Former Senator John Edwards is probably my current top choice for the Democratic nod for President. Two chief reasons for this, and neither is related to his alma mater (UNC). One: he is a staunch supporter of the poor and working class in this country. Maybe an odd thing to say about a man who made millions as a trial lawyer--though not an odd thing to say about the son of a miner who worked hard to get through college and law school--but he is. Under Bush, and in fact since the republican takeover of congress in 1994, the wealthy in this country have had it great while the poor and working classes haven't even gotten a boost in crumbs from their plates. Poverty leads to crime, disease and poorer education, that last often leads to more poverty. Universal health care, functional social security, affordable higher education, and a better welfare/unemployment system are necessary. I believe that Edwards will work harder for those and other things to support average citizens than any of the other candidates (maybe save Richardson). That belief leads nicely to the second thing.
The second thing is a bit more gut less intellect, but I. believe. John. Edwards. speaks. for. me. For whatever reason, every time I see, hear, read about Edwards I get the feeling that if he and I spoke, that he'd listen to my ideas, give back some of his own and that we'd get along well. More, if we had gone through school together I feel as though we would have ended up friends. It's that projected persona that resonates with people. Many celebrities have it. Regan had it. Bill Clinton has it. Obama may have it. Edwards definitely does. I still don't know if he'll get my vote in the end, and it isn't his to loose, not yet, but John Edwards is currently my top Democrat candidate for president.
I should note that Edwards also voted for the war, but that is often seen as less relevant. I'm not sure entirely why. Maybe because he was willing early on to say it was a mistake, and not try and pass it off as a good vote that the president screwed up by mishandling. Maybe because he had been a senator for less than one year before the vote and would only remain one for a total of two years. That vote, however is the reason that he is not a strong favorite of mine, and could easily be replaced at the top by one of the others mentioned.