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Edwards Watch

Move over Nunn Watch, here comes Edwards Watch! Ed Kilgore offers his take on John Edwards's interview with NPR's "Talk of the Nation" today:

Asked, predictably, about his willingness to serve as Barack Obama's running mate, Edwards clearly said he'd do it -- or anything else -- if Obama asked him.

It was couched in the usual "don't expect it, haven't pursued it" disclaimers, but unless I'm missing something, this represents a change from Edwards' previous line that he'd "seriously consider" an offer if tendered.

The audio and transcript of the interview aren't available yet, but I'm sure others heard what I did, and reached similar conclusions.

Unless I misunderstood (always a possibility), or Edwards subsequently backtracks, you can expect some serious pressure on Obama to go with the North Carolinian, particularly now that fellow Southern populist Jim Webb has taken himself out of the running.

I think Ed's right about Edwards's desire to be a veep candidate (again). A while back I suggested Edwards might want to try his hand as chancellor of the University of North Carolina, but I was probably giving him too much credit. The guy's got bigger ambitions; he'd love to be veep. Still, despite his evident willingness, I don't see it happening. Edwards doesn't seem to be a good substitute for Webb: his Southern populism isn't as rough--and, in the eyes of the media (which isn't an unimportant consideration here), therefore isn't as "authentic"--as Webb's. And Edwards has none of Webb's military/national security experience. He also doesn't seem like a fresh choice, considering he was already Kerry's runningmate.

Given all that, I think it's more likely that Joe Biden--with his blue-collar background and national security expertise, not to mention his pugilistic nature--is someone whose name would shoot up Obama's short list now that Webb has taken himself out of consideration. Should we begin a Biden Watch?

--Jason Zengerle