Thursday, November 1, 2007
First Edwards Ad Hits Airwaves in Iowa
Check out this first John Edwards ad that started airing today in Iowa. It is inspiring and it is compelling. And it comes after Obama and Hillary have already spent well over $6M since June in Iowa alone trying to court the 126,000 some voters that voted in the last Caucus. $6M and they're still in a dead heat, and Edwards has only spent $23,000 before this first, timely media push.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Philly Debate: The Reviews Are In! TIME’s Mark Halperin Gave Edwards’ Debate Performance an “A”; Edwards “Came Across As Presidential, Optimistic and Patriotic — Essential for a Winner.” “Impressively he remained above the Clinton-Obama fray (no "look at me" antics) but swept in to best them while the media waited for the pair to duke it out. Calm and cool, he went after Clinton on (let's face it) character, and only occasionally seemed to be trying too hard. Hit both his Democratic and Republican targets with acute precision and impact. Appeared tough enough to perform well in a general election, with the kind of articulate passion he formerly demonstrated in the courtroom. Came across as presidential, optimistic and patriotic - essential for a winner.”
Des Moines Register's David Yepsen: “John Edwards Emerged As the Evening’s Most Effective and Articulate Challenger to Clinton.” In a blog post titled, “Johnny Be Good,” Yepsen wrote, “John Edwards emerged as the evening’s most effective and articulate challenger to Clinton. She turned in an uneven, sometimes waffling performance…Edwards came ready for the scrap and he helped his candidacy.”
New York Times: Obama “Was Frequently Overshadowed by Former Senator John Edwards.” “But for all the attention Mr. Obama drew to himself coming into the debate, he was frequently overshadowed by former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, who — speaking more intensely and frequently — repeatedly challenged Mrs. Clinton’s credentials and credibility. ‘Senator Clinton says that she believes she can be the candidate for change, but she defends a broken system that’s corrupt in Washington, D.C.,’ Mr. Edwards said. ‘She says she will end the war, but she continues to say she’ll keep combat troops in Iraq and continue combat missions in Iraq. To me, that’s not ending the war; that’s the continuation of the war.’ He added, ‘I think the American people, given this historic moment in our country’s history, deserve a president of the United States that they know will tell them the truth, and won’t say one thing one time and something different at a different time.’”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America": “I Think It Was a Good Night for John Edwards. I Think One of His Best Nights of These Debates So Far.” George Stephanopoulos: “I think it was a good night for John Edwards. I think one of his best nights of these debates so far. He was very, very clear. He didn’t back down at all. He knew exactly what he wanted to say about Hillary Clinton, again, that she can’t bring about change.”
CQ’s Craig Crawford: “I Thought It Was Edwards’ Best Performance So Far.” On MSNBC: Chris Matthews: “Who was ready to be her number one challenger between now and January?”… Craig Crawford: “I thought it was Edwards’ best performance so far.” Crawford later wrote, ““John Edwards was truly passionate about taking on Clinton, targeting her centrist views as ‘doubletalk’ and accusing her of falling in line with hawkish ‘neo-conservatives’ on Iran. Indeed, it was the former North Carolina senator’s most forceful debate performance so far.”
The Nation’s Ari Melber: “John Edwards Had the Strongest Showing.” “John Edwards had the strongest showing, pounding Clinton as the status quo candidate. ‘If you believe that combat missions should be continued in Iraq [with no timetable],’ he said, ‘then Senator Clinton is your candidate.’ Edwards repeatedly presented himself as the most credible ‘change’ candidate.”
Daily Kos Readers Declared Edwards the Winner. According to the Daily Kos poll following the debate, “Who do you think won the debate,” John Edwards led the pack with 33% of the 8,588 votes cast, followed by Obama at 21%, and Clinton at 16%.
CBS’s Jeff Greenfield on “The Early Show”: “It Was Former Senator John Edwards Who Used the Toughest Language” On Iran. “But it was former Senator John Edwards who used the toughest language, at one point reacting with incredulity to her claim that a vote to brand the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as terrorists was a way of opposing the president.”
The Nation’s John Nichols: Edwards “Ended the Night as the Candidate Who Had Done the Best Job of Defining Himself as the Alternative to Hillary Clinton.” “It wasn't just a fight about Iran, however. Edwards hit hard, and effectively, on every front. After detailing the front-runner's contributions from defense contractors and other corporate interests, he said. ‘If people want the status quo, Senator Clinton's your candidate.’ That's tough talk. Blunt talk. The sort of talk that Barack Obama seemed to suggest that he was going to deliver Tuesday night. But it came from John Edwards, who ended the night as the candidate who had done the best job of defining himself as the alternative to Hillary Clinton.”
