Tar Pit

Zengerle, Jason
March 2003
New Republic;3/10/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 9, p10
Offers observations on the methods used by the administration of United States President George W. Bush to address possible competition for the 2004 Presidential election from Democratic Senator John Edwards. John Kerry may have rushed to the head of the Democratic presidential pack. But, according to many White House observers, it's the other John--former trial lawyer and current North Carolina Senator John Edwards--whose candidacy keeps Bush strategist Karl Rove awake at night. Which is undoubtedly why President Bush is making such an issue out of medical malpractice lawsuits these days. Although Bush has been an outspoken supporter of tort reform ever since his days as governor of Texas, he seems to have recently developed a particular distaste for the exact type of lawsuits on which Edwards built his legal career. It has tapped Republican Representative Richard Burr to run for Edwards's Senate seat next year. First, it makes it harder for Edwards to tack left during the Democratic primaries: Even as he bashes Bush while stumping for primary votes in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, Edwards will be forced to guard his right flank more carefully back home--lest Burr paint him as a liberal out of step with North Carolina values. Conversely, Edwards's presidential campaign gives Burr a tremendous opening in the Senate race.


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