MyDD Interview with John Edwards

On Friday morning I had the opportunity to sit down with Democratic presidential contender John Edwards after his speech at the DNC's winter meetings. Two previous interviews from the week of the meetings have already posted here on MyDD -- Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This was the second in a series of interviews with candidates and potential candidates for the Democratic nomination, the first coming back in May with Sen. Russ Feingold, who was then still believed to be in the running. The series continues tomorrow with my interview with Sen. Barack Obama, which was also recorded last Friday.

The questions for the interview were culled from your suggestions here on MyDD and via email. Topics covered include Iran, Iraq, poverty, healthcare, trade, and genuineness. You can listen to a stream of the interview or download it as an .mp3 here and read the transcript below:

Jonathan Singer: I had the opportunity to see you speak at USC.

John Edwards: At the poverty conference. I remember that very well.

Singer: I also got the chance to see you about three years ago in California at Pomona College.

Edwards: I remember being there. It was during the primary campaign.

Singer: I was right up front watching. And I came away from the second speech seeing a different man -

Edwards: I'm not surprised.

Singer: - having broken through, it seemed, from the type of campaign mentality. And you spoke to that. I was wondering how you see yourself being able to stay away from getting...

Edwards: Getting back into that?

Singer: Yeah.

Edwards: It's to not hire a bunch of consultants that you listen to, and just to be yourself. That's the simplest way to do it.

Singer: Realistically you're going to have consultants on your campaign.

Edwards: Not doing much.

Singer: I mean there are going to be polls taken...

Edwards: Sure. My pollster doesn't... I decide what I'm going to say. The speech I gave today - I wrote it. Nobody else wrote it. I have to admit that we did have a speech written that I didn't give. I gave my speech. And that's what I do now. Anything that matters I do it myself.

I had a town hall meeting in New Hampshire Wednesday and I talked and answered questions, and every word that came out of my mouth was just me. Nobody told me what to say or suggested what I should say. I don't do that anymore.

There's more...

Clinton Up By Double-Digit Margin in New Hampshire

The latest University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll (.pdf) commissioned by CNN and WMUR is out, and it shows that Hillary Clinton's post-announcement bounce appears to be holding -- at least for now -- and that no candidate other than perhaps Al Gore has made any headway in breaking into the top tier in the state.

353 likely Democratic New Hampshire primary voters (MoE +/- 5.2 percent), 2/1-5/2007
Percent SupportFavorability Rating Among Dems
Hillary Clinton35 percent74 fav/15 unfav (+59)
Barack Obama21 percent67 fav/12 unfav (+55)
John Edwards16 percent74 fav/13 unfav (+61)
Al Gore8 percent63 fav/27 unfav (+37)
Joe Biden3 percent29 fav/25 unfav (+4)
Wes Clark1 percent36 fav/28 unfav (+8)
Bill Richardson1 percent26 fav/17 unfav (+9)
Tom Vilsack1 percent7 fav/18 unfav (-11)
Chris Dodd1 percent22 fav/20 unfav (+2)
Dennis Kucinich-24 fav/31 unfav (-7)
Mike Gravel-5 fav/15 unfav (-10)
Al Sharpton-14 fav/57 unfav (-43)
Undecided14 percentN/A

This is the first survey, to my knowledge, that has made publicly available both head-to-head numbers for the Democratic primary as well as favorable/unfavorable numbers for each of the candidates in the race (and I stress each, including potential candidates Gore, Wes Clark and Al Sharpton). As such, it offers some fairly good insights into the state of the race today.

But the numbers listed above do not tell the entire story of the race. UNH also asked the likely Democratic primary voters who their least favored Democrat in the race is, and interestingly Clinton leads that statistic among the top tier candidates with 9 percent, only trailing Sharpton at 28 percent and tied with Dennis Kucinich. Biden and Gore clock in at 5 percent apiece in this category, Obama at 4 percent, Clark at 3 percent, and Edwards at 2 percent. Not to be mistaken, this metric does not at all doom Clinton. Yet it should have her team at least mindful that there is a noticeable segment of the primary electorate wholly opposed to her candidacy.

There's a lot of other very interesting information contained in the poll that is free for perusal at the aforementioned link, for those who are interested, as well as numbers on the race among the Republicans, which, in short, finds John McCain and Rudy Giuliani in a statistical dead heat at 28 percent and 27 percent, respectively, Mitt Romney at 13 percent, Newt Gingrich at 9 percent and no other candidate reaching 4 percent.

