COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The crowd packed every pew, every doorway and nearly every foot of floor space inside the little chapel to hear from John Edwards, and it seemed like the perfect place for the former senator and one-time presidential candidate to address his faithful.
Because these days, the North Carolina Democrat is not so much on the stump talking as he is in the pulpit preaching.
"It is not too much to say that the future of the planet is at stake," Edwards told the crowd spilling out of Rutledge Chapel during a recent speech at the University of South Carolina.
Gone are the days of a rookie senator launching a long-shot bid for the White House by telling the story of his childhood in the textile towns of the Carolinas.
Edwards intends to run in 2008, with an announcement planned late this month in New Orleans, two Democratic officials said Saturday. Edwards' spokesman would not confirm or deny that Edwards was going to enter the race.
The 2004 vice presidential nominee already has a retooled campaign agenda that is unabashedly progressive.
Edwards has gone to Russia, China and Uganda, hoping to bolster his foreign policy credentials. The effort has included a public admission that he made a mistake by voting in favor of military action in Iraq.
Until Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said he was considering a White House run, Edwards was viewed by many as the most likely challenger to former first lady and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the party's nomination.
This summer, Edwards led all other Democratic candidates in a Des Moines Register poll of voters in Iowa with the support of 30 percent of those polled. Clinton got 26 percent.
"John Edwards is resonating with people," said Iowa state senator Keith Kreiman, who endorsed Edwards in 2004. "I would be surprised if he doesn't win Iowa."
Sunday, December 17, 2006
"Edwards offers progressive agenda"