Brushing aside a distant third place finish in last week's New Hampshire primary, John Edwards' campaign insisted Monday that he is in the race for the long-haul, stressing that virtually all of the delegates to the Democratic National Committee remain up for grabs.
"Looking at the win-loss record doesn't give either the public or the voters an accurate picture of the race," said Chris Kofinis, Edwards' communications director. "We expect this race to narrow to us and one of the other celebrity candidates."
Despite being written off by a national press corps focused on the prize fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the Edwards camp argues that he remains viable in the Democratic race, in part due to the alleged vulnerabilities of his chief rivals.
"The two anointed celebrity candidates have flaws, deep flaws," said Edwards senior adviser Joe Trippi. Clinton has long been plagued by questions of electability and polarization, Trippi said. As for Obama, Trippi said the New Hampshire contest showed that Obama's reluctance to "fight" was a major weakness.
"If you're not going to fight the Clinton campaign," Trippi asked, "how are you going to fight the Republicans and what they are going to come after you with?"
The Edwards team downplayed the upcoming Super Tuesday contests on Feb. 5, when more than 20 states will go to the polls, pointing out that 45 percent of the delegates to this summer's Democratic nominating convention will still be up for grabs after the massive primary day.
But the campaign isn't taking Super Tuesday for granted. In a move that they hope will drum up new media attention for Edwards, his team unveiled a new fly-around that will take the candidate later this week to the key battleground states of California, Missouri, and Georgia.
Trippi said that the national media's focus on the two Democratic frontrunners did not bother Edwards' campaign, and argued that it is actually working to help their candidate.
"The more the press continues to focus on these two people and how its all about them, the rest of the country is saying please tell us there is somebody else," Trippi said.