Yesterday, John Edwards announced his candidacy for President while wearing blue jeans. While I could be wrong, I'm quite certain that this is the first time a candidate has done this. Dan Balz from the Washington Post covered the innovative announcement.
In the article, he notes the non-traditional approach to Edwards' announcement is a sign of the evolution of Presidential Politics.
The announcement also highlighted the changing shape of political communication. Edwards had no prepared text, spoke briefly and took a few questions from reporters. But before that, he had declared his candidacy with a video posted through his campaign Web site on YouTube, with an e-mail sent overnight to supporters and with five interviews on morning television shows.
Indeed, John Edwards is off to an interesting start. Before announcing, he spent several hours cleaning up debris in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. We certainly haven't seen any of the other candidates getting their hands dirty via manual labor and I doubt we will. This sends a powerful message that will surely resonate with the American public.
With the President's approval rating stuck in the thirties, it is widely understood that America is in quite a mess. Between Iraq and the deficit created by a punch-drunk Republican Congress, the next President will have one heck of a challenge from day one. To see that John Edwards is willing to roll up his sleeves and physically do the work in New Orleans that this administration has failed to do is a powerfully symbolic image. It shows that he is up for the task.
It is also wildly refreshing to see a different tone and approach. After eight years of arrogance it may be exactly what the nation wants.