According to the Chicago Tribune, John Edwards is playing a political version of "You Bet Your Life" in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Unable to match Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in fundraising, Edwards has placed all his chips on the only bet available to him: a full-scale, grass-roots push in the two earliest primary states in hopes that success there will vault him to the nomination.
Rivals call it a long shot, particularly because Edwards' decision last week to accept federal matching funds will limit how much he can spend in any given state. But the former North Carolina senator and his campaign say they have the cash, the message and, above all, the right kind of electoral calendar to pull it off.
Edwards' strategy contrasts with that of Obama, who has begun to hire campaign staff in California, Missouri and other states that vote in early February.
Obama and Edwards are vying to be the chief Democratic alternative to Clinton, who leads the field in national polls. Their competing strategies reflect their competing strengths as candidates -- and different predictions of how the most compressed primary schedule in presidential history will affect the nomination battle.
Regardless of the strategies employed by the candidates, what is true is that voters, particularly national voters, tune in as the early caucuses begin. As has been seen time and again, where people are in October does not reliably prediction of where they will be in January and beyond.