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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Edwards Non-Suspension

The first thing many people heard about John and Elizabeth Edwards’ dramatic press conference yesterday was a raft of “breaking news” bulletins suggesting that the former senator was going to suspend his campaign, or perhaps even drop out entirely, because his wife had been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer. Turns out the whole wave of “reports” was based on a single blog post on the site of the new “insider” publication, The Politico, which in turn was based on a single source.Within about forty-five minutes of the “Edwards To Suspend Campaign” reports, the press conference happened, and it became clear John Edwards was going to keep campaigning full speed, with his wife keeping up her own fairly rigorous campaign schedule. So: no harm, no foul, right?Maybe not. What would have otherwise been a press conference disclosing and contextualizing a health condition not known to the public instead became a “surprise” announcement that the Edwards campaign would go on, exposing the candidate to accusations of insufficient concern for his wife’s health, and/or to the suspicion that a suspension or abandonment of his campaign might come later. In other words, the Politico story was grossly unfair to John and Elizabeth Edwards.Leave it to Rush Limbaugh to pile on, first fatuously suggesting that the Edwards campaign leaked the suspension story to create a buzz, and then offensively attacking both John and Elizabeth Edwards for calling the press conference instead of “turning to God.”Methinks it’s Limbaugh who ought to “turn to God” and ask for forgiveness for this latest high-profile act of pure hatefulness.

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