Edwards Aims to Be Alternative to Kerry
17 minutes ago
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer
MILWAUKEE - John Edwards (news - web sites)' goal is to be the alternative to front-runner John Kerry (news - web sites), but that's a tall order for a Democrat still reeling from a double defeat in his native South.
The North Carolina senator, who finished a poor second in Tennessee and Virginia Tuesday, is up against the inclination of Democrats to coalesce around the top vote-getter, the continued presence of rival Howard Dean (news - web sites) and a primary calendar that doesn't offer much hope for a win until March 2.
Still, Edwards has a strategy in his pursuit of the anti-Kerry title: stifle any Dean comeback in Wisconsin to emerge as the obvious alternative and capitalize on being the sole Southerner left in the race.
"He's ahead and I'm the underdog," Edwards said of Kerry in an interview with The Associated Press Wednesday. "But I'm in the place that I wanted to be -- one-on-one with somebody, in this case Senator Kerry."
Democratic Party leaders would prefer a quick end to the nomination fight, but they also seem willing to let it play out a bit more, at least through Tuesday when Wisconsin holds its primary with 72 delegates at stake.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said it would not be a problem if the nomination contest goes on for a week or two more, and added that a longer race actually would mean the "Democratic process is strengthened."