Running mate pick speaks for candidates

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Finally, it’s a four-man race. But what impact new Democratic vice presidential contender John Edwards brings to the race is certainly up for debate.

And a slow news day like Tuesday ensured that debate would dominate the cable airwaves, with conservative and liberal pundits arguing how the North Carolina senator and former presidential candidate will help John Kerry on the Democratic ticket.

For Democrats, Edwards &045;&045; a genial but fiery candidate who was born with little but made his own fortune &045;&045; is a shot in the arm for the often aloof Kerry.

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For Republicans, he’s a politician with little experience and a lot of personal wealth accrued through work as a trial lawyer.

Either way, his entry into the race makes for interesting political conjecture &045;&045; and it also raises the question about how important a vice presidential candidate is to a ticket.

While it can make for lots of talk among political junkies, such a choice doesn’t always carry a lot of weight with voters.

But the choice of running mate, for candidates in either party, says a lot about that person’s leadership style and what he hopes to bring to the White House. For a candidate who is not an incumbent, it is the one chance during a campaign to make the kind of decision a president will have to make.

Voters should pay attention to the running mates &045;&045; while it shouldn’t be the deciding factor in the race, it can help speak volumes about the man at the top of the ticket.