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In a campaign, the first rule when you change strategy is: Don’t admit you’re changing strategy.

But when a campaign dramatically changes what it’s saying, it’s changing strategy. Witness John Edwards and Beverly Perdue this week.

Edwards introduced a new stump speech in Iowa: “America Rising.” It’s a return to the positive, optimistic Edwards who nearly won Iowa in 2004.

I have no inside info. But I’ll bet that, when the inevitable insider books are written, they will ascribe the shift to Edwards going with pollster Harrison Hickman’s advice at the end in Iowa, rather than consultant Joe Trippi’s.

With Obama rising and Hillary panicking, and those two attacking each other, Edwards has to find a gap in the line if he’s going to pick up yardage. He may be more comfortable with what worked for him in 1998 and 2004 than with what he has tried much of this year.

As for Perdue, her campaign struck back against Richard Moore’s erosive attacks on her character. She tried to tie Moore to the Randy Parton debacle in Roanoke Rapids.

It’s a stretch. I doubt that dog will hunt.

But it’s a sign Moore’s attacks are taking a toll. And Perdue believes she has to start firing back. But her aim is off.

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