Edwards Starts Laying Post-Iowa Groundwork

(AP)
John Edwards' presidential campaign is setting out to dispel the myth that it's an Iowa-only organization, releasing on Monday a lengthy list of "key leaders and advisors" in states that will hold contests on Feb. 5 – more than 20 states will vote that day, so many that the Democratic nomination could effectively be decided when the night is through.

However, the list is not exactly overwhelming: Only nine of those states are represented, and some of them have very few names listed. For example, in New Mexico, only attorney general (and possible U.S. Senate candidate) Patricia Madrid is identified as leading Edwards' organization in the state.

Edwards is also a victim of circumstance: Two of the biggest states up for grabs on Feb. 5, Illinois and New York, should be firmly behind Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, respectively. Still, the release is an indication that the campaign is trying to convince pundits and voters alike that its not an Iowa-only operation – even though, in terms of where Edwards himself has traveled in the past four years, that's close to the truth.

The campaign might also be trying to respond to claims made by Barack Obama's organization today. According to CBS News political consultant Marc Ambinder, Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, in a conference call, said, "Sen. Edwards will have no operation to speak of in the Feb. 5 states. I believe Sen. Clinton has political or field organizations in five or six of those states. We have, I believe, 17 of the 22 states covered."

Edwards is also touting support he's received from labor unions and legislators in the Feb. 5 states, as well as the fact that organizing calls have been held in all those states. He's even playing the celebrity card, quoting in the release former Georgia congressman Ben Jones – better known for playing Cooter on "The Dukes Of Hazzard."

"Poll after poll shows John Edwards to be by far our strongest Democratic candidate in the general election," Jones said. "I'm not supporting John Edwards because of polls, but those same surveys show that John Edwards can win in the so-called 'red states' and that's exciting to me."

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