brokers
I hope that the meaning of this article is understood well by everyone, who needs to understand. And I hope that Mrs. Edwards would convince her husband to endorse Obama, not Hillary, as she should be afraid of Hillary's possible presidential power and, sure, not sympathetic to this possible presidential power, as every normal, intelligent, and caring person should; especially, if this person is female, and, therefore, understands even better who and what Hillary really is.
By aepelbaum on 07/03/2007 at 2:58:17
Power brokers
I have been in this country for seventeen years. I am the citizen since 1996. Fifteen years of this while of time I have been obliged to watch Hillary pretty close, as when this woman came to power or to co-power, she picked me up to enlarge her own pretty poor braun and her own very narrow soul. I was then a newcomer, but with English language, Ph.D, a few MS, pretty superior mental capacities, etc. So, I have had her people on all of my communications ever since. There is no way in hell to allow person with such brain and soul as she has to run this country. She is without any doubt more disastrous than even Bush is.
By aepelbaum on 07/03/2007 at 9:39:31
Power brokers
Ron Paul won the NH Republican Straw Poll this weekend and has more cash on hand than John McCain,see ABC News this morning (Sunday with George S.) for that. has Ron Paul at 7-1 as of last week and you are still at 500,000-1? I think your numbers are way out of whack for Tom Tancredo, Mike Gravel and especially Ron Paul. Ron Paul is the darkhorse that can. //
By Mike C on 07/07/2007 at 10:00:26

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