Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Edwards Balancing Act

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Edwards Balancing Act

Article excerpt

In choosing North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as his running mate, John Kerry expands the appeal of the Democratic ticket in the November presidential election. But for the first-term senator, this rapid rise to a possible vice-presidential slot means he needs to prove himself to more voters in a very short period of time.

Strategically, though, the pick is smart. While Mr. Kerry easily attracts Northern Democrats, he widens his appeal to other regions by putting a Southerner on the ticket.

In many ways, Kerry's choice is one of opposites. Kerry, for instance, voted for NAFTA, Edwards against it, a sign that the two senators still have a lot of "getting to know you" to do. Edwards also is far less experienced in politics and foreign policy than Kerry. On the primary campaign trail, Kerry once remarked, "When I came back from Vietnam in 1969, I don't know if John Edwards was out of diapers then."

The son of a textile millworker, Edwards was the first in his family to get a college degree. Unlike Yale- educated Boston brahmin Kerry, Edwards is a populist and a trial lawyer, and at times a passionate Southern-style orator. His folksy appeal helps offset Kerry's elitist reserve.

Still, on one crucial issue, Edwards and Kerry are alike: They both voted for the war in Iraq and against the subsequent $87 billion in funding.

But John Kerry, take note: John Edwards was able to run a mostly positive campaign that resonated with voters. …

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