Has John Edwards endorsement of Barack Obama moved the spotlight on the election away from West Virginia? It seems as if the timing of the endorsement was an example of how the game of politics is played.

There is a group of people in this country with the deliberate intention of directing the outcome of the presidential election whether or not the majority of West Virginians like it or not. Edwards’ move was perfectly timed to help solidify support for Obama.

The AP called Obama “the party's likely presidential nominee … even as Hillary Rodham Clinton refuses to give up her long-shot candidacy.”

Clinton is far from a long shot. The first candidate to drop out was the long shot. Big Brown didn’t pull up for the Kentucky Derby win until well into the last few furlongs of back stretch.

The AP called Edwards’ move a “surprise endorsement.” It appeared more like a calculated endorsement. One prominent West Virginian appearing at Hillary’s side on TV the other night sure did resemble Truman Chafin.

The AP said that “The West Virginia outcome highlighted Obama's challenge in winning over ‘Hillary Democrats’ — white, working-class voters who also supported Edwards in significant numbers before he exited the race in late January.”

One thing for sure, if Hillary does make the nomination, Edwards won’t be on the ticket. He might have plenty of time to get another $400 haircut. John Morello would cut his hair and give him a close shave for that much money.

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Let’s examine what a few major newspapers have said about the WV primary, Hillary and Obama: The Washington Post described Hillary’s win as adding “fresh ammunition to her claim that she is better positioned than Obama to capture critical swing states in November.”

The Post cautioned that her win has probably come too late to have a significant impact on the battle but would reopen the conversation about who is the stronger Democrat.

The Boston Globe carried the headline “Clinton crushes Obama.” Bill Clinton is not going to give up on Hillary’s campaign “until the last dog dies.”

We are going to get a real education in Politics 400 between now and the convention. Remember what state turned the tide for John F. Kennedy? West Virginia may still be the deciding vote for the next president.

Tick’em off and they may vote for McCain. “West Virginians, you see, feel they're underdogs — almost always fighting an uphill battle.” (Quote on WVU football attributed to Dan Miller, West Virginia Coal Association.)

Either way, WV may be the deciding vote.

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The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce bet $593,870 on a losing horse. The hard earned money of merchants and other members of the Chamber went down the drain in an attempt to promote and resurrect the image of Elliott “Spike” Maynard.

Maynard probably thought that his fiercest competition was coming from Bob Bastress and Menis Ketchum, especially since Margaret Workman ran a low budget campaign and remained ladylike. Workman’s obvious appeal was probably underestimated.

There is no doubt that Workman worked on Maynard like Fleecy White on a stain. West Virginians like the underdog. Workman capitalized on that and played here cards perfectly. That lady “ain’t no underdog.” She led the pack.

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Republican candidates were at the Mercer County Courthouse last Tuesday night listening to primary election returns.

John Shott, the clear Republican favorite in the 24th District House race was pleased with the support he received from his party and crossover independent voters. Shott held a commanding lead over the other candidates.

Steve Mancini watched the returns and his campaign fold from his vantage point in the jury box. But look for Mancini to return to the political arena in the future.

Mike Porter was there enjoying his win and expressing his appreciation for his supporters. Several other Republican community leaders were also on hand to watch the results.

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There you have it, a few words on politics and items of interest to the Virginias. I hope you have blue skies all day long.

Wilson Butt, a Bluefield resident, is a retired Department of Highways official.

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