The story

Former Sen. John Edwards dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Wednesday, leaving his voters up for grabs.

The race for the Democratic nomination is now down to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

"I think both candidates will benefit in the short term, but long-term, the candidate who talks about the plight of the poor, that champions the middle class, that talks about trade and health care ... will benefit from the support of John Edwards and, of course, the people who back him," CNN political analyst Donna Brazile said.

Senior Edwards aides said Edwards called Clinton and Obama to tell them he was considering dropping out of the race and asked them to make poverty a central issue of the general election and a future Democratic administration, something both agreed to do.

Edwards, who had collected 26 delegates, did not plan to endorse Clinton or Obama yet, but he may do so in the future, an aide said. Watch Edwards explain his decision Read full article »

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, John King and Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

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