Auros (auros) wrote,

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Edwards on Sunday...

The Sunday morning event Xta and I worked at was the first of a series, put together for a large, diverse group of regional activists, to meet all the major candidates (including some of the "dark horses" -- they're trying to get Richardson and Biden, as well as Edwards, Hillary, and Obama). It was not a fundraiser, though I expect most of the attendees were the sort of person able to make high-dollar donations. But more importantly, they were "opinion leaderss" from our various industries and subcultures... It was a very interesting crowd.

I thought Edwards made a strong showing -- possibly better than the last time I saw him, at the Rappaports' place. I think he's happier not being in the "paid appearance" environment. (He mentioned that one of the issues he'd address, as president, is "clean money" financing.) I hear that he also put on a strong performance at the rally over near Berkeley (off the campus, in deference to an ongoing labor dispute), with more than a thousand spectators.

I think he has the clear advantage on policy substance, for the moment, and will probably maintain it over Hillary, whose positions and record (...of straddling every issue she can, esp the war) are already widely established. I expect Obama, at least, to catch up a fair bit in this area as he starts presenting real plans (Westly pointed out, at the PDC meeting in Feb, that Edwards has been a declared candidate 2+ months longer than Obama, and promised a comparable healthcare whitepaper in the near future). And Obama will have the substantive advantage, at least in our primary, of having been right on the war from the beginning.

Edwards made a point of saying that some candidates just want to make us feel good, without getting into details of what they think is actually possible. e.g. It's really not possible to address the deficit (even bring it down, let alone eliminate it totally), shore up SS, get universal healthcare, and preserve the Bush tax cuts. You can guess which one he'd drop... (I suspect this thread may've been intended partly as a dig at Obama. But he refrained from calling anyone out by name, and he did specifically say he knows, likes, and admires all the candidates in our field.)

He also made a pretty strong case on the "electability" front: given the Repub field (Senator from AZ, Gov from MA, mayor from NY), he, as the only southern frontrunner on our side, stands a serious chance of pulling quite a lot of southern states (at minimum, FL, AK, MO, NC, and VA would all be in play, plus maybe TN and LA). Hillary is perceived by southerners as too liberal, and more a New Yorker than an Arkansan; Obama is from Chicago.

He struggled a fair bit with a question about gay marriage -- but I suspect ALL our candidates are going to have the same problem there. However, he did say definitively that he would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and abolish the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and got a round of applause for both of those.

I'm really hoping to catch the Obama and Richardson events in this series... I'd very much like to hear what each of them has to say. Obama for all the obvious reasons -- if it really is a two-person race between him and Hillary, I'm pretty sure I prefer him; and besides, he's just a really interesting speaker in general. I remain dubious that Richardson has the charisma to use the bully pulpit effectively -- I see him as a highly successful SecState. But, he probably has the strongest resume of anyone in the race.

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