In today's Washington Post, Chris Cillizza takes stock in the effect that political consultant Joe Trippi has been having over at the Edwards campaign, and generally gives Trippi a positive review. Trippi's right in line with Edwards' "outsider" status, accoding to Cillizza, and is largely responsible for "the new tone to [the Edwards] campaign. "Bold," "aggressive," and with the support and trust of Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, Trippi gets the credit for a "new John Edwards."
Certainly, Trippi's handiwork has been on display since he came on board with Edwards in April of 2007. His "Hair" themed YouTube ad was one of the highlights of the CNN/YouTube Debate, and Elizabeth Edwards' decision to take the fight to Ann Coulter on Hardball was apparently engineered Trippi. Yet there are critical contrasts to Trippi's previous body of work that Cillizza fails to note. Going into Iowa in 2004, Trippi had Howard Dean positioned as a frontrunner and had won him the endorsement of the entire Service Employees International Union--neither which is true for Edwards.
Moreover, while Cillizza gets Carter Eskew on the record, crediting Trippi with "tun[ing Edwards] into the anger and passion of the Net roots," one has to wonder why Trippi's getting credit for galvanizing something already well galvanized. Edwards has long been a darling of the net roots and the lefty blogosphere. One key indicator of this: Edwards consistent top-line finish in the DailyKos straw poll.
As the chart indicates, the net-roots have long been a force aligned with Edwards' campaign. And actually, that graphic is doubly telling--you'll note that his support in that straw poll peaked the month Trippi came to the campaign. It has since declined.
The Dodd surge, by the way? Lest you think that maybe the Ron Paul supporters just like to vote in other polls to stay frosty, that's the net roots showing their love for Dodd's vow to "put a hold on and filibuster" the Senate telecom immunity FISA bill. Not a bad way to galvanize the net roots, either.
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