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Edwards Endorses Obama (At Last!)

‘The Democratic voters in America have made their choice, and so have I.’

John Edwards and Barack Obama in Grand Rapids, Mich., May 14.

John Edwards and Barack Obama in Grand Rapids, Mich., May 14.

We were wondering if we would ever have the pleasure of seeing John Edwards’s endorsement of Barack Obama. And yes, we were grumbling impatiently and muttering ‘What’s taking him so damn long?’ But now we think maybe he has a good sense of timing after all. This endorsement feels well worth the wait. After Hillary’s big win in West Virginia, supported by that important demographic where Obama’s been falling short, John Edwards’s support is welcome indeed.

We’ll never know how Edwards’s endorsement might have helped had he chosen Obama earlier. The withholding of support was creating a kind of suspense, a vacuum of doubt. There was something missing from the ‘Obamomentum.’ As long as Edwards had not definitely stood up for Obama, it left open the possibility that he did not have confidence in Obama as a winner, or that he knew something the rest of us didn’t know, and that he might in the end go for Hillary. (The hesitation also made us wonder about John Edwards’s priorities. Were he and Elizabeth truly getting hung up (as reports suggested) on which candidate had the better health care plan? Did the entire endorsement really depend upon that single criterion?)

We worried that Edwards was being too cautious, hedging his bets. There was speculation that perhaps Hillary had offered him a plum position if she won. Or maybe Edwards did not want to unfairly tilt the race, and thought it best to hold back, just as Al Gore has refrained from influencing the contest. We like to think that in the end Edwards saw a winner, wished to help end the divisive, unresolved contest that works to John McCain’s advantage, and wants to help elect a politician who has the best chance of uniting the country (to the extent that these States can still be United) to make the One America we so urgently need.

Click here for the video of Edwards’s speech [1] to 12,000 Obama supporters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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