Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Edwards Aide: John Having Private Endorsement Discussions With Hillary, Obama; "Greater Than 50% Chance" He'll Endorse"

Greg Sargent (Election Central-TPM):
An Edwards aide confirms to me that John Edwards met privately with Hillary on Thursday to discuss the possibility of making an endorsement, and will meet with Obama tomorrow, as first reported by Mark Halperin. The Edwards aide gave me a bunch more detail, including this: "There's a greater than 50% chance he will endorse." He also said that he's been talking to both on and off for some time, including since he dropped out.

The Edwards aide, who played a key campaign role, confirms that in his private discussion with Hillary, the former North Carolina Senator talked to her about similar concerns he raised with both candidates just before leaving the race. The aide says he talked about "who's going to carry on the mantle of fighting for the voiceless," and is trying to gauge which of the two "will sign their name in blood in order to make that commitment." A second source familiar with the meeting confirmed that it took place.

The Edwards aide cautioned against reading too much into the meetings, saying that he'd been talking to both of them before. "He's torn," the aide said "He has reservations about Hillary, which are pretty apparent."

On Obama, the aide says, Edwards worries "whether he's tough enough to be President of the United States. If you look at what Edwards ran on, which is not negotiating with the special interests, taking away their power, that's pretty different than the Obama model."The Edwards aide added that Obama's lack of a health care plan with a "mandate" is a "tough hurdle for him to get over." He added, however, that Edwards is much more in line with Obama on other issues.

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