The Nation’s John Nichols: “Edwards, Not Obama, Hits Clinton Hardest, Smartest.” “It was supposed to be the night Barack Obama took Hillary Clinton down. But, when all was said and done, Obama was a bystander…Where Obama was unfocused and ineffectual, John Edwards landed plenty of blows. The former senator from North Carolina began by suggesting that ‘it's fair’ to talk about essential differences between the candidates. Then he highlighted a big one. ‘(Clinton) says she'll stand up to George Bush,’ argued Edwards. "In fact, she voted to give George W. Bush the first step to war on Iran...’… It was a smart, at times intense dialogue…But Edwards owned the moment. Accusing Clinton of voting for an Iran resolution that read like it was ‘written literally by the neo-cons,’ the 2004 vice presidential nominee declared, ‘We need to stand up to this president. We need to make it absolutely clear that we will not let Bush, Cheney and this administration invade Iran.’”
NBC’s Tim Russert on the Today Show: “Edwards Was More Aggressive, More on the Offense than Barack Obama.”
Meredith Viera: “So did Edwards emerge?” Tim Russert: “I think Edwards emerged as the most aggressive candidate against Hillary Clinton…But clearly, looking at their performance last night, Edwards was more aggressive, more on the offense than Barack Obama.”
Marc Ambinder: “John Edwards’s Instruments of Persuasion Were Sharper and Louder.” “In this discordant symphony – ‘A Clintonian Lament’ -- John Edwards’s instruments of persuasion were sharper and louder; Barack Obama’s were more resonant and more subtle. In music terms, Edwards played the French horn; Obama played the violin. Or, as the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza told me during a commercial break, ‘It’s the difference between someone who goes to law school and becomes a prosecutor and someone who goes to law school and becomes a law professor.’”
ABC’s Rick Klein: “Edwards Still Seems Better, Though, at Finding Compelling Ways to Set Himself Apart.” “11:05 pm ET: Rick Klein wrapping it up -- Hillary Clinton gave a truly bad answer at the end, on illegal immigration, one that feeds the argument Obama and Edwards were making all night. Did Obama clear the bar he set for himself? Probably yes, but not with much room to spare. Edwards still seems better, though, at finding compelling ways to set himself apart. And other surprises -- how about Joe Biden taking on Rudy Giuliani? Is he the new George W. Bush, in terms of punching-bag status?”
NBC's Domenico Montanaro: “Clinton Blurring the Lines AGAIN, Now on Illegal Immigrant Driver's Licenses… Edwards Called Her on It.” “Is Clinton blurring the lines AGAIN, now on illegal immigrant driver's licenses. She said the plan makes sense, but can't commit apparently. She said she didn't say she supports the plan, when Dodd said she did. Russert tried to pin her on it, and she obfuscated again. Edwards called her on it, evoking Bush-Cheney, saying Americans were tired of ‘double talk.’ Obama nodded and got called on and he got to chime in as well. Does this become a problem for her? Can she directly answer a question?”
The Politico’s Ben Smith: “John Edwards Kept Up the Pressure Most Skillfully on Clinton… Drove His Point Home When She Refused to Say Whether She Supports” Spitzer’s Plan. “John Edwards kept up the pressure most skillfully on Clinton, putting his courtroom skills to use to build a case, at times mockingly, against the New York senator … Edwards drove his point home when she refused to say whether she supports New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants.”
ABC’s Rick Klein: “It's Rare That a Highlight Comes This Late in a Debate, But Edwards Picks up on That Inconsistency On Immigration.” “10:56 pm ET: It's rare that a highlight comes this late in a debate, but Edwards picks up on that inconsistency on immigration: ‘Sen. Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes.’ Obama: ‘I was confused on Sen. Clinton's answer.’ And Obama calls the Spitzer plan ‘the right idea.’”
CNN’s Candy Crowley on Anderson Cooper 360: Edwards “Stepped Up His Game.” Appearing on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Candy Crowley said, “John Edwards, who has never been shy about going after the frontrunner, stepped up his game, questioning her candor.”
