Analysis: Change vs. experience could be key to 2008 race
But the war in Iraq and the rise of global terrorism make for an anxious electorate and could turn this into a "war" election, one like the campaigns of 1944 and 2004 when voters found comfort in the most experienced candidates.
Change versus experience? The White House will likely go to the man or woman who speaks best to both.
"You can't separate them. I think (voters) want both," said John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004 who is running for president in 2008.
"I think they're looking for change -- serious change, substantive change -- and I think they will have to feel like whoever the candidate is is prepared to be president of the United States," Edwards said in an interview.
"I will say I don't think they will judge that based on a resume. I think that's a judgment they will make based on what they see and hear -- the demeanor, personal strength (and) those kinds of things."
Edwards was quick to add that last part because he is more of a "change" candidate than one of experience. Despite this being his second national election, the former North Carolina trial lawyer has little in the way of a political resume outside a single term in the Senate.
Fellow Democrat Barack Obama also is more change than experience. Just three years removed from the Illinois Legislature, Obama rocketed to the top tier of the Democratic presidential race by presenting himself as an outsider who could transform government crippled by corruption, polarization and "a smallness of our politics."
"The time for that politics is over," Obama said when he announced his candidacy February 10. "It's time to turn the page."
The message clearly resonates. The Illinois senator raised more money for the nomination fight than any other candidate while drawing huge crowds and an Internet following.
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