John Edwards Lowers Nevada’s Status; Gets Warning From Harry Reid

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) just shot a cannon blast across the bow of John Edwards’ presidential campaign.
After release of the news that John Edwards would be lowering Nevada’s place on his political priority roster and moving personnel out of the state, Reid said: “Any candidate who chooses to ignore Nevada and its rich diversity does so at their own peril.”
Edwards’ campaign has responded that Nevada continues to be important in his “early state” strategy — focusing on Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina — but many folks aren’t buying the line. Hillary Clinton in the mean time has issued a statement that she is expanding her offices and campaign representation in Nevada.
Why is this important? On a couple of levels. . .
First, this blog reported last year that a major Democratic funder had stated that Reid had quietly, subtly offered Hillary Clinton a deal: that he would step down as Senate Majority Leader in 2009 in her favor if she would not run for the presidency.
Both Reid and Clinton have vigorously denied that this exchange took place but neither office has rejected that the comments were made by the well-placed donor. Such an effort would have had all of the trappings of full deniability — and whether true or not true — some in the Hillary Clinton camp believed that this was an effort by Reid’s office to prod Clinton — if not to keep her from running, then at least to keep the nascent, then undeclared Clinton campaign on edge.
Others saw this juicy rumor which I and others reported as a ploy of the Edwards’ operatives to create a viral insurrection against a potential Hillary Clinton juggernaut. At the time, Obama’s name had really not emerged as a viable competitor.
The thinking among insiders — again, whether this was true or not true (and I have made comments in the past suggesting that if Harry Reid did make such an offer, that it would be ridiculously bad for him to offer and Clinton to accept) — was that Harry Reid was using his influence to pry apart the stranglehold that the Northeastern liberal establishment had in picking presidential aspirants.
Harry Reid also maneuvered moving up the dates of the Nevada caucus between the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary to assure a solid voice for the West — and for working class, Hispanic-American, and non-WASP Democrats who were not as well represented in the Northeast voting establishment.
The move then by Reid was perceived by some to be pro-Edwards and anti-Hillary. I doubt that Reid was focused on personalities, but it is clear that his success in sculpting a new roster of political contests in the primary process threw up new speed bumps for the Clinton campaign.
But the Clinton campaign seems pretty immune to speed bumps. Hillary Clinton now leads with nearly 40% of voters among Democratic Nevadans. Edwards trails in third place behind Clinton and Obama.
Reid didn’t care so much about who the candidate emerged to be, he has said, but he did want Nevada and the American West in general to count much more substantially in the primary process.
Reid is one of the party’s big king-makers now, and Edwards’ new course — while perhaps essential given realistic calculations of resource constraints — may signal the foreshocks of a collapsing campaign.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

17 comments on “John Edwards Lowers Nevada’s Status; Gets Warning From Harry Reid

  1. smithjohn says:

    Hi this is Smith It’s true, although decreasingly so, that Iowa is lily white. But I moved here from the Left Coast in 1999, and I am heartened by the profound seriousness with which Iowans regard their role. It’s a civic duty to show up and listen to the candidates, and I can’t go to the grocery store or buy gas without running into someone who wants to know whether I’ve decided yet who to support
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  2. smithjohn says:

    Hi this is Smith It’s true, although decreasingly so, that Iowa is lily white. But I moved here from the Left Coast in 1999, and I am heartened by the profound seriousness with which Iowans regard their role. It’s a civic duty to show up and listen to the candidates, and I can’t go to the grocery store or buy gas without running into someone who wants to know whether I’ve decided yet who to support
    ==========================
    Drug Intervention Nevada

    Reply

  3. smithjohn says:

    Hi this is Smith It’s true, although decreasingly so, that Iowa is lily white. But I moved here from the Left Coast in 1999, and I am heartened by the profound seriousness with which Iowans regard their role. It’s a civic duty to show up and listen to the candidates, and I can’t go to the grocery store or buy gas without running into someone who wants to know whether I’ve decided yet who to support
    ====================================
    Smith
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    [url=http://www.drug-intervention.com/nevada-drug-intervention.html]Drug Intervention Nevada[/url]

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  4. smithjohn says:

    Hi this is Smith It’s true, although decreasingly so, that Iowa is lily white. But I moved here from the Left Coast in 1999, and I am heartened by the profound seriousness with which Iowans regard their role. It’s a civic duty to show up and listen to the candidates, and I can’t go to the grocery store or buy gas without running into someone who wants to know whether I’ve decided yet who to support
    ==========================
    Drug Intervention Nevada

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, it appears that many of your readers here are waking up to what Reid is made of.
    When will you offer us a complete commentary about what exactly motivates your adoration for this posturing fraud?

