Edwards' Strategy May Look Beyond Nomination

It is one of John Edwards' (search) favorite campaign lines — one he repeats at virtually every campaign stop.

"The South is not George Bush's backyard, it is my backyard, and I will beat George Bush in my backyard," Edwards frequently tells supporters at his rallies. 

But if the polls are right, Edwards is about to get soundly thrashed by John Kerry (search) in the Southern states of Tennessee and Virginia. According to the latest Zogby polls, Edwards is running a distant second to Kerry in both states, but he is also ahead of the rest of the pack.

On the campaign trail in Norfolk, Va., on Monday, Edwards, a former trial lawyer, sounded like a man who would be pleased with a number two showing.

Some experts suggest the North Carolina senator's positive attitude has more to do with successfully showcasing his abilities than winning the Democratic presidential nomination. The safe message and graceful delivery could be Edwards' way of positioning himself to be number two on the Democratic ticket.  

"If you look at John Edwards, a 50-year-old guy who has given up his Senate seat, [he] clearly seems to enjoy this presidential politics business and doesn't seem to me to look like a guy who wants to go back to arguing accident cases before a jury," said Fox News political analyst Susan Estrich.

Edwards may be playing it safe in the number two position to come out untarnished, a good image to have when Democrats need someone to step up to the plate and run for vice president.

Click here to watch this fair and balanced report by Fox News' Brian Wilson.