Philly Debate: International Herald Tribune Says Edwards Overshadows
Like most reviews of the debate last night, this International Herald Tribune story also gave Edwards kudos for differentiating himself from Clinton and Obama unable to deliver on the promise to differentiate himself and take on Clinton. For Obama, the honeymoon is over and voters are starting to realize that he can neither win nor take on Hillary as the anti-Hillary. The Anti-Hillary is John Edwards.
But for all the attention Obama drew to himself coming into the debate, he was frequently overshadowed by former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, who — speaking more intensely — repeatedly challenged Clinton's credentials and credibility, and frequently seemed to make the case against Clinton that Obama had promised to make.
"Senator Clinton says that she believes she can be the candidate for change, but she defends a broken system that's corrupt in Washington, DC," Edwards said.
He added, "I think the American people, given this historic moment in our country's history, deserve a president of the United States that they know will tell them the truth, and won't say one thing one time and something different at a different time."
Clinton's view of why Republicans have been targeting her was laughable:
Clinton pointed to the fact that Republicans have been assailing her constantly as evidence that she was delivering a clear message.
"The Republicans and their constant obsession with me demonstrates clearly that they obviously think that I am communicating effectively about what I will do as president," she said. "And I am trying to do that because it matters greatly. We've got to turn the page on George Bush and Dick Cheney. In fact, we have to throw the whole book away. This has been a disastrous period in American history, and we hope it will be aberration."
And both Edwards and Obama explained to viewers why Hillary was really being targeted -- it was definitely not because Hillary has been effective in conveying how she would be different or better than Bush-Cheney but because she would be the best candidate for the Republicans to take on and win against:
Edwards offered a similar line of attack. "I mean, another perspective on why the Republicans keep talking about Senator Clinton is, Senator, she — they may actually want to run against you, and that's the reason they keep bringing you up," he said, adding, "I think that if people want the status quo — Senator Clinton's your candidate. "
Obama and Edwards came into the debate seeking to raise questions about Clinton's credibility — and, as a result, renew doubts about her electability. Clinton may have helped them with her unsteady answer about whether she supported the initiative by Spitzer.
"Do I think this is the best thing for any governor to do?" she said. "No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation, trying to get a handle on this? Remember, in New York we want to know who's in New York. We want people to come out of the shadows. He's making an honest effort to do it. We should have passed immigration reform."
She was challenged on what she said first by Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and then by Edwards. "Unless I missed something, Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes just a few minutes ago, and I think this is a real issue for the country," Edwards said.
Philly Debate: Salon Proclaims Edwards Winner
As this Salon.com review of last night's debate put it, Obama's self-induced pre-debate hype landed with a resounding thud:
Before the debate, the evening was ballyhooed as Barack Obama's breakout night -- the point in the campaign when the fledgling Illinois senator would finally display his mettle by aggressively challenging Hillary Clinton. Obama telegraphed his punches in advance, promising the New York Times in an interview, "Now's the time for us to make these distinctions clear."
Instead, Obama could not even muster the gumption to lob a rhetorical coconut cream pie in Clinton's direction. He set the tone for the evening in the first seconds of the debate when, challenged to repeat his recent critiques of Clinton, he said soothingly, "Well, first of all, I think some of this stuff gets off-hyped" before lapsing into a labored (and obviously rehearsed) Rocky versus Apollo Creed analogy.
Like the reviews of the New Hampshire debate several weeks ago, it was Edwards again who outshone his closest rivals and Obama continued to falter, unable to deliver on the promise of an alternative to the Hillary Clinton Machine:
A stranger to politics who had somehow missed the outbreak of "Obama-mania" -- the nearly $80 million he raised, the often rhapsodic press coverage and the huge crowds -- might have assumed from watching Tuesday's debate that the Illinois senator was a minor candidate on the fringes of the action. It seemed as if Clinton's principal antagonists were John Edwards and -- when he was given a chance to speak -- Chris Dodd. The two of them, sometimes joined by Biden, took on the traditional political task of bringing the highflying front-runner back to earth.
This may have been Edwards' best debate, as he displayed the smiling aggressiveness that had eluded him when he was going head-to-head with Dick Cheney as the 2004 vice-presidential nominee. Again and again, Edwards took lines from his stump speech and made them seem fresh as debate responses. Edwards rattled off a litany of Clinton's zigzag comments on topics ranging from Iraq to Iran to Social Security before concluding harshly, "I think the American people ... deserve a president of the United States that they know will tell them the truth."
