Edwards Goes for Obama

How do you change the storyline after a 41-point blow out in a state considered to be a potential battleground in the fall?

If you are Barack Obama, how about rolling out the endorsement of poverty crusader, former senator and presidential candidate, and son of a millworker John Edwards?

And for good measure – why not appear together on stage, 10 minutes before the network newscasts on a night when Hillary Clinton was slated for wall-to-wall coverage after a day packed with interviews with anchors?

ABC News' Kate Snow, Raelyn Johnson and Rick Klein report that Edwards is endorsing Obama's presidential candidate Wednesday evening, "in a dramatic attempt by the Obama campaign to answer concerns regarding Obama's appeal to working-class voters."

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports that Edwards will appear with Obama at his event in Grand Rapids, MI, an event that was scheduled for 7:00 PM ET but was bumped up to 6:20 PM ET to make that network deadline. (The eagle-eyed Miller notes that Edward's former campaign manager, former Rep. David Bonior, who endorsed Obama last week, was in the audience for Obama's first event in Warren, Michigan, which is in Bonior's congressional district.)

Edwards, who is not a superdelegate, ran for president with poverty one of his top issues and his endorsement could help Obama address many of the questions that have been swirling since his losses in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia – namely, can he win white working class voters in November?

Edwards and his wife Elizabeth have been coy recently when questions were asked about their endorsement. This past Sunday, Edwards called Obama "the likely nominee" but did not indicate if he was endorsing the Illinois Senator.

Snow, Johnson and Klein report: "The possibility of an Edwards endorsement has been the subject of intense speculation for months; only former vice president Al Gore's endorsement was more coveted by Obama and Clinton. Edwards and his wife had publicly praised Clinton's healthcare plan, but Edwards' anti-corporate message seemed a better fit for Obama's outsider campaign."

The Edwards endorsement news comes on a day the Clinton campaign was hoping to gain some traction with uncommitted superdelegates, after her big win in West Virginia on Tuesday. So how is Team Clinton taking the news?

"Clearly it's upsetting," a source close to the Clinton campaign tells ABC. "He brings the workers" to Obama.

A senior Clinton adviser tells ABC News' Kate Snow that it's "not great news" but what impact the endorsement will have is unknown.

"We'll see. We'll see how much of it is transferable," this adviser said referring to Edwards' popularity with white working class voters.

"We would've preferred it" to be our endorsement, the adviser said. "That's not a secret."

Even after his walloping in West Virginia last night, the endorsements keep on rolling in for Obama. He continued his superdelegate accumulation today, picking up four news ones while Clinton picked up only one.

They don't have a vote as a superdelegate but the endorsement of one of the nation's leading abortion-rights groups for Obama is raising some eyebrows for its timing and significance, ABC News' Rick Klein reports.

In a second endorsement blow to Clinton today, Klein reports that NARAL Pro-Choice America's political action committee will endorse Obama, despite NARAL's consistent support for Clinton in her previous races.

"A political organization always looks at viability -- who has the most delegates, the most votes, and the most cash on hand," the PAC's political director, Elizabeth Shipp told ABC News. "As a political organization, we're not going to say it's an easy decision, but it's the right one."

Before the news of the Edwards' endorsement broke, Clinton did interviews with several television anchors to air on tonight's broadcasts.

In an interview with ABC' World News anchor Charlie Gibson, Clinton dismissed exit poll results that suggest some of her supporters are voting against Obama because he is black, ABC News' Jennifer Parker reports

"Race and gender are facts — the first African-American, the first woman — but I believe that the vast majority of voters [in West Virginia], an overwhelming majority, chose between us based on who can be better on the economy and health care and college affordability," Clinton said in the interview that will air on "World News" at 6:30 PM ET.

On the campaign front. . .


-- No public events scheduled, Chicago, IL

HILLARY CLINTON -- No public events scheduled.

BILL CLINTON -- 3:30 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Louisville, KY -- Attends event with voters, Bardstown, KY -- 7:30 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Elizabethtown, KY

As for the Republicans. . .

JOHN MCCAIN -- 10:00 am ET: Attends event with voters, Columbus, OH

At the White House and Beyond. . .

PRESIDENT BUSH -- 9:00 am (local): Visits Masada Historic site, Masada, Israel -- 2:05 pm (local): Speaks to the Knesset, Jerusalem, Israel -- 7:45 pm (local): Attends reception in honor of the 60th anniversary of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel -- 8:45 pm (local): Attends social dinner with Prime Minister Olmert and Mrs. Olmert

LABOR DEPARTMENT -- Releases weekly report on initial jobless claims.

FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD -- Releases the April industrial production report.


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