February 1st, 2008
09:15 PM ET
3 years ago

Edwards will not endorse before Super Tuesday

John Edwards ended his White House run this week.
John Edwards ended his White House run this week.

(CNN) - Sources close to John Edwards tell CNN he will not endorse either of his former presidential rivals before Super Tuesday. "That's just not something he's going to do," said one source.

The former North Carolina senator’s endorsement would be a coveted prize. His exit from the race leaves unions, editorial boards, elected officials and voters who had backed his run suddenly up for grabs. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are aggressively courting all of those groups ahead of next week’s crucial Super Tuesday contests in 22 states.

During last night's CNN debate, both candidates repeatedly acknowledged the former candidate's efforts to make the fight against poverty a priority for the Democratic Party.

Friday, the Obama campaign boasted that it was ahead in the race to nab former Edwards supporters, pointing to new endorsements from elected officials in at least eight Super Tuesday states, editorial boards like the Fresno Bee, and labor heavyweights like the Transportation Workers Union and the California branch of the Service Employees International Union, all of whom had previously backed Edwards.

(updated with new reporting 2 p.m. Saturday)

–CNN’s Jessica Yellin, Candy Crowley and Suzanne Malveaux

soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. jimdon

    John Edwards said he would end the Iraq disaster within 60 days of taking office as the president,John McCain said the war could go 100 yrs,he is for the socalled surge.that mission was called "ACCOMPLISHED" 1,739 days ago, DONT YOU REMEMBER?,go ahead vote for the republicans,they want to continue Bush's "ILLEGAL" war that has killed 3,942 of your children,,,,they say so in all their debates,i hope you wont endorse either yet John,they both are in your shadow........

    February 2, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. frankly0

    If Edwards wants to see his ideas put into action, and is interested in a legacy that will endure, nothing can serve that purpose better than concrete and broadly reaching legislation that embody those ideas.

    There's little question but that the proposed legislative program that has the greatest promise in affecting the lives of the most people, and will most certainly endure, is universal health care. It will be historic legislation, comparable in scope and importance with Social Security itself.

    As Paul Krugman has pointed out, Edwards' single most important contribution to the campaign of 2008 was his leadership in offering up a concrete plan that will get us to universal health care.

    If Edwards wants to see what has the potential to be his most enduring legacy, universal health care, come into being, whom does he go with?

    Hillary, who saw his idea and was happy to copy it and advocate for it, or Obama, who saw it, compromised it, and then attacked both Edwards and Hillary with Republican talking points on an absolutely key feature of Edwards proposal?

    And Obama's attack on what is essentially Edwards' plan has only continued in recent days, with still another by now infamous attack mailer modeled after the "Harry and Louise" attacks that undermined the universal health initiative in the 90s.

    If Edwards goes with Hillary, in contrast, he can rightly claim that he was in effect the architect of her plan. I would expect that Hillary would be more than happy to grant him all the credit for that. She could indeed involve him in a prominent way in advocating for the plan.

    I think if Edwards is good to his word that he's really looking to see his policies implemented, he's going to find it hard to justify going with some abject compromiser like Obama, instead of someone who was willing to follow his bold leadership.

    And, of course, where in Obama might Edwards locate anything that resembles his own fighting spirit? And who's loved by the privileged latte sipping elites - Hillary or Obama?

    February 2, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Definitely Hillary

    why endorsing obama ??? who do you think he is???? edwards is much bigger than the senator who voted "present " more than 100 times

    February 2, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Robin

    John Edwards knows these candidates and their policies better than any voter. He is the only one who knows which candidate is closer to his views, and therefore, he should inform his supporters.

    However, he is likely waiting to see who is the favorite after super-Tuesday, so he can see who is more likely to be in a position to give him a job in 2009.

    February 2, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Bobby

    "He got out of the way and didn't let himself tangle up and distort the process."

    Are we talking about China or the USA? With comments like this, I sometimes lose track of what country we are referencing.

