The Republican National Committee wasted no time responding to Sen. John Edwards's announcement Thursday that he would seek the presidency.
"Who is John Edwards?" an RNC press release Friday asked about the North Carolina Democrat. "An Unaccomplished Liberal In Moderate Clothing And A Friend To His Fellow Personal Injury Trial Lawyers."
Funny, that's not how Edwards described himself Thursday, when he announced his candidacy: "I run for president to be a champion of regular people."
A mere 24 hours after Edwards declared and more than a year before the first primaries, the opposition party issued a 10-page, footnoted release that avers the first-term senator's utter inadequacy for the job, with headlines such as: "UNACCOMPLISHED AND NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME" and "PROFESSES TO BE A SOUTHERN MODERATE, BUT VOTES LIKE A NORTHEASTERN LIBERAL."
The barrage seemed a bit intense for a guy who had been a candidate for only a day. And the GOP has yet to send out similar takedowns of the other Democrats running for the presidential nomination next year. Privately, Republican officials have said that they find Edwards's candidacy particularly threatening because he is undefined. The RNC memo itself noted that Edwards is "AT ODDS WITH FELLOW DEMOCRATS."
Edwards spokesman David Ginsberg said it is a sign that President Bush and his party fear Edwards. "The White House clearly recognizes that they have a problem," he said.
Not so, said RNC spokesman Jim Dyke. Similar documents on the other Democrats will come out as they are finished. "It's a Christmas delay as opposed to Edwards being distinct from the others," he said.
Losers Tell Story About Winners
By focusing on the losers last fall, a report issued by U.S. PIRG details how the size of a campaign war chest influences elections. According to the study, 93.4 percent of the House and Senate candidates who outraised their opponents won. It also looks at 50 congressional candidates who were locked out of contention because of financial constraints.
"This report examines the flip side of that coin -- all average Americans who are shut out of the process by big money," said Adam Lioz, the report's author. "Unfortunately, we might as well hang a sign on the U.S. Capitol that says only the rich -- or those that will serve them -- need apply. Not many ordinary Americans are willing to put their hats in the ring any more."
Staff writer Dana Milbank contributed
to this report.