Vice Presidential Candidates Remain A Study In Contrasts
After John Kerry tapped him as his running mate, Democrats were hopeful John Edwards would provide a sunny, optimistic contrast with the oft dour Vice President Cheney. Yet as the campaign begins to heat up, it is Cheney, not Edwards, who is receiving praise for carrying out his role in the campaign. Knight Ridder reports Cheney has conducted "a carefully orchestrated cross-country swing," and his "low-key campaign style he comes across more as an avuncular professor with firm opinions than as a fiery partisan reinforces" his stolid image. Judging from "many voters' responses on the campaign trail, Cheney's searing indictment of Kerry is all the more effective delivered in that steady voice, devoid of any flashy rhetorical flourishes."
In contrast, Edwards has of late faced questions about his impact in the race. The Washington Post reports Democratic critics said Edwards "was not aggressive enough in defending Kerry and roughing up the Republicans." What he "doesn't do is go for the jugular, and mirror Cheney's role in the GOP campaign. The vice president energizes the base, talking about war, guns and abortion and making tough and often personal attacks against the Democrats." Knight Ridder reports "some Democrats worry that Edwards' tempered style may be depriving them of a weapon they need."
Perhaps as a consequence, Edwards has of late increased the frequency and volume of his criticism of the incumbents. Newsweek reports Edwards' stump speech "has gone from an easy-listening autobiographical commercial to a rat-a-tat indictment of the Bush administration," and at "every stop of a campaign swing through West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky last week, grateful Democrats practically cried with relief at the sight." For weeks, Democrats "have wondered where Edwards has been hiding."