As Edwards continued banging away with drumbeats of criticism throughout the evening (saying of Clinton's Iran position, "Our responsibility as presidential candidate is to be in 'tell the truth' mode all the time"), the cameras caught Clinton glaring at Edwards with daggers darting from her eyes before turning on a smile when she was asked to respond.
Hillary double-speak came to a head as the debate neared its end and Edwards was unwilling to let her get away with it as initial media coverage continued to do while it anointed Hillary as the de facto nominee.
Only in the last 10 minutes of the debate, long after it seemed as if she had absorbed the worst without losing her stride, did the New York senator suddenly stumble in the homestretch. Asked if she supported New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to permit illegal immigrants to apply for driver's licenses, Clinton appeared to express home-state solidarity by declaring, "What Gov. Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform." After Dodd, veering right, came out against this proposal, Clinton suddenly interrupted the proceedings to announce, "I just want to add, I did not say that it should be done."
That was the moment when Edwards pounced with the quickness of a trial lawyer who has realized that an opposing lawyer has just made a fatal error that undermines her case. "Unless I missed something," Edwards said with ill-disguised glee, "Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes ... America is looking for a president who will say the same thing, who will be consistent, who will be straight with them. Because what we've had for seven years is double talk from Bush and from Cheney." All that was missing was a Marvel comic-book exclamation like "Pow!" or "Whap!"
Monday, October 29, 2007
John Edwards Major Speech: The Moral Test of Our Generation
Here's the text of an important speech made by Senator John Edwards today at St. Anselm's College, Manchester, New Hamphshire (October 29, 2007):
Many of you know that I am the son of a mill worker -- that I rose from modest means and have been blessed in so many ways in life. Elizabeth and I have so much to be grateful for.
And all of you know about some of the challenges we have faced in my family. But there came a time, a few months ago, when Elizabeth and I had to decide, in the quiet of a hospital room, after many hours of tests and getting pretty bad news -- what we were going to do with our lives.
And we made our decision. That we were not going to go quietly into the night -- that we were going to stand and fight for what we believe in.
As Elizabeth and I have campaigned across America, I've come to a better understanding of what that decision really meant -- and why we made it.
Earlier this year, I spoke at Riverside Church in New York, where, forty years ago, Martin Luther King gave a historic speech. I talked about that speech then, and I want to talk about it today. Dr. King was tormented by the way he had kept silent for two years about the Vietnam War.
He was told that if he spoke out he would hurt the civil rights movement and all that he had worked for -- but he could not take it any more -- instead of decrying the silence of others -- he spoke the truth about himself.
"Over the past two years" he said, "I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silence and speak from the burning of my own heart."
I am not holier than thou. I am not perfect by any means. But there are events in life that you learn from, and which remind you what this is really all about. Maybe I have been freed from the system and the fear that holds back politicians because I have learned there are much more important things in life than winning elections at the cost of selling your soul.
Especially right now, when our country requires so much more of us, and needs to hear the truth from its leaders.
And, although I have spent my entire life taking on the big powerful interests and winning -- which is why I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists or political action committees -- I too have been guilty of my own silence -- but no more.
It's time to tell the truth. And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many. And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They're right.
As I look across the political landscape of both parties today -- what I see are politicians too afraid to tell the truth -- good people caught in a bad system that overwhelms their good intentions and requires them to chase millions of dollars in campaign contributions in order to perpetuate their careers and continue their climb to higher office.
This presidential campaign is a perfect example of how our politics is awash with money. I have raised more money up to this point than any Democratic candidate raised last time in the presidential campaign -- $30 million. And, I did it without taking a dime from any Washington lobbyist or any special interest PAC.
I saw the chase for campaign money at any cost by the frontrunner in this race -- and I did not join it -- because the cost to our nation and our children is not worth the hollow victory of any candidate. Being called president while powerful interests really run things is not the same as being free to lead this nation as president of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If protecting the current established structure in Washington is in your interest, then I am not your candidate. I ran for president four years ago -- yes, in part out of personal ambition -- but also with a deep desire to stand for working people like my father and mother -- who no matter how hard things were for our family, always worked even harder to make things better for us.
But the more Elizabeth and I campaigned this year, the more we talked to the American people, the more we met people just like my father, and hard working people like James Lowe. James is a decent and honest man who had to live for 50 years with no voice in the richest country in the world because he didn't have health care. The more people like him that I met, the more I realized something much bigger was stirring in the American people. And it has stirred in each of us for far too long.
