“I’m telling you this is where this is going,” said Mr. Edwards. “And it is completely predictable.”
Mr. Edwards attributed his opponents’ lead in national polls to media coverage, and pleaded with his audience not to be swayed by their impressive fund-raising totals.
“It’s very important not to be deceived about what you see about a lot of national media attention and national Democratic primary voter polls, which are a direct reflection of whoever is getting publicity at that moment. That’s all they are,” Mr. Edwards said, adding that the only places voters actually had gotten to know the candidates were Iowa and New Hampshire, and to a lesser extent Nevada and South Carolina. “That’s just the reality of the way this works.”
And just as Mrs. Clinton often emphasizes what she calls her experience in the White House to demonstrate that she is the most prepared for the job, Mr. Edwards called on his own personal experience running for the White House to prove that he was the candidate who actually knew what it took to get there.
“In 2004 John Kerry won the nomination in Iowa,” he said. “I didn’t know it—painfully, I didn’t know it, since I finished second—but I thought it began a two-person race. What I didn’t understand is that there is such a wave of momentum behind the winner of the Iowa caucus that it is extraordinarily hard to turn it around.”
Mr. Edwards tried to convince his supporters and donors that despite his more modest fund-raising totals and his being behind in national surveys, his slight lead in Iowa polls put him in an enviable position.
“Just in case you don’t know, every campaign knows what I just said,” Mr. Edwards said about the difficulty of turning around after a defeat in Iowa. “This is not just me. If you want to know what people believe matters, look at where Obama and Hillary are spending their time and where they are spending their money. Follow the money and follow the candidates’ time and you will know what they think matters.”
He added that “both of them, by the way, have been in Iowa more than me in this campaign—they are living in Iowa and New Hampshire, because they understand that if you lose Iowa it is incredibly hard to turn it around.”
Mr. Edwards didn’t bring up the fact that he virtually took up residence in Iowa for months, if not years, before officially joining the race, helping him to build the small lead there that he still clings to over Mrs. Clinton in most polls.
“So this is what we are facing,” Mr. Edwards said. “We have to get past the emotion and the glitz and get to what matters.”
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