John Edwards Makes Campaign Stop
Democrat candidate for president John Edwards and his supporters were in Emmetsburg on New Year’s Eve to garner interest in Edwards’ bid for the presidency. The North Carolina senator, his wife Elizabeth Edwards, and Ben “Cooter” Jones, former Congressman and “Dukes of Hazard” star, spoke to those gathered at the Pizza Ranch. The Edwards’ two young children, Emma Claire and Jack, also made brief appearances before the crowd.
“If you love politics, this is the place to be,” said Ben “Cooter” Jones following his introduction. “This is the World Series of politics right here in the state of Iowa. Rural Iowa is really going to make the difference in this thing. The decision you make during the caucuses will not only influence the next Democratic candidate, but will determine who the next president of the United States is going to be.”
Elizabeth Edwards spoke in support of her husband during Monday’s visit.
“You have the opportunity to see each of these candidates close up and ask questions of them,” noted Mrs. Edwards. “You can judge their character and their passion and commitment. Because you get to look at each candidate close up, the rest of the country listens to you. Because Iowans take their obligation very seriously, the candidates take your vote very seriously.”
John Edwards spoke briefly to the assembled crowd.
“We have huge challenges facing us and we have a lot of work to do,” began Edwards. “Corporate greed has seeped into every part of this government and this democracy, and you see its hand everywhere.”
Edwards cited examples where “corporate greed” has become ingrained, including drug and insurance companies and the lack of universal health care, drug company lobbyists and Medicare prescription drug law, and trade laws like NAFTA and big corporations.
“Corporate greed is stealing your children’s future. It is doing incredible damage to the middle class and the working class people and jobs in this country,” surmised Edwards. “These people have to be beaten, they can’t be niced to death.”
In regards to the caucuses, Edwards stated that Iowans needed to choose someone who is ready to do battle against corporate greed.
“There’s nothing academic or intellectual about this,” Edwards noted. “You need toughness and some guts, and someone who takes it personally. It is personal to me.”
Edwards then took questions from the audience. A Pocahontas area resident raised concerns over a comment heard by his daughter from fellow presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle. Allegedly, Mrs. Obama said that the Edwards campaign might not have enough money to be win the nomination.
“We’re not going to have an auction in Iowa, we’re going to have an election,” Edwards said in response. “When you’re resorting to arguments about how much money someone has, you’re in a bad place. If they have more money, and it’s money that matters, why are they worried about me? We have plenty of money, and we’re running a very serious campaign.”
Mrs. Edwards then interrupted her husband, expressing, “You may not be surprised, but I’m surprised and disappointed in Michelle [Obama].”
“I want to make it clear to every Iowa caucus goer, my campaign is not about the other candidates, and I’m not interested in attacking them,” Edwards explained.
Concerns over Iran and the Iraq War were also heard.
Edwards noted, “What I’m going to do with the war in Iraq is bring it to an end. Specifically, I’ll have all combat troops out of Iraq by the end of the first year of my presidency. There will be no permanent military bases in Iraq, and we’ll have intense diplomacy with Syria and Iran to try to get them engaged to stabilize Iraq.”
Wrapping up his appearance, Edwards thanked everyone for coming and stated, “I learned a hard lesson a few years ago when a woman came up to me after the election and said that she might have voted for me, but I never asked her to. I won’t make that mistake again. I’m asking you to go to the caucuses, take some of your friends with you and be there on Thursday night. If you do that, what I’ll do for you as president is fight for you with everything I got to give you back the Democratic party, the White House, and America.”