Last month Ken Burns -- who made the great Civil War documentary -- launched his newest epic on World War II on PBS -- and what a story it tells.
At the cost of great suffering, blood and enormous sacrifice, within four years after Pearl Harbor it is incredible what this nation achieved. America built the arsenal of democracy worthy of our great history. We launched the greatest invasion armada in the history of warfare against Hitler's fortress Europe, and, with our allies, we freed a continent of suffering humanity.
At the same time on the other side of the globe we crossed 10,000 miles of ocean and liberated another hemisphere of humanity -- islands and nations freed from the grip of Japanese militarists. While at the same time succeeding in the greatest scientific endeavor ever undertaken -- the Manhattan project -- and topped it off with building the Pentagon, one of the largest buildings in the world in a little over a year.
It is incredible what America has accomplished. Because no matter what extraordinary challenges we have been faced with, we did exactly what America has always done in our history -- we rose to the challenge.
And, now, as I travel across America and listen to people, I hear real concern about what's going on. For the first time in our nation's history, people are worried that we're going to be the first generation of Americans not to pass on a better life to our children.
And it's not the fault of the American people. The American people have not changed. The American people are still the strong, courageous people they have always been. The problem is what our government has become. And, it is up to us to do something about it.
Because Washington may not see it, but we are facing a moral crisis as great as any that has ever challenged us. And, it is this test -- this moral test -- that I have come to understand is at the heart of this campaign.
Just look at what has happened in Iraq. What was the response of the American people to the challenge at hand? Our men and women in uniform have been heroes. They've done everything that's been asked of them and more. But what about our government? Four years after invading Iraq, we cannot even keep the lights on in Baghdad.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the American people were at their best. They donated their time and their money in record numbers. There was an outpouring of support. I took 700 college kids down to help -- young people who gave up their spring break. But what about our government? Three years after hurricane Katrina thousands of our fellow Americans, our brothers and sisters, are still housed in trailers waiting to go home.
There's no better example of the bravery and goodness of the American people than the response to the attacks of 9/11: firefighters and first responders risking and too often giving their lives to save others, charging up the stairs while everyone else was coming down; record bloodbank donations; and the list goes on. But what about our government? Six years after 9/11, at Ground Zero there sits only a black hole that tortures our conscience and scars our hearts.
In every instance we see an American people who are good, decent, compassionate and undeterred. And, American people who are better than the government that is supposed to serve and represent them.
And what has happened to the American "can do" spirit? I will tell you what has happened: all of this is the result of the bitter poisoned fruit of corruption and the bankruptcy of our political leadership.
It is not an accident that the government of the United States cannot function on behalf of its people, because it is no longer our people's government -- and we the people know it.
This corruption did not begin yesterday -- and it did not even begin with George Bush -- it has been building for decades -- until it now threatens literally the life of our democracy.
While the American people personally rose to the occasion with an enormous outpouring of support and donations to both the victims of Katrina and 9/11 -- we all saw our government's neglect. And we saw greed and incompetence at work. Out of more than 700 contracts valued at $500,000 or greater, at least half were given without full competition or, according to news sources, with vague or open ended terms, and many of these contracts went to companies with deep political connections such as a subsidiary of Haliburton, Bechtel Corp., and AshBritt Inc.
And in Iraq -- while our nation's brave sons and daughters put their lives on the line for our country -- we now have mercenaries under their own law while their bosses sit at home raking in millions.
We have squandered millions on building Olympic size swimming pools and buildings that have never been used. We have weapons and ammunition unaccounted for that may now be being used against our own soldiers. We literally have billions wasted or misspent -- while our troops and their families continue to sacrifice. And the politically connected lobby for more. What's their great sacrifice -- higher profits.
It goes on every minute of every day.
Corporate executives at United Airlines and US Airways receive millions in compensation for taking their companies into bankruptcy, while their employees are forced to take cuts in pay.
Companies like Wal-Mart lobby against inspecting containers entering our nation's ports, even though expert after expert agrees that the likeliest way for a dirty bomb to enter the United States is through a container, because they believe their profits are more important than our safety. What has become of America when America's largest company lobbies against protecting America?
Trade deals cost of millions of jobs. What do we get in return? Millions of dangerous Chinese toys in our children's cribs laden with lead. This is the price we are made to pay when trade agreements are decided based on how much they pad the profits for multinational corporations instead of what is best for America's workers or the safety of America's consumers.
