Kerry and Edwards: Rivals to Running Mates to Rivals

Adam Nagourney takes a look at the relationship between John Kerry and John Edwards, who ran against each other for the 2004 nomination, paired up on the ticket, and are now each apparently vying for the 2008 nomination.

From Rivals to Running Mates to Rivals (NYT rss)

John Kerry and John Edwards, rivals turned running mates in the last presidential campaign, have become rivals once again, assembling competing political networks, jostling for attention and staking out ideological turf in preparation for a potential rematch in 2008.

[…] Mr. Edwards has begun criticizing major tactical decisions of the Kerry-Edwards campaign last year, saying he disagreed with them at the time. Mr. Kerry’s campaign advisers disputed those recollections, and described Mr. Kerry as irritated by what appeared to be a calculated effort by Mr. Edwards to distance himself from the losing campaign.

Some associates of Mr. Kerry said Mr. Edwards had privately assured Mr. Kerry that he would not run for president in 2008 if Mr. Kerry decided to run again, a promise similar to that made by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman to Al Gore after the 2000 presidential campaign. Aides to Mr. Edwards and Mr. Kerry declined to discuss any conversation between the two men.

Such a promise, if made, was unwise indeed. A presidential ticket, especially among former rivals, is a marriage of convenience. It’s not as though Kerry pulled Edwards up out of obscurity as Bush the Elder did with Dan Quayle. Edwards owes nothing to Kerry. Indeed, it is Kerry who is violating the recent tradition of presidential politics by not fading into the sunset after losing.

Edwards, contrary to the expectations of most (myself included), was a poor running mate. He never seemed to get on board the Kerry train and was reluctant to do the traditional dirty work expected of the second banana. By the end of the campaign, Edwards all but disappeared. (Although, as we later learned, part of that was a result of his wife’s bout with cancer.)

With Hillary Clinton’s fundraising acumen and political prowess, I don’t see Kerry or Edwards getting the nomination in 2008, anyway.

Update: My here and here.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, 2008 Election, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Edwards, contrary to the expectations of most (myself included), was a poor running mate.

    I was one of the few whose expectations were borne out in spectacular fashion, but I won’t, like, gloat or anything. 😉

  2. Maggie says:

    Edwards “acting” abilities play well in the courtroom, in the MSM, and in Hollywood…real people see right through him.

    All that touchy-feely stuff with him and Kerry gave lots of people the creeps.

  3. Novac says:

    Perhaps their slogan will be ABH . . . “Anyone But Hillary”

  4. bryan says:

    Gack, I’m already sick of the 2008 race.