Paul Krugman has a post on his NY Times blog today citing Jeralyn at Talk Left on why John Edwards hasn’t endorsed either Clinton or Obama:
So appalled was Edwards at Clinton’s gaudy corporatism—her defense of the role of lobbyists, her suckling at the teats of the pharmaceutical and defense industries—that he’d essentially called her corrupt
But then why didn’t he endorse Obama after dropping out?
According to a Democratic strategist unaligned with any campaign but with knowledge of the situation gleaned from all three camps, the answer is simple: Obama blew it. Speaking to Edwards on the day he exited the race, Obama came across as glib and aloof. His response to Edwards’s imprecations that he make poverty a central part of his agenda was shallow, perfunctory, pat. Clinton, by contrast, engaged Edwards in a lengthy policy discussion. Her affect was solicitous and respectful. When Clinton met Edwards face-to-face in North Carolina ten days later, her approach continued to impress; she even made headway with Elizabeth. Whereas in his Edwards sit-down, Obama dug himself in deeper, getting into a fight with Elizabeth about health care, insisting that his plan is universal (a position she considers a crock), high-handedly criticizing Clinton’s plan (and by extension Edwards’s) for its insurance mandate.
The Plank has more on the Elizabeth Edwards connection to John Edwards reticence to endorse:
…the idea that Elizabeth Edwards would get into a heated discussion with Obama over health care policy rings true. She is a well-known health care wonk. Just this weekend, as a matter of fact, she gave the keynote address at this year’s annual conference for the Association of Health Care Journalists–in which she offered a blistering, dead-on critique of John McCain’s health care plan.
During the campaign, Elizabeth had played a key role in shaping her husband’s health care policy. She lobbied hard for a single-payer plan, according to my sources. And when that didn’t fly, she pressed for the most comprehensive plan possible. That’s one reason the official Edwards plan–like the one Clinton eventually endorsed–included a requirement that everybody obtain insurance.
So it makes sense that Elizabeth would consider Obama’s arguments–that mandates for everybody aren’t essential right away–a “crock.” And given her passion for the subject, it also seems plausible that she’d make a big deal out of it.
On Saturday, “Pressed by reporters to detail any endorsement plans, Edwards declined to even say if he would endorse a candidate before North Carolina’s May 6 primary.”
“When I have something to say, I’ll let you know,” he said.
I’m not holding my breath on an Edwards endorsement of either Clinton or Obama at this point, but if he were I’d tend to think he’ll veer towards Clinton because of her stance on health care and the economy, which is closer to Edwards own position on both issues.