Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voter's sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.
The two-time White House candidate notified a close circle of senior advisers that he planned to make the announcement at a 1 p.m. EST event in New Orleans that had been billed as a speech on poverty, according to two of his advisers. The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole the spotlight from the beginning -- Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
I'll update this development with more news and my thoughts on what this means in the race as soon as I have time, but initially my reaction is that this is good news for Democrats in that it will allow voters to focus on the two most-likely candidates, and will let us see a truer depiction of which of those two holds the most sway among Democrats, and represents the ideals we want to carry forth and represent us in November's general election.
His endorsement will carry votes, and delegates, so that will be a closely-watched aspect of his withdrawal.
Update: An article on Edwards's withdrawal in the New York Times reports that Clinton has been reaching out to Edwards quite a bit recently.
Since the New Hampshire primary, Mrs. Clinton has reached out to Mr. Edwards aggressively, through telephone calls and private meetings. Mr. Obama has spent far less time courting Mr. Edwards, according to people familiar with the talks.
Update II: Hillary Clinton comments on Edwards withdrawal in a live interview this morning with KCRA-TV, Sacramento, California..
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