John Edwards, whose 2004 run for the presidency and then the vice presidency was built largely around the charms of a single -- although oft-repeated -- speech, seemed to throw some cold water on Obama-mania when Chris Matthews asked him Tuesday about the lessons he'd learned from running the last time around.
Edwards said he was too focused then on whether he was being a "good candidate" and giving a good speech. "Running before makes you focus on something different," he said. "Instead of focusing on how crowds respond to you and what everybody seems to love of you. That's not the test for being president. The test for being president is, 'Are you the best person to occupy the Oval Office and be the leader of the free world?' Because literally the future of the world is at stake here. This is not about popularity and excitement."
With all the best-thing-since-[fill in the blank] talk about Barack Obama, Edwards had better hope he's right. So, too, should Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who entered the presidential race Tuesday with the all-substance approach: "I am not going to stand by and watch thousands more of our brave, young men and women killed in Iraq," Kucinich said as he launched his campaign in Cleveland. "We Democrats were put back in power to bring some sanity back to our nation. We were expected to do what we said we were going to do -- get out of Iraq."