Faced with what he always knew would be a tough race against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination and now the challenge of convincing his party that he is also a better alternative than Senator Barack Obama, Mr. Edwards is trying to muscle his way past them and the rest of the field, in part by staking out early and provocative positions on the big issues.Although the little bit I have seen of Edwards since his campaign began has not impressed me as positively as he did in 2004, I wouldn't count him out of this race yet. If he can truly show himself to be an alternative to the status quo and offer real and viable alternatives to the current path, both in Iraq and at home, he might have a chance.
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Mr. Edwards, his party’s nominee for vice president in 2004, has taken on a sharper tone since that campaign ended in defeat.
He is campaigning as a harder-edged economic populist now, which he says represents more a change in tone than in substance. He says he is both more electable and more authentic than Mrs. Clinton, and more experienced than Mr. Obama.
[. . .]
He is offering proposals on the war, health care and the environment that are more audacious and more specific than those of his rivals.
And I really don't yet understand what all the hype is over Obama. I know he became very popular after his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, but he's really just as new and inexperienced as Edwards, isn't he? What makes him so much more special?