We have even gotten to the point where our children's safety is potentially at risk because nearly half of the apple juice consumed by our children comes from apples grown in China. And Americans are kept in the dark because the corporate lobbyists have pushed back country of origin labeling laws again and again.
This is not the America I believe in.
The hubris of greed knows no bounds. Days after the homeland security bill passed, staffers from the homeland security department resigned and became homeland security consultants trying to cash in. And, where was the outrage? There was none, because that's how it works in Washington now. It is not a Republican revolving door or a Democratic revolving door -- it is just the way it's done.
Someone called it a government reconnaissance mission to figure out how to get rich when you leave the government.
Recently, I was dismayed to see headlines in the Wall Street Journal stating that Senate Democrats were backing down to lobbyists for hedge funds who have opposed efforts to make millionaire and billionaire hedge fund managers pay the same tax rate as every hard-working American. Now, tax loopholes the wealthy hedge fund managers do not need or deserve are not going to be closed, all because Democrats -- our party -- wanted their campaign money.
And a few weeks ago, around the sixth anniversary of 9/11, a leading presidential candidate held a fundraiser that was billed as a Homeland Security themed event in Washington, D.C. targeted to homeland security lobbyists and contractors for $1,000 a plate. These lobbyists, for the price of a ticket, would get a special "treat" -- the opportunity to participate in small, hour long breakout sessions with key Democratic lawmakers, many of whom chair important sub committees of the homeland security committee. That presidential candidate was Senator Clinton.
Senator Clinton's road to the middle class takes a major detour right through the deep canyon of corporate lobbyists and the hidden bidding of K Street in Washington -- and history tells us that when that bus stops there it is the middle class that loses.
When I asked Hillary Clinton to join me in not taking money from Washington lobbyists -- she refused. Not only did she say that she would continue to take their money, she defended them.
Today Hillary Clinton has taken more money from Washington lobbyists than any candidate from either party -- more money than any Republican candidate.
She has taken more money from the defense industry than any other candidate from either party as well.
She took more money from Wall Street last quarter than Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama combined.
The long slow slide of our democracy into the corporate abyss continues unabated regardless of party, regardless of the best interests of America.
We have a duty -- a duty to end this.
I believe you cannot be for change and take money from the lobbyists who prevent change. You cannot take on the entrenched interests in Washington if you choose to defend the broken system. It will not work. And I believe that, if Americans have a choice, and candidate who takes their money -- Democrat or Republican -- will lose this election.
For us to continue down this path all we have to do is suspend all that we believe in. As Democrats, we continue down this path only if we believe the party of the people is no more.
As Americans, we continue down this path only if we fail to heed Lincoln's warning to us all.
"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected," he asked, "if it ever reaches us it must spring up amongst us. It can not come from abroad. If destruction be our lot -- we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time or die by suicide."
America lives because 20 generations have honored the one moral commandment that makes us Americans.
To give our children a better future than we received.
I stand here today the son of Wallace and Bobbie Edwards. The father of Wade, Cate, Emma Claire and Jack -- and I know, as well as you, that we must not be the first generation that fails to live up to our moral challenge and keep the promise of America.
That would be an abomination.
There is a dream that is America. It is what makes us American. And I will not stand by while that dream is at risk.
I am not perfect -- far from it -- but I do understand that this is not a political issue -- it is the moral test of our generation.
Our nation's founders knew that this moment would come -- that at some point the power of greed and its influence over officials in our government might strain and threaten the very America they hoped would last as an ideal in the minds of all people, and as a beacon of hope for all time.
That is why they made the people sovereign. And this is why it is your responsibility to redeem the promise of America for our children and their future.
It will not be easy -- sacrifice will be required of us -- but it was never easy for our ancestors, and their sacrifices were far greater than any that will fall on our shoulders.
Yet, the responsibility is ours.
We, you and I, are the guardians of what America is and what it will be.
The choice is ours.
Down one path, we trade corporate Democrats for corporate Republicans; our cronies for their cronies; one political dynasty for another dynasty; and all we are left with is a Democratic version of the Republican corruption machine.
It is the easier path. It is the path of the status quo. But, it is a path that perpetuates a corrupt system that has not only failed to deliver the change the American people demand, but has divided America into two -- one America for the very greedy, and one America for everybody else.