    February 2, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. Kelly

    It's strange to realize how little the general public understands about Edwards supporters. As someone said in a recent article, "People who love John Edwards really love him." Many of us are still voting for him. From our point of view, all the other candidates are very, very far from him in spirit, in approach, in policy priorities, and in reliability. From our point of view, neither Clinton nor Obama are "almost as good" as Edwards. From our point of view, we had one candidate who was going to be the advocate of the people, and many who are not. Many of us who identify as progressives don't have a "second choice". On top of that, folks don't seem to realize how many Republicans were going to vote for Edwards, who are now going back to the Republican side. Edwards appealed to conventionally "red" areas–rural areas, small towns–due to both his economic agenda and his own rural, Christian roots. Now those people are lost to the Democratic party. And with our only publicly funded candidate out of the race, true democracy–rule by the people–remains lost to the country.

    In other words: No, Edwards' supporters are not "up for grabs" by the other Democratic candidates. Instead, we are simply alienated from the Democratic party. And just as Republicans have a hard time winning without considering religious conservatives, Democrats are going to continue to have a hard time winning as long as they continue to alienate the progressive wing of the party.

    February 2, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. JR

    I'm hoping that John Edwards will not endorse anyone before/after Super Tuesday. No need for him to endorse, after all Obama's obviously the choice for the media and certainly for the elite Democrats such as the Kennedy's. The young people will lead this country some day, and quite frankly, I won't be here to see it and for that I am glad.

    Obama is like the pied piper in that he is getting the rats to the ocean with his tired rhetoric of change. Change will not happen with either Hillary or Obama. The person that could have made a difference has suspended his campaign and quite frankly as a Democrat I will not vote for anyone. My voice was lost when M$M and the DNC raped the system.

    February 2, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. statusquomustgo

    I like John Edwards, he had opinions on everything else.
    I think he should endorse someone. He isn't doing us any
    favors... he is hedging his bets

    February 2, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. John in S.Florida

    If John wants his endorsement to have any weight, now is the time to do it. Although Ted Kennedy is a huge uplift for Barack. I think Barack needs abit more to create a level playfield. Now is the time for him to endorse Obama.

    February 2, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Matt in Austin

    I didn't like Edwards the last time he ran with Kerry but he really made an impression in the debates this time around. I wish he would have stayed in the Senate a while before making his run. I kind of feel the same about Obama. Both are/were up and coming stars and these early bids for Pres. can hurt their long term goals.

    A Biden/Edwards ticket or a Biden/Obama ticket would have been my first choice. Allow Biden to focus on the foreign policy and allow Obama or Edwards to focus on social reforms. If that ticket solved the war and thus the economic issues Obama or Edwards would then be a shoe-in.

    Again, I hope Obama can win but I'm afraid when it comes down too it neither he or Hillary will defeat McCain. I think it's going to be very important for Obama or Hillary to pick the right running mate. It's going to be an interesting year!

    February 2, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Darryl in Houston

    I would love it if Edwards came out in support for Obama. Hillary can't be trusted and do you really believe that Bill will keep his mouth shut during her time in the White House? I really thought she had change with the statement "I've now found my voice" after New Hampshire. Then came South Carolina and Bill took over again. I want change!!! No more Bill and Hillary!! Were better then that here in America!

    February 2, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. destiny

    In good conscience I must continue to Vote for Edwards!

    February 2, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. Leah DiMarco, TX

    If everyone was paying attention to the day that Senator Edwards dropped out of the race they would have noticed that Sen. Edwards and Senator Obama have ALREADY united. Both Edwards and Obama gave a speech at about the same time that day and they both used the phrase 'Two Americas untied as ONE AMERICA' - I believe that was a shout out to everyone that they are in this together all the way!

    Obama '08

    February 2, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. John, Las Vegas, NV

    One question. When Edwards found that bridge with about 300 homeless people sleeping under it, why didn't he offer to let some stay in his 26,000 square foot energy hog mansion? Guess it's OK for the American taxpayer to take care of the faceless, but it's not OK for Edwards to take care of the ones whose faces he's personally seen. Good riddance to Edwards. All I see is endless BS coming out of the Democratic field about what the government will do for individuals, but when it comes to getting down to a personal level the buck stops there.

