A respectful question for John Edwards...

As an Edwards fan of sorts (he's my second choice), I wouldn't be crushed if he won the caucus.  I'm not trolling here by any means, or looking for a fight, but I pose this as a serious question in search of an answer to our party's potential nominee.

I'm sure this question has been answered before, but maybe some Edwards supporters can clarify this for me here. 

How will it possible for him to: 1) Beat Hillary (or Obama) in other states with only $17 mil to spend until the convention, and 2) defend himself with negligable funds after the primary season is over from attacks? 

I only ask this, because I really wish that Edwards had foregone federal matching funds and just opened up his deep wallet, sold his house, etc., for this campaign.  Perhaps with his recent fundraising prowess, he could have remained competetive with Obama or Hillary through fundraising rather than relying on public funds.

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  • Good Questions

    And the answer is, he can’t.

    I have been in several discussions with diehard Edwards supporters, and no one has given me anything more than rationalizations. Clearly Edwards was not successful in reaching his fundraising goals and made the poor choice to accept public financing. It isn’t because Edwards and Joe Trippi suddenly decided that public financing is the noble thing to do. Now he can’t use his own fortune, and the federal cap and estimated expenditures to date leave him with very little to spend.

    Clearly $17 million is not enough to get through a tough primary fight with the establishment candidate.

    Edwards has never gotten a break with earned media.

    527s can only do so much, even if they resort to illegal coordination with the campaign.

    Should Edwards do the highly improbable and secure the nomination, the Democratic Party cannot carry him if he is broke.

    • we've gone over this before

      The campaigns in later primary states are extremely short. You only need enough money for a week or so of tv ads. If he wins the early states, he will get lots of free media as well.

      He has a decent chance to win Iowa despite getting outspent massively by Obama and Hillary, and I think he can win other states despite getting outspent massively by Obama and Hillary.

      If he becomes the nominee, money will pour into the DNC and other groups that can run ads on Edwards’ behalf.

      Also, there’s a pretty good chance that the GOP nominee will be bound by public financing restrictions (McCain, Huckabee).

      If the GOP nominee is Romney, any Democrat will crush him regardless of whether he or she takes public financing.

      I find this line of argument amazing from Obama fans. On the one hand, Obama is this ray of hope for a new politics, not cynical, etc. On the other hand, abandon your candidate because my guy raised $100 million.

      • Not for that reason

        I don’t say abandon Edwards because of what Obama has been able to do in terms of fundraising.

        I am saying that Edwards can’t compete with Clinton, in part because of Edwards’ problems with raising money and the spending cap he accepted (he also has not been give a fair shake in the media). If he goes all out against Clinton through to March, he will have to spend his allotment.

        • third place in IA and NH

          would severely damage Clinton’s chances.

          I am not saying this is a very likely outcome, but it’s possible that Edwards and Obama could be the last two standing.

          • That's a fight I would like to see

            If it came down to Edwards and Obama without Clinton, I would be happy with the outcome, regardless. But I have a hard time seeing a Clinton 3rd place finish in New Hampshire, unless she just got clobbered in Iowa.

            I guess we can hope.

            • I agree it is not likely

              because the Clintons have a strong base of support in NH, and she will not give the media any “Dean scream” fodder even if she loses here.

              That said, she and Obama are tied in NH, and Edwards is only 10-12 points back. An Edwards-Obama-Clinton finish could put her in jeopardy of finishing third in NH.

              Even so, she will be able to come back with a “win” in Michigan and has reserves to draw on in NV. It will not be easy to knock her out of this race.

              • But, don't you think an Obama win and HRC 3rd place...

                …would knock her out of this race?  Her campaign is based on inevitability, not sustainability.  

                I think she would have been better off to skip the caucuses here and hope for a McCain moment where a 3rd place finish is seen as a win and not a loss.