A Presidential Geography Lesson

When John Edwards announced his candidacy on Dec. 28 in New Orleans' Katrina-ravaged Ninth Ward, the locale underscored his central theme: a 21st century war on poverty. Geography often sends a message. Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., and some saw this as a cynical appeal to white Southerners. In '92 Ross Perot declared on the set of Larry King Live, in keeping with his spontaneous nature. Al Gore tried out Carthage, Tenn., in 2000, but his home state ultimately rejected him. Contenders for 2008 will want to stress their strengths, and TIME has some backdrop suggestions for...

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