MLK III stiffs SEIU's candidate

On a strange day in Atlanta, where snow actually descended from the Georgia sky, the press corps following John Edwards was dealt a slightly strange moment itself.

Following a rally at a local IBEW union hall, Edwards made a stop at the King Center, a memorial dedicated to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We were told that Edwards would be meeting with Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King III, but no cameras or reporters were allowed inside. A campaign official said Edwards and King discussed the legacy of Dr. King and “their shared commitment to fighting poverty.”

Meanwhile, the press sat outside in an idling van, refreshing Web browsers for Nevada caucus results. Suddenly an Edwards staffer dashed out and urged us to grab our cameras because Mr. King could be accompanying Edwards outside to his van. It would be a great photo-op not only for us, but for the campaign as well.

We hustled out of our van as quickly as possible to get into position at the bottom of the stairs. Moments later, Edwards emerged – alone – and stood briefly outside the entrance. Without explanation, Edwards turned and walked back inside. Several seconds later Edwards walked back out and made his way into the van. MLK III was nowhere in sight.

Edwards campaign spokesman Mark Kornblau apologized to us for not delivering the big photo-op and we hurriedly loaded back up into the van.

On any other day it would have been a meaningless episode. But on a day when the former North Carolina senator struggled to pull 4% of the vote in Nevada’s caucuses, a simple stroll from a building entrance to a waiting van struck a poignant – if not symbolic – note.


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