Sunday, February 04, 2007

Surprise: Russert Doesn't Ignore Nevada

I just saw John Edwards on Meet the Press. That's the one Sunday morning show I do get to watch over here in Germany (it's on CNBC Europe) besides the overtly long and boring Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.

After Iraq and health care I was surprised that Russert turned his attention to the Nevada caucus and one of the main issues in Nevada (if not the main issue) - Yucca Mountain. (Russert did however ignore the Iowa issue - ethanol). He pointed out that Edwards cast differing votes in his Senate days on the use of Yucca Mountain as a national nuclear waste site. And, yes, Edwards did fall right into the 'I voted for it before I voted against it' trap.

Edward's current stance on the issue is good news for Nevada. He wants the nuclear waste to be stored near the nuclear reactors. Russert must have done his research this time around as he had yet another trap for Edwards - the nuclear power plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire. While this issue seems to strengthen Edwards' position in Nevada, it might cost him dearly not only in New Hampshire but also in Iowa and South Carolina, as they also have nuclear power plants and would have to store their own waste. His advantages in Iowa (Duane Arnold plant in Palo) and especially in South Carolina (4 plants - Catawba, H.B. Robinson near Hartsville, Oconee near Greenville, and Virgil C. Summer in Fairfield County). Considering that South Carolina is the third largest generator of nuclear energy in the United States this may just cancel out his native son advantage for good.

As for the other issues, Iraq dominated for the first half hour with Edwards being confronted by Russert with both his rhetoric on Iraq in 2002, which he regrets now, and Barack Obama's almost prophetic warning of this war at the same time. If this will remain the top issue for the next year, which seems very likely, both Edwards and Hillary Clinton will have serious problems in comparison to Obama. No wonder then, that both highlight their stance on universal health care.

Overall, Russert was pretty tough on Edwards. It will be interesting to see if he'll keep this up with Republican candidates in the coming months.

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