Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Edwards' Endorsement Proved to Be as Huge as Its First Blush

Pew demonstrates just how indebted Barack Obama is to John Edwards, who was vindicated for his long wait to endorse by becoming an impressive media magnet:

After backing his former rival for the Democratic nomination, by week's end Edwards was a dominant or significant figure in 10% of the campaign coverage, according to PEJ's Campaign Coverage Index for May 12-18. That is more coverage than the former senator managed to attract in three of the four weeks in January when he was still a candidate -- and more than he got the week he dropped out.

And in embracing Obama less than 24 hours after Clinton's big win in West Virginia, Edwards diverted media attention away from a discussion of renewed Clinton momentum and helped refocused the narrative on Obama's apparent inevitability.

In doing so, Edwards also helped Obama win the race for exposure last week. Overall, Obama was a significant or dominant newsmaker in 68% of the campaign coverage, well ahead of Clinton, who finished at 53%. And their coverage was very different. Despite her 41-point win in West Virginia, her narrative included considerable speculation about how long she would stay in the race and whether she might end up as Obama's vice president.

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