"The upbeat Mr. Sunshine and Southern moderate of the 2004 presidential race has turned into the populist pursuing support from the party's liberal wing in hopes of overcoming leading rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama," Pickler writes. "Edwards has given voice to voters' frustrations over an unending Iraq war, rising health care costs and disenchantment with Washington."
Pickler is quick to note that Edwards isn't angry like that crazy Howard Dean was angry. "Edwards is different from Dean, who had a tendency to get ticked off at times and pop off unexpectedly," Pickler explains. "Edwards is channeling his emotion in a more deliberate way." Still, she warns, Edwards' "impassioned outbursts" can "backfire" on him, "especially when his own past words and deeds come back to haunt him."
Exhibit A in support of Pickler's theory: After Edwards' "voice rose" as he trumpeted his past support of labor unions at this week's AFL-CIO candidates' forum in Chicago, Sen. Joe Biden's campaign "distributed a list of news stories from 1998, when Edwards ran for the Senate, showing that he supported a North Carolina law that prevented workers from being forced to join a union -- an anti-union position."
What Pickler doesn't say: Biden, whom we recall being just as hot and bothered as Edwards was at the forum, claimed there that he had a better record on labor than Edwards or any of the other candidates on the stage. In fact, as Factcheck.org subsequently reported, all of the candidates on the stage have a better lifetime voting record on labor than Biden does, at least as measured by the AFL-CIO's ratings of congressional votes.
Something else Pickler doesn't say: Dennis Kucinich, who acquitted himself admirably at the AFL-CIO forum and stands to do so again tonight as the Democratic candidates appear at a forum on gay issues, might have something to say about who's the "populist" candidate "giving voice to voters' frustrations."