Ryan Lizza was not impressed. Where's the slick, Clintonesque John Edwards we were all promised? "John Edwards--the guy with the pretty face and light resumé who was expected to compensate for his lack of policy acumen with a compelling biography and an uncanny ability to connect with voters--has become a wonk."
Edwards initially though he'd run on the "regular people" theme, using his background and that theme to connect simply. But "somewhere along the way, Edwards and his aides realized this wasn't going to be enough. 'Every campaign faces the temptation of running on biography and persona, but he's better off not running on it,' says a senior adviser. 'That makes his background a much more powerful tool, if it's not the only one in his arsenal.'"
So he turned into a Clintonian populist, in tone: "It's a populist critique of Bush as a crony capitalist coupled with a detailed and optimistic plan to level the playing field for those regular Americans Edwards started the campaign talking about. 'Edwards has put together an agenda,' argues an adviser, 'to go to the middle class and make the middle class richer, which is Bush's worst nightmare, since that's what he promised to do but hasn't. I hate to put labels on it, but it's a kind of 'positive populism' with echoes of Clinton in '92, but one he came to on his own.'"
Speaking of populism …
Edwards is four months late on paying property taxes on his $3.8 million Georgetown manse, the Washington Times 's Charles Hurt reports. The outstanding bill for the man who's worth between $12 million and $30 million: just over $11,000, with penalties and interest. LINK One neighbor reminds us, however, that Edwards doesn't live in the Georgetown house. He and his wife bought and remodeled it and local papers say it is now back on the market at nearly twice the price. He is renting in Northwest (5000 block of Tilden) from a family that went up to Harvard for the academic year … . no signs of him moving, and there are still lots of toys in the yard.
According to the Raleigh News & Observer, a contributor to John Edwards' political action committee is facing judicial corruption charges, the same fella who is playing in the Mississippi gubernatorial contest. LINK
Slate has a short feature on Carol Moseley Braun's stances on national security and foreign policy. LINK
The AP reports on Willie Nelson's radio ads supporting the Ohio congressman. LINK You can listen to the ads here. LINK
Senator Biden gets the Kondracke treatment in Roll Call .
"Whether or not" Biden "runs for president — and I hope he does — he's got something to teach the other Democratic candidates about how to criticize President Bush."
"His approach was on display at the Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday when he blasted the Bush Administration for not telling the country what the Post -war reconstruction of Iraq would cost."
"'I voted to go into Iraq, and I'd vote to do it again,' Biden said in an impassioned closing statement at the hearing. That remark alone distinguishes him from" Senator Kerry and Congressman Gephardt, "presidential candidates now fudging on their previous support for the war."
Roll Call 's Ed Henry "was surprised to see the Rev. Al Sharpton … enjoying breakfast Wednesday at La Colline."