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Trying to engage the leader

November 5, 2007 | 12:12 pm

There's an interesting mention here about John Edwards picking up another brick to hurl at frontrunner Hillary Clinton. He's already gone after her on her vote to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, and her position on ending the Iraq war.

The new issue is a trade agreement with Peru, which Edwards opposes in keeping with his longstanding opposition to NAFTA -- a linchpin of the Bill Clinton administration and an issue that has been opposed by organized labor.

But the interesting line in the ABC Political Radar blog is this one: "Edwards challenge of Clinton on Peru is the latest effort to make the Democratic frontrunner appear as if she considers herself above the issues."

It's an interesting strategy, but it's unclear whether it will have legs. Clinton has been trying to ignore the competition for the Democratic nomination, and the last thing she wants to do is elevate one of the other campaigns by engaging in direct give-and-take on specific issues. But as a candidate you can only coast so long on name recognition and imprecise language.

-- Scott Martelle