    Reply

  6. Kathleen says:

    Velvet… McAwful…love it. and then there’s the Ragin Cajin, who doesn’t want his wife to end up in the can.
    I think Kucinch has shown courage and foresight, so for now, I’ll support him.

    Reply

  7. jeanruss says:

    I will continue to support Edwards regardless of the constant trashing he gets from traditional media-he is probably the only candidate that can trounce the Republicans, as every poll has shown-this is why they never miss an opportunity to criticize-I attended his poverty tour and when I read the AP article it felt like we attended two different rallies-they said there were only 250 people there when it easily topped 500, standing room only-it was a very mixed crowd, half black half white, middle to upper class voters-very American mainstream-it would be great to not have to CRINGE every time my President opens his mouth, like I have had to do the last 6 years-he has the best detailed plans for the future on all the major issues and it will be refreshing not to have a Clinton/ Bush AGAIN-you’d think we were a monarchy the last 25 years.

    Reply

  8. velvet says:

    Edwards seems to have no natural constituency & accomplished little while in office as a Senator other than running for President on a thin resume. Not that that reminds me of anyone.
    I think it is a risky bid for Dems to depend on the Clinton brand name, particularly as Terry McAwful is in the house. Give us a Clark, a Gore, a Dean.
    Move over, legacy candidates.

    Reply

  9. Susan in Iowa says:

    Imagine that Edwards wins Iowa and places second in New Hampshire. Will the media be bemoaning the fact that he didn’t win Nevada? I doubt it. I haven’t made up my mind yet, so I am not cheerleading for Edwards. I saw him yesterday in Charles City, and he pulled a big enthusiastic crowd. If he thinks Iowa is his best chance, it makes sense to concentrate his resources here.
    It’s true, although decreasingly so, that Iowa is lily white. But I moved here from the Left Coast in 1999, and I am heartened by the profound seriousness with which Iowans regard their role. It’s a civic duty to show up and listen to the candidates, and I can’t go to the grocery store or buy gas without running into someone who wants to know whether I’ve decided yet who to support.
    The best thing about this process is that the candidates have to answer questions and listen to concerns from relatively small groups of people. They can’t get away with a speech and a wave at the crowd, and I think that’s good for democracy.
    Elizabeth Edwards looks good, I’m pleased to report. I’m pulling for her. She’s a great lady.

    Reply

  10. Buck Batard says:

    check that sp. Time isn’t mean. I think you meant to use one word.

    Reply

  11. Kathleen says:

    Harry Reid a “kingmaker”? Puhleeeeeze. King George, you mean?
    Reid is a cold bowl of oatmeal…. blah.
    As for Nevada influencing anything national….dream on Harry. Heaven forbid you should wake up in time to save the republic.

    Reply

  12. corinne says:

    I agree with Bluekat. Harry Reid is blowing smoke and he’s far from being tagged a “kingmaker.” John Edwards has spent a lot of time cultivating Nevada’s union voters and that needs to be acknowledged.

    Reply

  13. Bluekat says:

    “a collapsing campaign”? When Edwards is consistently ahead in Iowa and has raised more money in South Carolina than any other candidate? When not a single vote has yet been cast in a single primary?
    Oh no, it is not Harry Reid who considers himself a kingmaker, it is media elites like you who presume yourselves to be able to “bury” Edwards before we the people have a chance to make our own choices.

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    Reid should just keep his mouth shut.

    Reply

  15. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    Is Reid a king-maker just because he is Senate Majority Leader? He’s a blundering fool. Bush/Rove play him like a chump. If anyone follows what Reid has to say, they do so at their own peril.

    Reply

  16. Beth in VA says:

    Glad you’re back Steve. I wonder if Nevada would pick a better crop o’ candidates compared with lily-white Iowa.
    But Steve: I was wishing you were here earlier because I’m really worried about the Iranian situation. Do you have any news that might reassure us that this crazy administration isn’t planning on extending this conflagration across Iraq’s eastern border??

    Reply

  17. selise says:

    too bad senator reid didn’t give this much thought to decent fisa legislation.
    p.s. welcome back from you working vacation, steve. hope you had a great time.

    Reply

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