Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., was in Charleston, SC, this morning when an aide brought word: the Associated Press was reporting that then-VP-nominee Edwards’ 2004 running mate, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was endorsing one of Edwards’ chief rivals in the presidential contest, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.
And this was how Edwards was finding out: through the media. Not by Kerry himself.
A source close to Kerry says he had tried to reach Edwards this morning before boarding a flight from Washington, DC, to South Carolina, but "they didn’t connect."
It’s not unprecedented. In the 2004 presidential race, Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., learned via the media that his former running-mate, then-Vice President Al Gore, was backing former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean instead of Lieberman. Gore did not call Lieberman first to give him a heads-up, which Lieberman milked for sympathy…ultimately to little electoral avail.
Edwards this morning issued a statement saying that, "Our country and our Party are stronger because of John’s service, and I respect his decision. When we were running against each other and on the same ticket, John and I agreed on many issues. I continue to believe that this election is about the future, not the past, and that the country needs a President who will fight aggressively to end the status quo and change the Washington system and to give voice to all of those whose voices are ignored in the corridors of power."
Edwards supporters, meanwhile, thought the Kerry no-call particularly rude. They argued that South Carolina was a state that embodied Kerry’s failures in many ways: Having kicked off his presidential race in the Palmetto State, he went on to lose it handily to Edwards in the 2004 Democratic primary and even more handily to President Bush in the general election.
Kerry was flying from Washington, DC, to South Carolina when the news broke, and was trying to reach Edwards on the phone as of late this morning upon landing.