    February 2, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Sue

    I am so disillusioned with Obama. I was initially leaning towards either Edwards or Obama. But Edwards was the first to put out detailed plans about health care and college education. I noticed Obama struggle during the first debates but I cut him some slack because I knew he wasn't seasoned. Then he started to give voters the false impression that he voted against the Iraq war and has aggressively attacked clinton on this issue. OBAMA WAS NOT AMONG THE 21 COURAGEOUS SENATORS THAT VOTED AGAINST THE IRAQ WAR! Once elected a US senator he was a quiet little mouse on the issue and even took his speech off the website.
    He lacked courage and conviction to vote on the Iran resolution. He dodged this issue and then had the audacity to criticize Clinton for her vote!

    February 2, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. California voter

    Good for John!

    February 2, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. Mike

    Edwards refusal to endorse Obama is a tacit endorsement of Clinton. Everyday that goes by is a split in his supporters 60/40 for Clinton and she knows it, but worst of all...so do he!

    What gives?

    Get it together John! Do you and your supporters feel more comfortable in Hillary's skin tone?

    OBAMA 08

    February 2, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Alison, FL

    It doesn't matter if he endorses...Obama can still win without him. Also, I can't remember the name right now but one of this biggest union endorsers decided to endorse Obama so it's a sign that his supporters may go for Obama instead of Hillary..we will see

    February 2, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. kaspian

    I'm always amazed - though I should be used to it by now - by two types of comments that always show up in these threads:

    1. People who claim to believe in Edwards, yet defiantly announce that they have no intention of honoring his request that his supporters stay involved in the fight to reclaim the White House (and the nation) from the GOP.

    2. People who claim to be Democrats, but who defiantly shout (usually in the ALL CAPS spelling characteristic of the wacko Right) that "I will never vote for Democrat X!"

    My guess is that neither type of commenter is who he/she claims to be.

    All the Democratic candidates are inches apart on the issues - and miles apart from the extremist Republicans, John McCain. You can genuinely debate whether Hillary or Barack is closer to John Edwards in spirit - but claiming to see some vast gulf between these fine, honorable candidates is certainly not something Edwards himself would ever do.

    Personally, I'm supporting Obama. But it's not because I don't like Hillary.

    February 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Anson Ang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Mr Edwards

    It wasnt Barack Obama that got you out of this race but that OLD LADY. Understand that Mr Obama is also fighting through his nose to beat this OLD LADY. The both of you have a common enemy, thats the OLD LADY. If the both of you can work together and fight this OLD LADY our of sights, at least from 2008, there will not be this CLINTON-BUSH TAG TEAMING. If that Hill-Billy wins this round, ALL OF YOU including Barack Obama will not get a chance to be the next president. That Hill-Billy already have this "Gentleman Agreement" with the Bushes. The time is NOW OR NEVER!!!

    Anson

    February 2, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. ladydemocrat

    Agreed! Mr. Edwards did and is continuing to do the right thing!
    Not endorsing either is the best for his supporters. He shows that he has faith in their judgement to pick which candidate will be right for them. I have the utmost respect for him, his family, his politics and through this remaining neutral that respect carries through to his supporters too!

    February 2, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. David

    What a spineless dweeb. Senator Edwards, YOU need to get a backbone, so we can take back the White House.

    February 2, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Mardee

    John Edwards does NOT want to be Vice-President. He is much too much of a leader in his own right. All of his ideas on the issues have been coopted by Obama and Hillary.

    This has been an election by Media and Edwards departure is a trememdous loss for the American people. He is a man of courage , integrity and intelligence.

    February 2, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. martha from NJ

    I am a long john and elizabeth supporter AND donor. I have made my first donation to Obama and fully support his nomination. I am fired up and ready to go!
    Obama is inspiring and carries the torch from edwards policies. Im hoping edwards and elizabeth endorse Barack before super tuesday. Obama can win the general. I dont think Clinton has a chance against mccain. A vote for hillary imho is a vote for mccain

    February 2, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. John in NYC

    To Watson -

    So if you don't get Rodham-Clinton as the Democratic nominee you would rather vote for someone who is against most of what she says she believes in so that you can deny "Obama Camp" a win? Grow up Watson. Your sophmoric approach to the future of our country represents the dysfunctional past and not the thriving future.

    February 2, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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