Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards
is the latest Democrat to formally announce he is running for president in
2008. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has details from
Edwards made his official announcement in New Orleans, which is still
struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina more than
a year ago.
"If we actually want to change this country, and if we want to move
America the way it needs to move, we are going to have to do it. All of us
together," he said.
Edwards says he will work to bridge the economic divide in the country
between rich and poor, a divide he says is on display in New Orleans.
Edwards will emphasize domestic issues in his presidential bid. He favors raising
the minimum wage, expanding health care and making college education more
On foreign policy, Edwards favors withdrawing some U.S. troops from
Iraq and opposes a surge of U.S. forces into Baghdad, something President
Bush is said to be considering as he prepares to announce a new strategy
for the Iraq war.
"The biggest responsibility of the next President of the United States
is to reestablish America's leadership role in the world, starting with
Iraq," said Edwards. "And we need to make it clear that we intend to leave
Iraq and turn over the responsibility of Iraq to the Iraqi people. The
best way to make that clear is to actually start leaving."
Edwards voted for the Iraq war when he was in the Senate, but now says
that vote was a mistake.
This is Edwards' second bid for the presidency. He lost out to John
Kerry in the 2004 Democratic primaries, but wound up as Senator Kerry's
vice presidential running mate in a losing effort against President Bush
and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Edwards will likely face some formidable rivals in the battle for the
Democratic Party presidential nomination.
New York Senator Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her candidacy
soon, as is Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Other prominent Democrats
including Senators Kerry, Joseph Biden of Delaware and Christopher Dodd of
Connecticut are also expected to decide shortly whether they are running.
John Fortier, a political expert at the American Enterprise Institute
in Washington, says Edwards and other Democrats could have a difficult
time trying to share the spotlight with Clinton and Obama.
"You have Barack Obama, a very new and interesting and exciting
African-American candidate, who is very inexperienced, but very exciting
to many Democrats," he said. "I think he and Hillary Clinton will probably
have the lion's share of the media attention."
Edwards plans to run hard in the early caucus and primary elections
that begin in January of 2008. A recent poll gave Edwards a big lead in
the first caucus state of Iowa over Senator Clinton and other Democratic
Edwards is the third Democrat to formally enter the 2008 race, joining
Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.