06/12/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Should Hillary Blame Elizabeth Edwards for Dashing Her White House Dream?; Oh, and "My Dog's Smarter Than Yours"

Is Hillary Clinton the one who should be really angry at Edwards -- Elizabeth, I mean, not John?
Hawking her new book, Resilence,
Elizabeth Edwards admitted in interviews with Oprah
and with Matt Lauer
that she learned that John had been unfaithful soon after he announced that he was running for the 2008 Democratic nomination, but went along with his argument that he should stay in the race for the nomination.

Not only did she go along, she was a key adviser. In a New York Times story that appeared one week after Edwards came in second in the Iowa caucuses, reporter Julie Bosman described Elizabeth as "aggressively involved in the campaign's daily decision-making and, despite her incurable cancer, [she] appears as determined as he to press ahead."

Had Elizabeth told her husband to drop out of the race after he confessed to a single night of infidelity -- had she told him that she would not go on the road promoting him as a wonderful father and husband and the best man to be President -- the race for the nomination would have been from the start between Obama and Hillary.

Would Hillary, who split the vote with Edwards in the Iowa caucuses on Janaury 3, 2008 -- the first contest of the long race -- have won Iowa had Edwards dropped out? Edwards barely grabbed second place there. (Obama had 37.6 percent of the delegates; Edwards, 29.9; and Hillary, 29.5.)

Iowa was the signal victory that gave Obama a massive push out of the gate on the long road to the White House. His victory in the small and exceedingly white state showed that Barack Obama could win white voters and that he could beat Hillary, whose last name back then might as well have been "inevitable." (She promoted the name "Clinton" sporadically, deciding as often as not that her husband was a liability.)

Then there's Vice President Joe Biden's funny and, because it's Joe Biden, loopy comment to school kids at Bellevue Elementary School in Syracuse. (The vice president, who graduated from Syracuse University College of Law in 1968, had been the University's 2009 commencement speaker, so he was in the neighborhood and his first wife had taught at the school.)

According to Christian Science Monitor reporter Jimmy Orr, in answer to a child's question about whether he had ever petted a dig, Biden said that he has a dog who lives with him who is "The smartest, coolest dog in the world....The new dog I have is only five months old and his name is Champ." But then, being Joe Biden and probably weirdly envious that Champ did not get anywhere near as much media attention as the Obamas' new dog, Bo, Biden added,
"My dog is smarter than Bo, his dog....I think so. Yeah, I do."

I am a long-time Biden watcher -- since he ran for the 1988 democratic presidential nomination and had to drop out amid charges of plagiarism.

That exchange, in all its naked neediness -- and, yes, I can see that the Vice President might have been kidding -- reminded me of this long-ago Biden campaign trail exchange. I'm taking the details from a piece I wrote that was published in the Chicago Sun-Times on August 26, 2008):

On April 3, 1987, at a campaign stop in Claremont, New Hampshire, a voter named Frank innocently asked Biden what law school he attended and how he performed there.

"I think I have a much higher IQ than you do," replied Biden.

He told the astonished man that while he admittedly did not do well his first year, he did much better his second and third years and ended up in the top half of his class. He later added, "I'd be delighted to sit back and compare my IQ to yours if you'd like, Frank."

He did not graduate from law school in the top half of his class. He graduated 76th out of 85 -- and he was near the bottom of his class all three years. In addition Biden got in trouble during his first year. He lifted verbatim for a paper he was writing five pages from the Fordham Law Review. He was given an "F" in the course. He managed to avoid being bounced from law school, retook the course and earned a B.