If the Edwards Scandal had broken before Iowa

Hillary Clinton's ex-Communications Director Howard Wolfson gives voice to a theme I've seen on a few liberal sites since the Edward's scandal saw light; if it had been revealed in November instead of August, would Hillary be the nominee?

"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," Howard Wolfson told ABCNews.com in an interview released Monday, because internal campaign polling showed "our voters and Edwards voters were the same people. They were older, pro-union. Not all, but maybe two-thirds of them would have been for us and we would have barely beaten Obama."

Two months after Edwards first denied rumors of the affair, Barack Obama's win in the Iowa caucuses - and Clinton's third-place showing behind Edwards - fundamentally altered the shape of the race.


"Any of the campaigns that would have tried to push that [rumor] would have been burned by it," said Wolfson, who said he did not understand why, in his view, the national media had not aggressively reported the story. "I can't say I understand the rules of the media and I'm not sure they do either."

Clinton officials have long blamed the media for her failure to live up to pre-vote expectations.

The facts are pretty compelling. If Hillary had won Iowa the entire dynamic of the primary races would have been changed. Obama would have been seen as a good candidate but unable to overcome the Clinton machine.

This theme would have been driven home by Clinton's win in New Hampshire the following week. In fact, it probably wouldn't have been as close as it ended up being. The scenario continues with Obama's last stand in South Carolina and the probability he would not have had the cash he had because he won Iowa. The result would have been a much closer race with the possibility of Hillary eking out a narrow win in SC thanks to a lower than expected African American turnout. Even if Obama had won, Bill Clinton's comparison of Obama with Jesse Jackson would have rung much truer and hence, not damaged the campaign as much down the road.

Super Tuesday then becomes a walk for Hillary - just as they always planned it - and she clinches the nomination a few weeks later in Texas.

Could the media have reported on the Edwards affair earlier? With the only source being the National Enquirer (some beat reporters had heard rumors but certainly not credible enough to make such a serious charge) the entire mainstream press took a dive and ignored it.

An interesting thought experiment is to substitute the name "Edwards" and put "Romney" or "McCain" in his place. What then, oh scribes of the MSM? Would you have felt it was "The American People's Right To Know" and plastered the scandal all over the papers, assigned 3 or 4 reporters to dig out every salacious detail?

We'll never know, will we?

What we do know is that Obama is the nominee and that Hillary, derailed in Iowa, lost because she ran a lousy campaign next to Obama's. But the tantalizing story is thinking of Obama as the underdog. Just how great would his campaign have been without all that cash flowing in as a result of his win in the Iowa caucuses?

Nope. We'll never know.

Hillary Clinton's ex-Communications Director Howard Wolfson gives voice to a theme I've seen on a few liberal sites since the Edward's scandal saw light; if it had been revealed in November instead of August, would Hillary be the nominee?

"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," Howard Wolfson told ABCNews.com in an interview released Monday, because internal campaign polling showed "our voters and Edwards voters were the same people. They were older, pro-union. Not all, but maybe two-thirds of them would have been for us and we would have barely beaten Obama."

Two months after Edwards first denied rumors of the affair, Barack Obama's win in the Iowa caucuses - and Clinton's third-place showing behind Edwards - fundamentally altered the shape of the race.


"Any of the campaigns that would have tried to push that [rumor] would have been burned by it," said Wolfson, who said he did not understand why, in his view, the national media had not aggressively reported the story. "I can't say I understand the rules of the media and I'm not sure they do either."

Clinton officials have long blamed the media for her failure to live up to pre-vote expectations.

The facts are pretty compelling. If Hillary had won Iowa the entire dynamic of the primary races would have been changed. Obama would have been seen as a good candidate but unable to overcome the Clinton machine.

This theme would have been driven home by Clinton's win in New Hampshire the following week. In fact, it probably wouldn't have been as close as it ended up being. The scenario continues with Obama's last stand in South Carolina and the probability he would not have had the cash he had because he won Iowa. The result would have been a much closer race with the possibility of Hillary eking out a narrow win in SC thanks to a lower than expected African American turnout. Even if Obama had won, Bill Clinton's comparison of Obama with Jesse Jackson would have rung much truer and hence, not damaged the campaign as much down the road.

Super Tuesday then becomes a walk for Hillary - just as they always planned it - and she clinches the nomination a few weeks later in Texas.

Could the media have reported on the Edwards affair earlier? With the only source being the National Enquirer (some beat reporters had heard rumors but certainly not credible enough to make such a serious charge) the entire mainstream press took a dive and ignored it.

An interesting thought experiment is to substitute the name "Edwards" and put "Romney" or "McCain" in his place. What then, oh scribes of the MSM? Would you have felt it was "The American People's Right To Know" and plastered the scandal all over the papers, assigned 3 or 4 reporters to dig out every salacious detail?

We'll never know, will we?

What we do know is that Obama is the nominee and that Hillary, derailed in Iowa, lost because she ran a lousy campaign next to Obama's. But the tantalizing story is thinking of Obama as the underdog. Just how great would his campaign have been without all that cash flowing in as a result of his win in the Iowa caucuses?

Nope. We'll never know.