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Inside Politics

Edwards fights off Kerry 'coronation'

Sen. John Edwards:
Sen. John Edwards: "We're going to have a campaign and an election, not a coronation."

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CNN's Judy Woodruff on Sen. John Kerry's wins in Tennessee and Virginia.
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Despite finishing second, John Edwards says he's excited about his prospects.
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(CNN) -- Sen. John Edwards told supporters Tuesday that the results of the Virginia and Tennessee primaries show there will be an election, not a "coronation," now that he is projected to place second in Virginia.

The North Carolina senator mentioned Tuesday's primaries in a single sentence when he spoke to supporters in Wisconsin, which holds its primary February 17.

"The voters who voted today in the election are saying to the country that we're going to have a campaign and an election, not a coronation," Edwards said.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was projected to sweep both primaries, bringing his wins to 12 states with losses in just two.

Edwards won his native state of South Carolina February 3. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark won Oklahoma in a tight race with Edwards the same day.

On Tuesday, Clark and Edwards were again locked in a tight race but this time for second place in Tennessee.

On CNN's "Larry King Live," Edwards said he believes the race is now between himself and Kerry, who has held momentum as the front-runner since Iowa's January 19 caucuses.

"I think the race is clearly narrowing. If you look at the results in Tennessee and Virginia tonight and look at the results of the week before where I won in South Carolina and I beat Sen. Kerry in Oklahoma, this is becoming very focused," Edwards said. "He's in front and I'm the underdog. We're going to have a tough contest here in Wisconsin but this is going to go on for weeks to come."

Edwards said he has the resources and money to continue the campaign.

He told King that despite the tough race he faces against Kerry, there is a legitimate chance for success.

"Remember it was a little over a month ago, Larry, that all the pundits on your show said it looks like Gov. [Howard] Dean's got this thing wrapped up. It's been about five weeks since then and look what's happened. We've had somebody who was the presumed favorite already who's clearly not any longer and that could happen again," Edwards said. "The American people want to see this campaign play itself out and I feel very strong about our position right now."


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