No Liberals Here: John Edwards Just an "Economic Populist" with an Edge

Is the Times trying out a new code phrase to avoid applying the kiss-of-death term "liberal" to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards?

Monday's off-lead story by political reporter John Broder admirably avoided the L-word ("Familiar Face, But a New Tone To the Message - Edwards Adopts Harder Edge for '08 Campaign").

As a U.S. senator representing North Carolina, Edwards compiled a solidly liberal voting record and was even more liberal in his "Two Americas" rhetoric as John Kerry's vice presidential running mate. Yesterday he called for raising taxes on those making over $200,000 a year to pay for health insurance for the uninsured, and he has what Broder called "a solid financing base in trial lawyers and anti-war Internet activists." But that simply made him a "harder-edged economic populist" at the Times, not a liberal.

Broder did identify Edwards' new campaign manager, David Bonior (the fiery ex-Congressman from Michigan), as an "unreconstructed pro-labor liberal."