Clinton Ahead Big in New Hampshire in SurveyUSA Polling

SurveyUSA, which had a fairly good track record in polling general election matchups in 2006, has come out with a round of polling from New Hampshire. The survey was commissioned by WBZ-TV Boston. The poll of 1,800 adults in the state from Friday through Sunday yielded 1,544 registered voters, of whom 582 were found to be likely voters in the Democratic presidential primary. The resulting margin of error for the poll is ± 4.1%.

If the Democratic Primary were today, would you vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton? John Edwards? Barack Obama? Or some other Democrat?
CandidatePercentage of the VoteHillary Clinton40%Barack Obama25%John Edwards23%Another Democratic Candidate9%Undecided3%

I'm not certain if it is a function of SurveyUSA's likely voter screen; of the fact that they only specifically list three candidates, other and undecided; or that SurveyUSA employs a prerecorded message for its polling rather than a live interviewer, but the number of undecideds at this point -- just 3 percent -- seems awful low at this stage in the cycle. What's more, the level of support for Hillary Clinton is significantly higher than that found in other recent polls -- Zogby had her at 19 percent in a poll ending on January 17, American Research Group had her at 27 percent in a poll ending on December 27, and Research 2000 had her at 22 percent in a poll ending December 20 -- which could be representative of the low number of undecideds (the poll lumping leaners in with core supporters), reflective of a bounce she has received from the official announcement of her candidacy, or a combination of the two. The numbers for Barack Obama and John Edwards are also slightly higher than in other polls, though less so than Clinton's.

Put together, these numbers that New Hampshire voters are currently fairly comfortable looking at this as a three-way race if prompted. While this won't necessarily be the case in a year's time, let alone in a month, other candidates interested in being competitive in the Granite State are going to need to change the dynamics of the race to make voters see this as a more open race.

Below the fold, numbers from the Republican side, with analysis... (h/t Political Wire)

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Why Bill Moyers should run for President

                           Beginning with Molly Ivins in July 2006, there has been a growing movement to draft Bill Moyers to run for Presidet, to throw his hat into the ring of Democratic contenders for the nomination. I believe that this is a great idea, and I wish to lay down the reasons for pursuading Mr. Moyers to campaign for President. Bill Moyers is a very well known an respected media figure. After being involved in the Peace Corps and the Johnson White House, he went to PBS in 1971 and did a news progam until 1981. He also worked at CBS as an news analyst, and hosted the show NOW on PBS.The reasons for drafting Bill Moyers are clear, and stark. Bill Moyers is not afraid to speak truth to power. He has consistently supported liberal causes, denounced the conservative media, class warfare by the rich, corporate power, and the sleazy activites of the GOP. With the field of Democratic hopefuls being what it is, Moyers would be a perfect addition. What Democrat out there is carrying the liberal/progressive banner? Hillary Clinton? Hell no, she supports the war and has many other problems. Evan Bayh and Joe Biden? Same problems. John Edwards might be on to something, but he just doesn't have the base, and much as I love Russ Feingold, I don't know how he will do in the primaries.     Bill Moyers is well known by people, very respected, has integrity, and has a record of supporting liberals and the left, especially when times have been terrible. If he were to run in the Democratic primaries, issues that might not come up otherwise, will; media consolidation, totally transforming US foreign policy, fighting back against Class warfare, dealing with the oncoming baby boomer retirement crisis, and other issues that desperately need to be addressed, not soon, but NOW. So, with that in mind, I fully support a Bill Moyers candidacy, and hope other liberals and progressives will too.  

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Fightin Dem Spotlight on the Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina Primaries

On Tuesday, May 2nd, there are primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio.

There are a total of nine (9) FDVets running for the House of Representatives:

 Two Fighting Dem Vets are running in Indiana (IN-03 and IN-04).  Both candidates face a field that includes non-vet candidates.

One Fighting Dem Vet is running in North Carolina (NC-03). Fortunately, Craig Weber is unopposed so he will be the Dem nominee. On the other hand, a great candidate, Tim Dunn (NC-08), dropped out earlier for personal reasons.

Six Fighting Dem Vets are running in Ohio (OH-03, OH-04, OH-13, and OH-18). In CDs 4 and 13 two Fighting Dem Vets face off against each other in large fields of candidates. Only one candidate, Richard D. Siferd in OH-04 is unopposed and is therefore the official nominee of the Democratic Party.

Please also join us in signing the Petition for the resignation of SecDef Donald Rumsfeld. It has been co-sponsored by about 50 Fighting Dem Vets and all FDs of any stripe are asked to join in. It is in the works to be hand delivered by a special person this week.

There's more...


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