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Moderate Stance Gives John Edwards Advantage in Presidential Race, Duke Expert Says

Contact: Sally Hicks, Office of News & Communications, 919-681-8055,; Kerry Haynie, 919-660-4366, 919-544-4375,; both with Duke University


DURHAM, N.C., Dec. 29 /Standard Newswire/ -- John Edwards' role as the leading moderate among Democrats who are expected to run for president gives him an advantage with voters, says a Duke University political scientist who specializes in African-American and Southern politics.


"As it stands now, he appears to be the candidate who is positioned more at the center of the party, and I think that's where most of the base is, where the majority of the country is," says Kerry L. Haynie, associate chair of the political science department. "He's well-positioned. Can he take advantage of the position? That's the question."


Haynie also says the former vice-presidential candidate's decision to announce "a grass-roots, ground-up campaign" in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans is an effective strategy.


"I think it's very effective, and I think it reflects who he really is. He's from humble beginnings, a working class background," Haynie says. Edwards, who became a multimillionaire trial lawyer, is the son of a textile mill worker.


"His wealth is self-made, and exemplifies the American dream of becoming successful through hard work. We don't mind wealth if it's made the old-fashioned way -- if you earn it."