NBC Beats the Pack; N.Y. Post Gets Booby Prize
Coverage of the Edwards selection was generally upbeat yesterday, which is hardly surprising since some of the pundits had been openly rooting for Edwards and dismissing Gephardt as yesterday's news.
Edwards has "no shortage of charisma," said CBS anchor Harry Smith. CNN's Bill Schneider reminded viewers that Edwards is the "son of a millworker" who "clearly had a common touch," perhaps the party's best communicator since Bill Clinton.
The love affair has been brewing for some time. Back in the spring of 2001, Time anointed Edwards as "The Democrats' New Golden Boy," after People had pronounced him the nation's sexiest politician. The Chicago Sun-Times had said he "may well be the Democratic Party's best hope for 2004."
Edwards, of course, won only one state primary -- South Carolina -- but the final weeks of his campaign were marked by reporters pressing him at every stop on whether he'd agree to be Kerry's running mate. He routinely said he wasn't interested in the vice presidency, or that Kerry would make a good number two for him.
Not all the instant commentary yesterday was laudatory. There was talk about Edwards's trial-lawyer background and lack of foreign policy experience. ABC played a clip of Kerry saying that when he returned from Vietnam in 1969, "I'm not sure John Edwards was out of diapers then yet or not."
"The big question for John Edwards," the Wall Street Journal's John Harwood said on MSNBC, "is going to be answering the question, 'Is he ready to be president?' "
Fox commentator Dick Morris, a former Clinton strategist who has turned on his former boss, said Kerry's choice "is a real threat to Hillary" -- because after two terms Edwards would be well-positioned for an Oval Office run in 2012.
After all the pregame speculation, the choice was hardly a shocker. But by unveiling a relatively fresh face three weeks before the Democratic convention in Boston, Kerry and his strategists hope for a sustained period of high-energy coverage -- including the first pictures of the two men stumping together today.
"They stretched this out," Stephanopoulos said. "They built up the suspense. They want to own July. The vice presidential pick is filling a lot of the political space that used to be filled by the conventions, especially this year, when it looks like they will get less coverage."
Lost in the hullabaloo, but unearthed by the political newsletter Hotline, was a relatively obscure blog that got the scoop at 9:44 Monday night. A poster to USAviation.com noted that on Kerry's 757 in an airplane hangar, "John Edwards vp decals were being put on engine cowlings and upper fuselage."
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