The third in a series of spin room interviews following this weekend’s debates.


MANCHESTER, N.H. 1:40 a.m. — John Edwards may seem like the third wheel in the Democratic showdown between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton LAW ’73. But even so, that’s no reason to give up, says his wife, Elizabeth.

“John is in this race to the convention,” she told reporters this weekend, shooting down rumors that his campaign could fold in the coming weeks if he cannot break into the Obama-Clinton pantheon.

Why? Simple, Edwards said.

“His message is important enough,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean getting that message out has been easy.Edwards recalled watching television in spare moments during campaign trips in recent weeks, only to see advertisement after advertisement for Clinton and Obama, both of whom outspent Edwards by a factor of two at the end of the last quarter.

But as long as her husband can “remain in the scrum,” as she put it, he can fight on, she said.

Eventually, she hopes, he will gain the attention his candidacy warrants. His “personal passion,” she said, is what will make a difference in voters’ minds. Edwards thought that much showed through in Saturday night’s Democratic debate.

“Among all the candidates, there was one candidate who you saw had in him a sort of fire to make sure these things get done,” she said.

That candidate was John Edwards.

“Without that fire,” she added, “I’m not convinced.”

— Thomas Kaplan