William Safire has an ‘interview’ with Richard Nixon in today’s New York Times. Speaking from Purgatory, Nixon is his usual wily old self. What does John Edwards’ victory in South Carolina mean? ‘Southern charm sells in South Carolina,’ replies Nixon.

What is Edwards’ greatest liability? He’s a slick lawyer whose wealth came partly from higher insurance premiums paid by us all, says Nixon. Nixon has a surprisingly favorable view of Kerry,whom he admires for making a comeback. ‘I like a good comeback story, as you know,’ he tells his former speechwriter. He praises Kerry for his gravitas, adding ‘and it doesn’t matter that he has a face like a horse.’ 

I’ve noticed that media obviously would love John Edwards because he shares their views, might be a more durable candidate in a general election, and because (understandably) they want a good battle. Being totally dependent on the three major networks for my warped view of the world, I missed Chris Matthews playing softball with Edwards last night. John Ellis posted Matthews’ question, though: ‘Is it just a matter of having people see how good you are, Senator?’ 

But back to Nixon. The man who “lost” the presidential debate to JFK because of a five o’clock shadow is particularly insightful on a possible presidential debate between GWB and Kerry. Nixon says that Kerry would win on the points and Bush on ‘personality, optimism and all that stuff Reagan and Kennedy had down pat.’  Cheney would wipe the floor with Edwards.