And it is that divided America -- the direct result of this corrupt system -- which may very well lead to the suicide Lincoln warned us of -- the poison that continues to seep into our system while none notice.
Or we can choose a different path. The path that generations of Americans command us to take. And be the guardians that kept the faith.
I run for president for my father who worked in a mill his entire life and never got to go to college the way I did.
I run for president for all those who worked in that mill with my father.
I run for president for all those who lost their jobs when that mil was shut down.
I run for president for all the women who have come up to Elizabeth and me and told us the like Elizabeth they had breast cancer -- but unlike Elizabeth they did not have health care.
I run for president for twenty generations of Americans who made sure that their children had a better life than they did.
As Americans we are blessed -- for our ancestors are not dead, they occupy the corridors of our conscience. And, as long we keep the faith -- they live. And so too the America of idealism and hope that was their gift to us.
I carry the promise of America in my heart, where my parents placed it. Like them, like you, I believe in people, hard work, and the sacred obligation of each generation to the next.
This is our time now. It falls to us to redeem our democracy, reclaim our government and relight the promise of America for our children.
Let us blaze a new path together, grounded in the values from which America was forged, still reaching toward the greatness of our ideals. We can do it. We can cast aside the bankrupt ways of Washington and replace them with the timeless values of the American people. We can liberate our government from the shackles of corporate money that bind it to corporate will, and restore the voices of our people to its halls.
This is the cause of my life. This is the cause of our time. Join me. Together, we cannot fail.
We will keep faith with those who have gone before us, strong and proud in the knowledge that we too rose up to guard the promise of America in our day, and that, because we did, America's best days still lie ahead.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Bill Maher: John Edwards Interview, Endorsement and Not!
In case you missed it, Senator John Edwards appearance on Bill Maher last week (on October 19, 2007) was pretty much the perfect interview if I've ever seen one. You can view the video here.
And Elizabeth looked great when the camera panned across to her in the audience.
Bill Maher made it clear that he believed Sen. Edwards was the best Democratic candidate and the only one who could win next November.
In contrast, Bill O'Reilly got upset that anyone would consider Edwards to be the best Democratic nominee. When asked about it, Edwards quipped that not having Bill O'Reilly like him was the best endorsement any Democrat could ask for!
Updated Monday, October 29, 2007
Des Moines Register: Don't Write Off Edwards Just Yet
Edwards has been campaigning in Iowa just like Obama and Hillary and Richardson. In fact, I remember seeing that all of these candidates have visited the state a significant number of days this year.
Edwards has also been campaigning throughout the country (we've seen him three times already in California), even in states that some Democratic frontrunners wouldn't bother visiting because they would never even stand a chance of winning there. States that have Democratic governors but would go Republican before they would vote for Hillary.
According to this Des Moines Register column on October 18, 2007 by David Yepsen, "To some in American politics, John Edwards is toast."
But watching him work in the sweaty auditorium of a Waukee elementary school Tuesday night, one gets a different feeling: Iowa Democrats may still give this guy a new lease on political life.
Why? John Edwards is tenacious and still in the hunt for first place. While the latest Iowa Poll shows Clinton at 29 percent, Edwards slipping to 23 percent and Obama at 22 percent, it's also important to remember that both Clinton and Obama have dropped millions on television commercials in the state. Edwards has yet to make his big media buy.
...While Obama and Clinton have only recently discovered the fact that 49 percent of Iowa's Democratic caucus-goers live in rural and small-town Iowa, Edwards has been mining those tiny lodes for years.
For example, his schedule for Wednesday called for him to spend the day in far-northwest Iowa, where Democrats are ordinarily found only on endangered-species lists. (I know Democrats running for governor who don't make it to Rock Rapids.) Yet Edwards was to campaign there, and end his day on a hog farm near Cylinder, population 110.
While he didn't get a rock star's crowd in Waukee this week, he did get 257 local Democrats to show up: Retirees. Farmers. Teachers. Working folks. A few suburbanites In short, he attracted a crowd that looked exactly like the types of people who actually show up at a Democratic caucus in January. (Or December.)
...Perhaps the best argument for Edwards' candidacy is his potential for electability. While Clinton and Obama make the case they could attract new voters, like women and minorities, in a general-election fight the case for Edwards is that he's not as risky. He doesn't have the polarizing negatives Clinton has and is a more seasoned candidate than Obama, though some of his positions smack of class war. His campaign believes he would help congressional Democratic candidates.
