N.C. Editorials Praise Edwards Choice

By: E&P Staff

The conventional wisdom from political pundits holds that Sen. John Edwards may boost Sen. John Kerry’s race for the White House in several ways, but he won’t help the Democrats carry his native state of North Carolina. Many have gone so far to claim that Edwards, if he had run for re-election in the Tar Heel State this year, would probably have been defeated by a Republican. So what did leading newspapers in the state have to say about their native son getting the Democratic nod for vice president?

Most signaled their approval on their editorial pages.

The Charlotte Observer said that Republicans who have already branded Edwards as an inexperienced liberal trial lawyer dismiss him “at their own risk. He is a scrappy, smart, self-assured, skilled politician” who defied local odds in upsetting an incumbent in 1998.

The News & Record of Greensboro said that Kerry’s decision “may be more welcome in North Carolina than anywhere else, and not only among Democrats.” Edwards, it pointed out, is the first North Carolinian to run on a national ticket since 1852. “Lingering resentment about Edwards’ relentless pursuit of higher office likely will be offset by native pride in a home-state success story,” the newspaper editorialized. “Kerry’s choice will be a hit in North Carolina.”

The News & Observer in Raleigh, meanwhile, also asserted that the GOP may be misleading itself if it thinks the “trial lawyer” brand will work for them. Opponents “have had a tough time getting anything to stick to Edwards,” it noted. “Six years ago, voters in North Carolina didn’t buy criticism of him as a trial lawyer.” It noted that Edwards “has demonstrated a particular gift” for listening, which will help him a lot.

And the Winston-Salem Journal called the Edwards pick “a good choice,” although “it’s not a given that he can bring his own state into the Democratic fold. Many voters resent his having started running for president so soon after arriving in the Senate. But it added, “Kerry has given himself a good opportunity to have his message heard.”

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