I hope everyone is looking on today as practice for next Tuesday because there is a lot going on in the race today.
The big news that starting coming out around 9am this morning (At least that's when a student, looking up from his laptop during the beginning moments of class told me.) was that John Edwards was going to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination. We are taught to never say never in politics (and John McCain's wild ride on the Republican side is proof of that), but I took Edwards and his campaign at their word when they said that they were in the race for the long haul (even when that message turned to being a kingmaker at the convention). Edwards' reluctance to cede the race to John Kerry in 2004 seemed to back that up. So, color me surprised to see Edwards bow out now. There is no endorsement planned, but if you believe what some of the pundits are writing (that Edwards takes away from Obama's ability to win), then Edwards dropping out now makes a tiny bit more sense.
Drop outs abound! On the GOP side, Giuliani's failed Florida strategy (skipping races rarely works) seems to have him not only on the cusp of getting out of the race but also of endorsing John McCain. Nothing is official yet, but with a debate tonight at the Ronald Reagan Library in California, Giuliani's absence would go a long way toward confirming the speculation. The two (Giuliani and McCain) have essentially switched places in this race. Giuliani has gone from national frontrunner over the summer to being out of the race before it even got to what were perceived as his strongest areas; the delegate-rich states of Super Tuesday. McCain however has gone from bottoming out over the summer to a Lazarus-style return in capturing New Hampshire, South Carolina and now Florida to become the party's frontrunner.
Now the drop out and endorsement are official.
Also, I caught this on NPR today. You'd expect this kind of "using his words against him" comparison on the Daily Show. Giuliani's book comes back to haunt him. "Giuliani Failed to Heed His Own Leadership Advice"
Incidentally, that debate will be on CNN and cnn.com tonight starting at 8pm (which is interesting considering that that is during rush hour for California voters). The Democrats (sans Edwards) will debate from California the following night as well. That one also starts at 8pm(ET).
What does all this mean heading into next week's extravaganza? McCain looks to be in good shape, but you can't discount the impact of Romney's warchest. As we've moved to a national focus, this thing has moved on to the air war and that is where Romney could have a potential advantage. In the Democratic race, the constant flip flopping of victories between Obama and Clinton means that the race is in a basic dead heat moving into Super Tuesday. So which one has an advantage? Well, the release of the numbers from the FEC reports that are due tomorrow (Jan. 31) may give us an eye into who has more cash on hand and who has the advantage.