Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Edwards Outlines Policies in Des Moines"

The Caucus (NY Times political blog):
DES MOINES – Following last night’s speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner, John Edwards released a booklet today summarizing his policies for caucus-goers and reinforcing many of the central issues of his campaign at a speech this morning.

Less than two months before the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Edwards appears to be also trying to capitalize on the launch of his first television commercial in the state and an endorsement last week from a group of thousands of Iowa caucus goers to propel his position in the race.
In the next few weeks more than 100,000 copies of the booklet, which has 77 pages of policy outlines and is called “Bold Solutions for Real Change”, will be distributed to caucus goers in Iowa, Mr. Edwards said.

“So you won’t have to guess where I stand,” he said.

Mr. Edwards said during the speech that the candidates need to answer tough questions, and while he did not mention Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton by name, he said when he asked about the remark later by a reporter that he had been referring to her. He said that people expected candidates “to stand in front of them and answer their hard questions, and they expect it to be an honest process. What George Bush does is plant questions and exclude people from events and I don’t think that’s what Democrats want to see.”

In an e-mailed statement, a Clinton campaign spokesman, Mark Daley, responded to Mr. Edwards’s remarks: “Our events are open and Iowans can ask any question of Senator Clinton they want. She’s taken hundreds of questions from Iowans and reporters throughout this campaign,” he said. “What George Bush does is attack democrats and divide the country. John Edwards’ campaign resembles that more and more every day.”

Mr. Edwards, and indeed the other candidates, had a quick turnaround following the Iowa Democratic Party’s dinner, which ended after midnight. Before noon today, Mr. Edwards appeared in what was billed by his campaign as a “major thematic speech” at the State Historical Building in downtown Des Moines.

Again, Mr. Edwards emphasized that he believes Americans are facing a “moral test” which they must pass by leaving a country on the mend to future generations, a theme that he has highlighted intensively over the past few weeks.

Mr. Edwards has projected much of his political appeal through anecdotes drawn from his early life in rural settings, including the fact that his father had to borrow $50 to bring him and his mother home from the hospital, and the working families that were affected by their mill closing.

“I am here today because, like all the people my father worked with in the mill, my parents got up every day believing in the promise of America, and they worked hard – no matter what obstacles were thrown against them – to give me the chance for a better life,” Mr. Edwards said in today’s speech according to excerpts provided by his staff before delivery.

He also struck the same notes that were played out in last night’s event and indeed in previous campaign speeches, such as the “rampant” power of lobbyists and corporate interests in Washington, the gap between the rich and poor, and the millions of Americans who live without health care coverage.

He spoke in honor of Veterans Day, starting with a moment of silence for those who have served in the armed forces.

“We have to restore America’s moral leadership around the world,” he said.

He then took questions from the audience, but first had the podium removed so that there was nothing between him and his listeners. The move was consistent with his style during campaign events, when he takes questions and holds press briefings sometimes several times a day.

Asked about Iraq, Mr. Edwards said he would remove 40,000 to 50,000 combat troops immediately and then the rest within the first nine to ten months. He also stressed the need to engage Iran and Syria in stabilizing Iraq.

On a question about Darfur, Mr. Edwards said the United States should enforce a no-fly zone over Darfur, and bring NATO countries together to intensify pressure on the Sudanese government and on China, upon which it depends economically.
Howie P.S.: Many heated comments follow the article at the link. For research purposes, you may view a video excerpt (00:55)of Hillary's speech here. I couldn't find any other Hillary video from last night. Here's video (21:38) of John Edwards full JJ Day Dinner speech.

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