As he weighs a possible endorsement in the Democratic race, former Sen. John Edwards is as split as the party he once hoped to lead — and is seriously considering supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, despite the sharp criticism he leveled at her on the campaign trail, according to former aides and advisers.
In deciding between his one-time rivals, Edwards appears deeply divided. Several former advisers likened his thought process to a heart-versus-head split — with his heart favoring Sen. Barack Obama's strong message of change, and his head attracted to Clinton's tested nature and commitment to tough fights.
Though he sometimes aligned himself with Obama — and against Clinton — as a candidate, several Edwards campaign insiders say the former senator began to sour on Obama toward the end of his own campaign, and ultimately left the race questioning whether Obama had the toughness needed to prevail in a presidential race.[...]
He also appears to realize that endorsing Clinton would likely carry the most weight, since it would be more unexpected and would provide a jolt of energy to a campaign that is suffering a rough patch, particularly in the wake of Tuesday's election results, which saw Obama sweep Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.[...]
Another veteran member of Edwards' inner circle said the former candidate is approaching the possibility of an endorsement with a fresh mind. In reexamining both candidates, the former aide said, he is attracted not only to Clinton's policy portfolio, but also to her long track record as first lady and as a senator.
"He's now in a position where he's thinking, who's really ready to be president?" the veteran aide said. "I know that he believes she's going to do what she says he'll do. Not that that isn't the case with Obama, but there's more maturity there [with Clinton]."