Edwards won't take VP offer, unless he does


Mark Follman
February 10, 2004 1:02AM (UTC)

Is John Edwards preparing, as so many believe he is, to take the number two slot on the Democratic ticket?

"I intend to fight with everything I've got to be the nominee," he reiterated to the New York Times on Sunday. But while the freshman senator from North Carolina remains an adamant long-shot gunning for the top spot, he has also started to signal, if ever so subtly, that he might accept the VP offer down the line.

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"Earlier [Sunday], on the ABC program 'This Week,' [Edwards] seemed to leave the door open just a crack to the possibility of being the vice-presidential nominee if he does not win the nomination," the Times reported.

"While reiterating that he was not interested in being vice president and did not see a circumstance where he would change his mind, he was less unequivocal when asked why he would not accept the nomination 'if your party needs you.'

"'You don't know what's going to happen a month, three months, six months from now,' Mr. Edwards said."

With John Kerry continuing to roll toward the nomination over the weekend in Michigan, Washington and Maine, the timing of Edwards' hint makes sense; many analysts believe his strong appeal in the south makes him the ideal running mate for the Massachusetts senator. But it's hardly a forgone conclusion: Wesley Clark, also considered a popular choice to ride shotgun for Kerry, is right on Edwards' heels for a second-place finish in the Tennessee vote on Tuesday. And, as Salon's Josh Benson recently reported, "outsider" choices including Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, or even Congressman Dick Gephardt of Missouri, could still be tapped for their potential to help deliver those key swing states in November.


Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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