John Edwards Loses in South Carolina Former Sen. John Edwards had hopes of a strong showing in the presidential primary in South Carolina, the state he was born in. But the Edwards campaign was also aware that the majority of voters would choose Sen. Barack Obama, making it tough to edge Sen. Hillary Clinton for second place.
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Adam Hochberg with the Edwards Campaign

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John Edwards Loses in South Carolina

Adam Hochberg with the Edwards Campaign

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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

Ron, let's move it back to you here. I have a few questions for you. It seems we should be hearing now from the Clinton campaign. Are they going to have any reaction to this? I assume they'll have to react.

RON ELVING: Well, I think we'll get some of sort of a release, and that will await whatever the result is between Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. It appears that from the exit polls, John Edwards has won the vote among white voters in South Carolina, and that Hillary Clinton may come out ahead of him however because she is getting a share of the black vote. She's probably getting about 1-in-5 black votes.

SEABROOK: Speaking of John Edwards, let's check in with our reporter that is with the Edwards campaign.

NPR's Adam Hochberg.

I understand, Adam, you were at a party at Gillian's Restaurant in downtown Columbia.

ADAM HOCHBERG: Yeah, in fact, I'm right across the alley from the place where David Greene is with Hillary Clinton. All three of the candidates here are within about two blocks from each other tonight. Columbia is not a very large town.

SEABROOK: This is a really important state for Edwards. He run lots of ads there. And what were his hopes for tonight, Adam?

HOCHBERG: Well, his hopes really were pretty modest. They may have started out at the beginning of the campaign, and I'm talking like a year ago because he did, in fact, win South Carolina in the 2004 primaries. But in the last several months, there's been very little hope on the campaign that he could finish first. There was maybe a glimmer of hope in the last week or so that he could challenge Hillary Clinton for second place. There was at least one poll that showed Edwards with a bit of a surge. But really the issue here now for this campaign is just about accumulating some delegates, not finishing first, maybe not finishing second, just getting a few delegates maybe in South Carolina, enough to have some kind of input on the nominating process of the Democratic convention.

SEABROOK: Let me just take one second here, Adam, hang on.

And let me ask you, Ron, what do we know about how close the race for second place is between Hillary Clinton and John Edwards right now?

ELVING: It's certainly much closer than the race between number one and number two. So, this is probably going to take us a little bit of time to sort out in the poll. But it's quite clear that Obama is going to finish in a strong first place.

SEABROOK: Adam, back there in Columbia. Do we have any indication of whether and when Senator Edwards will speak tonight?

HOCHBERG: You know, we do expect Senator Edwards to come down and speak at some point. We don't know what time. The polls just closed about 14 minutes ago by my watch. So, it's going to take awhile for a significant number of precincts to come in and for Senator Edwards to speak. And he is planning to hit the road from here, and be in two other Southern states tomorrow, Tennessee and Georgia - an indication that, at least, (unintelligible) schedule was put together a couple of days ago. He plan to continue on and continue his Southern strategy.

SEABROOK: NPR's Adam Hochberg with the Edwards campaign in Columbia, South Carolina.

Thanks, Adam.

HOCHBERG: Thank you.

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