Edwards Likens Message to Roosevelts, Truman
Photo: Koni Steele
In a town named for the first president, John Edwards likened his populist efforts to three other presidents. In the newest riff in the Edwards speech, focusing as usual on his attacks on corporate power and lobbyists, Edwards likened his message to the two Roosevelts and Harry Truman. "We have had great presidents who have had the guts and determination to take these people on," he said.
"FDR was vilified by corporate America," Edwards told an overflowing crowd at the Washington Public Library. "(Roosevelt) said he welcomed their hatred, because it meant he didn't make deals with those people." He also cited Teddy Roosevelt's trust busting and Harry Truman's buck-stops-here attitude. The Truman reference sunk in for at least one member of the crowd, who shouted, "Give `em hell, John" at Edwards as he boarded the campaign bus.
The standard Edwards speech skewed a little more toward economic issues and away from the Iraq war topic heard in larger cities. "No corporate lobbyist or anyone who has lobbied for a foreign country will work in my White House," Edwards pledged to the crowd. A national-dominated press corps zoomed in on this remark at a brief media availability post-speech, at which Edwards defined "lobbyist" as corporate lobbyist and left open the possibility that people who had lobbied for caused he supports would be welcome in an Edwards Administration.
Edwards also told the press that organizers had expected 75 people and got 275. It appeared one of the basic rules of the campaign trail - book a room one size too small so it looks full - had been taken too far, as the room was about two sizes too small. Edwards delayed the start of the speech to handshake his way up the stairs, greeting 100 or so who couldn't get in.
"I don't know what in the world is wrong with going back to a paper ballot," Edwards told a questioner concerned with election integrity.
Doreen Dewey of Davenport identified herself as "a registered Republican looking for someone to support" and asked Edwards about immigration. "We need to help kill the reason people are coming to begin with," Edwards said, by creating a sustainable Mexican economy. "I am not in favor of a fence across the whole border, I think that's nutty," he said, but fencing should be considered in certain specific locations. "I am not for amnesty but I am for a path to earned citizenship" that would include fines and a requirement to learn English. After the speech Dewey seemed satisfied, but she's still trying to choose between Edwards and Mitt Romney. "They both have solid values," she said. "I'm having a tough time."