Edwards has argued he could attract votes just about anywhere in the country. And as y'all know, Democrats historically don't win the White House without a Southerner on the ticket.
Changed 8:11 am October 26, 2007
Joe Trippi: Edwards Ticket Helps Democrats In All Races
As Joe Trippi put it in an email on October 18, 2007 to Edwards supporters, it is a premise that is increasingly echoed in opinion pieces and blog entries and analysis...that the right Democratic nominee can compete and win in many of the states that the Democrats have typically given up on in the last few elections. With Edwards on the top of the Democratic ticket, the playbook for winning the White House changes drastically and benefits Democrats runnning for Congress and other positions:
Imagine election night 2008. From around the country the results are coming in thick and fast. We've won Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky... it's a Democratic landslide....
By the time the election night dust settles, the Washington pundits are speechless—the Democratic Party has won 280 seats in the House and 61 seats in the Senate, majorities that allow the new Democratic president to implement bold and vigorous change. The day of deadlocked agendas and timid politics is over.
A pipe dream? Far from it.
With retirements and scandals among Republicans continuing to open up more competitive seats in the Senate, and the disgraced policies of George Bush dragging down the Republicans in House and state-level races in nearly every district in the country, Democrats across the country know next year could be more than just an election year—it could be the year when a fundamental realignment takes place, from state houses to the White House.
In states like Texas, Oklahoma, Maine, Wisconsin, Georgia, Virginia, North Dakota and Missouri, John Edwards enjoys strong support from Democratic legislators and leaders. They understand that the Democratic Party needs a nominee who can compete—and win—in red, blue and purple states across the country and help sweep Democrats at all levels to victory in 2008.
...The difference between winning or losing control of legislative chambers in many states will be greatly influenced by who is the nominee for the general election. The best chance—in some areas, the only chance—of ensuring Democratic control throughout this country is with John Edwards leading the charge for Democrats next fall.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
John Edwards Continues to Gain Major Union Support
This is another reason why John Edwards is best suited to win the first primaries and thus the nomination. You can't buy help like this!
With the support of just California's SEIU, suddenly Edwards has gotten 1/3 of the national SEIU support. This comes close after stories that claimed that the SEIU had snubbed Edwards. No, what the SEIU did was say that it would not make a decision and let the state SEIUs decide on their own. And deciding they are -- for Edwards.
As of last week, half of SEIU (almost 1 million members) had thrown its support behind Edwards. According to this New York Times story on October 19, 2007:
The state council of the Service Employees International Union publicly threw its weight behind John Edwards’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Friday and said it would rally its members here and in other states, including those holding early primaries, to support his campaign.
The union is the largest in California, with 656,000 members. Its backing is a significant achievement for Mr. Edwards, especially if the union is able to extend its organizational ability to the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
The reason why all candidates have courted the unions is because you cannot buy this kind of support no matter how much money you've raised. And Senator Edwards has been the most successful in lining up support:
“Twenty-four percent of the voting population in elections come from union households,” said Chris Chafe, a senior adviser to the campaign. “In the caucuses and primary states, the labor movement will be one of the only entities that is organized enough to deliver significant turnout and real votes.”
Last month, the union’s national board, which represents nearly 1.9 million workers, voted to leave it up to state councils to decide whom to back. On Monday, union leaders said state councils in California, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana Ohio, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia, which represent half of the union’s membership, had endorsed Mr. Edwards.
Mr. Edwards’s other endorsements include the Transport Workers Union of America, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the United Steelworkers and the United Mine Workers of America, his campaign said.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Looking for President Dean
If you think John Edwards is toast, think again. If you think it is inevitable that the second President Clinton is going to be the next POTUS, think again. If you are convinced this election is a done deal, let us know where we can find President Dean. This New York Times story puts Senator John Edwards' position in national polls in the right perspective.
Where is President Dean?
This notion came up when John Edwards was asked at a news conference here in Las Vegas, Nev., on Saturday how he was going to overtake Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. And using his old lawyer tactics, he asked questions to make his point.
“Have we had an election yet?” Mr. Edwards replied to the reporter. “What is there to overtake?”
Well, you know what the polls are showing, the reporter pressed on.
“I know what they showed in 2003 and I haven’t met President Dean yet,” Mr. Edwards said. “I don’t think he got the nomination and I don’t think he became elected president.”
He was referring to Howard Dean, of course, who was ahead in both the polls and with fund raising in 2004 — until he wasn’t.