CHARLESTON, S.C. -- It was a melancholy moment.
There stood John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic Party standard-bearer delivering what he hopes will be a significant endorsement to Barack Obama.
It was only months ago that Kerry was entertaining the idea of another run for the presidency, a job his advocates say he was born to hold.
He came so close four years ago. Those controversial exit polls told him he had defeated George W. Bush. They were wrong, of course.
In the years since Kerry has receded from the stage, never more apparent than during the 2006 congressional election when what he said was a "botched joke" about Bush consigned him to the Democrats' dog house.
And what of John Edwards? Kerry picked him as a running mate and, according to a book by Kerry aide Bob shrum, almost immediatedly regretted it.
Edwards said today he respected Kerry's decision.
In his endorsement, Kerry decried the politics of division and the "swift-boating" of candidates -- a tactic with which he is intimately familiar.
"I support him because he doesn't seek to perfect the politics of swift-boating, but to end it," said Kerry.
"I support Barack Obama because he will help bring the country together again, lead the world and show by example, not by words, that here in America anything is really possible for those who dare to dream and those determined to work for it."
After his rousing remarks, he ceded the spotlight to Obama and took a chair behind him.
Yesterday's man and the man of the moment.