The closer we get to North Carolina's primary, the more anticipation there is likely to be that John Edwards would break his silence and come out with an endorsement of either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. As if to quash any growing speculation about that prospect, sources close to Edwards are expressing their doubts about a forthcoming endorsement.

From The Politico:

John Edwards is unlikely to endorse either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton before the nomination is decided, according to interviews with several members of the former candidate's inner circle.

At least three individuals who have recently spoken to Edwards expect that he will choose to stay out of the fight, though they warn that no one other than his wife, Elizabeth, can be certain of his thinking.

"My gut instinct, at this point: He's probably going to remain neutral and sort of try to play on that Al Gore status as party elder," said a former Edwards operative who is in regular contact with the former North Carolina senator and who asked that his name be withheld.
At the heart of this is the fact, as has been reported many times before, that Edwards is truly torn, something that no doubt makes many Obama supporters' heads explode.

"He is genuinely torn between the two," the adviser added. "On the big change, money and politics, he obviously agrees more with Barack. I think on the toughness and experience in life, making difficult decisions, I think he believes Hillary is more ready for the job. I also think that he thinks the way she has pursued his support has a level of seriousness he has not seen from the other guy." [...]

Edwards' former advisers say he has spoken frankly to both candidates, telling Obama "some of his concerns about his strength and experience and readiness for the fight," according to the account of one adviser.
Are those Clinton talking points I hear?

Contrary to the inevitability campaign Obama supporters are currently waging (what else is left after failing to win it outright on votes or to change the superdelegate rules in the middle of the game...) high level Democrats still have reservations about Barack Obama as the nominee and Obama supporters would be well-advised to accept and respect this fact. Where are all those superdelegates who were waiting in the wings to come out for Obama after March 4? If it's so impossible for Hillary Clinton to win, why aren't they ending this thing right now? John Edwards's refusal to lend his weight to Obama's candidacy at this point speaks volumes for both the real doubts some have about Obama as well as the continued viability of Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

Now, as The Politico article makes clear, anything can still happen as far as Edwards is concerned. Is it realistic for him to be completely absent from the North Carolina primary process? Might he appear at events of both candidates? Might he use the focus on his home state to raise awareness of an issue, such as poverty, that he'd like the candidates to focus more on? I'm personally not counting out John Edwards as a factor entirely, although it does appear as of now that we should not expect an endorsement any time soon.

MyDD :: Direct Democracy for People-Powered Politics