Which Way Will Edwards Voters Drift Now? With John Edwards out of the race, the question now is where his supporters will go. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will try hard to woo former Edwards supporters. Democratic strategist Dan Payne says that may be tough — especially with white male voters.
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Which Way Will Edwards Voters Drift Now?

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Which Way Will Edwards Voters Drift Now?

Which Way Will Edwards Voters Drift Now?

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

One thing we do know, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will try hard to woo former Edwards' supporters.

Democratic strategist Dan Payne says it may be tough, especially with that key group we just talked about - white men.

Mr. DAN PAYNE (Democratic Strategist): There isn't really a place for the white male to find a candidate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. All you have to do is look at them and see they're not like white men. And so there'll be an attempt, I think, on the part of both Obama and Clinton to woo key people for Edwards, some his key supporters, his union supporters especially, and they'll be so complementary to John Edwards in the next couple of days. It'll be sickening.

NORRIS: You know, when you actually attended Edwards' rally, some of the biggest applause lines, the moment where the crowd really got fired up, was when he talked about two things: bringing all the troops home within a year and fighting for the middle class. Where do voters, who are fired up when they hear those things, go now?

Mr. PAYNE: Well, my guess is that they split a little bit more in favor of Obama. Obama did not vote for the war; Hillary Clinton did. So, that will give Obama a point to make. And the middle class is the ongoing argument in both campaigns. I'm not sure that anyone is going to make a distinction. But there is implicit in the Edwards candidacy an unhappiness with Hillary Clinton because she was the default position before John Edwards officially got in the race. He knew she was going to run, so his getting in implies that he was not happy with what she stood for. That gives Barack Obama a little bit of an opening.

NORRIS: You know, even as - it stands out now into a national contest, the candidates and the campaigns know quite a lot about voters and their tendencies and the issues that they care about and the candidates that they support. Will the campaigns now aggressively go after the Edwards vote? Will they, you know, specific mailers try to hit them on the phone?

Mr. PAYNE: No, I don't think so. Edwards didn't accumulate enough of a vote to matter in most places, and it's enormously expensive to do mailings. If you can cover California one time with a mailing, that's a multiple-million-dollar effort.

NORRIS: And the unions. John Edwards had picked up endorsements from carpenters, steel workers, service employees in Iowa, teachers in South Carolina. What about those voters? Are they free agents now or will the unions re-endorse?

Mr. PAYNE: Oh, that - my guess is that Obama and Clinton have been on the phone to those unions as we speak, trying to arrange meetings, trying to have calls put through by maybe politicians that they favor. There's going to be a furious fight for unions' support because unions in the Democratic primaries can make a difference.

NORRIS: Dan Payne is a Democratic strategist. Thanks so much for talking to us.

Mr. PAYNE: You're welcome.

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