Will he? Won't he? And if he does...
It's hard to gauge the potential impact of an Edwards endorsement, but both candidates would love to have it. For Obama, it could add to what is going to be a very good month, and it could be particularly helpful in a union state such as Ohio. For Clinton, it could break what looks to be a long series of negative news cycles. So, there was a bit of a buzz, yesterday, when news came out that Edwards probably will make an endorsement, and that both Clinton and Obama were making trips to North Carolina, to court him. Clinton met with Edwards yesterday, and Obama was scheduled to meet him today, although that was called off, at least for the moment. Talking Points Memo had some inside word on Edwards's thinking.
The Edwards aide cautioned against reading too much into the meetings, saying that he'd been talking to both of them before. "He's torn," the aide said "He has reservations about Hillary, which are pretty apparent."
As the campaign's real agent of change, it's easy to see Edwards enthused by Obama's rhetoric and ability to expand the Party. On the other hand, if I were Hillary Clinton, and I were about to sit down with John Edwards, I'd bring a stack of Paul Krugman columns. Not only does Krugman strongly disparage Obama's health care plan and his stance on Social Security, he also consistently lauds Edwards. Those issues seem to be influencing Edwards's decision.
On Obama, the aide says, Edwards worries "whether he's tough enough to be President of the United States. If you look at what Edwards ran on, which is not negotiating with the special interests, taking away their power, that's pretty different than the Obama model."
The Edwards aide added that Obama's lack of a health care plan with a "mandate" is a "tough hurdle for him to get over." He added, however, that Edwards is much more in line with Obama on other issues.
I don't see how Edwards overcomes that hurdle, but I also have a hard time seeing him endorsing Clinton. If Edwards does make an endorsement, analyzing his explanation will be very interesting, indeed.