Monday, December 17, 2007

NEWSWEEK: Cover: The Sleeper, John Edwards

16 Dec 2007 17:56 Africa/Lagos

NEWSWEEK: Cover: The Sleeper

John Edwards Believes he can Score Upset win in Iowa; Has Been Visiting Rural Precincts Where Frontrunners Have Paid Less Attention

Didn't get Negative Feedback After Being Combative With Clinton 'I Thought it was More Important for People to Understand ... The Substantive Policy Differences Between us, and now I Think we're at a Stage Where it's Time to Focus on why I Want to be President'

NEW YORK, Dec. 16 /PRNewswire/ --

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards believes he can still come from behind for an upset win in Iowa, Newsweek reports in the December 24 cover "The Sleeper," (on newsstands Monday, December 17). For months, Edwards has been doggedly working to round up support in the state's rural precincts where the frontrunners have paid less attention.

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As Correspondent Arian Campo-Flores and Senior Writer Suzanne Smalley report, while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have drawn crowds in the thousands in places like Des Moines and Ames, Edwards has been winning over people in tiny towns like Sac City (pop. 2,189). That's important, Edwards's strategists say, because under Iowa's arcane caucus rules, a precinct where 25 people show up to vote gets the same number of delegates as a place that packs in 2,500. "The bulk of our support is in small and medium counties," says Jennifer O'Malley, Edwards's Iowa state director. O'Malley says Edwards has visited all 99 counties in the state; the campaign has so far trained captains covering 90 percent of all 1,781 precincts. Rural voters are sometimes reluctant to caucus, so the campaign has been enlisting respected community leaders to encourage first-timers to get past their apathy or fear.

Edwards has been campaigning in Iowa, on and off, for four years and polls show he's still in third. He tells Newsweek in an interview that his responsibility "is to close this campaign in Iowa with a very specific set of ideas about how we give all Americans the chances I've had ... It's what I've been able to do, and we can do it again ... both the specific policy ideas and also the heartfelt passion behind it, which is real, and they need to see it."

He says he wasn't getting negative feedback on the period when he was more combative with Clinton. "I thought it was important for people to understand the differences, the substantive policy differences between us, and now I think we're at the stage where it's time to focus on why I want to be president."

When asked what lessons he had learned as a candidate in 2004 and what he is doing differently this time, Edwards turned cold. "I'm not in the business of going back and analyzing the '04 campaign," he says, "so I just don't."

"I can tell you what I believe about America today. I think that what the country is looking for in a president is somebody who has clear, very specific ideas and bold ideas about what needs to be done. I think that's what America needs. It's what I believe, and I think they're looking for somebody to be straight with them about the challenges they face, and very direct."

Edwards says in the interview that he wasn't sure whether to run again after the 2004 loss. "I was trying to decide during that period of time after '04, "Where is the best place for me to serve? Where can I do the most good?" because I had made the decision, Elizabeth and I made [it] together, that we were going to spend the rest of our lives serving and the question was what was the best way to do it ... I'd been through a national campaign, a national spotlight, and there's a seasoning and a toughness that comes from doing that. And Elizabeth's health, the two of us went through that, our family went through that together. And I think my feeling is that I'm going to tell people, "I'm going to speak the truth, whatever the consequences are."

(Read cover story and interview at - Q&A w/ Edwards

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Source: Newsweek

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