July 19th, 2007
02:00 PM ET
7 years ago

Edwards calls poverty a "failure" of Bush's leadership

Edwards campaigned in Kentucky Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - After completing a tour of impoverished rural areas in Middle America, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards sent a letter to President Bush Thursday inviting him to join him on a trip to those towns to see "how much worse American families are under your presidency."

"Go to the cities and towns where I have gone," Edwards said in the letter. "See and talk to the good and decent Americans with amazing character who struggle with incredible poverty. Incredible poverty, Mr. President, which has only worsened every day over the last 7 years because of the failure of your leadership and the terrible effects your policies have had on millions of families."

Edwards traveled through eight states and highlighted his meetings with residents of Marks, Mississippi, West Helena, Arkansas, Wise, Virginia and Whitesburg, Kentucky. He also spent time in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, where he criticized the slow recovery effort and said that Bush's "indifference to this problem has only made the problem worse."

- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Will - Miami, Fl

    LOL – It never ends. President Bush caused a hurricane, global warming, the jihadist to hate us...

    At what point do people wake up and realize that Edwards is a scum-bag trail layer?

    Mind you, I'm not a very big fan of our President. I'm just pointing out the obvious.

    July 19, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Glenn,B'ham,Al

    Bush & all the others before him.

    July 19, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Barabas

    Edwards sues doctors his whole life to make millions. Doctors have to purchase more insurance at higher rates to protect themselves against lawsuits. Doctors have to raise their rates to make up for the money they pay for more insurance. Thus, healthcare costs are too high for the poor to afford. NOW Edwards is worried about the poor! You're not fooling me, Mr. Edwards.

    July 19, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  4. Bruce, Franklin, TN

    And to think that only seven years before, there was no poverty under the Clinton administration. Edwards and the majority of the other candidates in both parties will say just about anything to get elected, but the populist crap that Edwards spouts really annoys me.

    July 19, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Ahh.. NOW the President is directly responsible for ALL the poor people in this country.

    Here I thought *I* was supposed to be responsible for working hard, paying my bills, and generally working to improve my and my families welfare. NOW I learn it's President Bush's job.

    Thanks Mr. Edwards for the clarification! I'm sure you're NOT attempting to create class warfare.

    July 19, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Dan

    I have to wonder if Edwards actually cares deeply about poverty or if this is just an issue he thinks the GOP is weak on.

    July 19, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. Ashen Shard, Chambersburg, PA

    I believe the quotations should be around "leadership" rather than failure.

    BTW, I don't see anywhere there where he states that this administration is totally responsible for poverty in this country. The responsibility comes from not enacting policies to do anything to solve the problem, but instead supporting policies that aggravate it. So, this administration has definitely contributed to the worsening of poverty in this country.

    July 19, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Jason, Seattle WA

    How is raising taxes going to help the poor?

    July 19, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. B. Prosser Maine

    Democrat's Bush Bashing is WAY OVER DONE. SICK OF IT ALREADY!!!

    July 19, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. B.Prosser ME


    July 19, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. DB Vicksburg, MS

    What an idiot, poverty in the US was here since we have become a nation.
    Is there a Edwards Foundation for the poor, where I live there is alot of poverty, and Mr. Edwards unlike you with your $400 haircuts, I take care of these people everyday, a doctor in the Mississippi Delta. Yourare no different from any of the politicians that have come before you, all photo ops and no action, only spending enough time to get the photo. You Jerk!!!

    July 19, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Ashen Shard, Chambersburg, PA writes, "The responsibility comes from not enacting policies to do anything to solve the problem, but instead supporting policies that aggravate it."

    Please – tell us specifically WHICH policies has the Bush Administration been supporting that has directly worsened the poverty in this country?

    Restricted benefits to the poor? Bill Clinton – Aug 22, 1996

    Spent less on Social Programs? Check the annual budget and you'll see significant increases over the past 8 years – heck fiscal conservatives are angry with him because spending continued to rise.

    Please help us all see the light by pointing to the specific policies supported by this President that directly increased poverty.

    Thanks in advance!

    July 19, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. bret, atl, ga

    If he really cared about poverty, why wouldn't he get a $10 haircut and donate the $390 to the homeless?

    Just more classic demagoging from the Democrats about poverty. Their stupid Federal Reserve exacerbates the situation every year, along with their stupid wars and nationbuilding. Get an education, for crying out loud.

    I'd like to address the comments about doctors/lawyers, though. It is not as simple an issue as trial lawyers raising prices, although that is part of the problem. The problem is the entire industry, from insurance companies on down to the doctor cartel. The whole system needs to be scrapped, and allow the market to actually make these guys compete for business.

    July 20, 2007 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  14. Will - Miami, Fl

    The only thing that government does to "aggravate the problem" is by meddling at all. Any time the government meddles in anything, they mess it up or make it worse.

    By the government making welfare programs available for several decades, it has created a sub-culture of people that are now dependant on assistance. In many cases, children are taught to not work, get welfare, and that they are incapable of advancing because everyone in their family (mother, grandmother, aunt, ect) has been in the same position. Notice the emphasis that I placed on the matriarch? That's right, in those same sub-cultures, men are not taught to be men. Our society has made them think that it's OK to sire children and leave the government to play the part of the father. How did Hillary put it? "It takes a village" Yea, it takes a village idiot to think that government can solve your problems!

    Government needs to GET OUT of society and stop all meddling!

    July 20, 2007 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  15. Matt, Albany, Georgia

    Poverty is a disease. There's no reason people have to live in poverty unless they let themselves.

    July 20, 2007 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  16. cephas

    John Edwards should go back to chasing ambulances.

    July 20, 2007 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  17. Dave

    I guess until Bush got elected there were no poor people? I wonder if Edwards got a few $400 haircuts from the poor people so that he could actually help them instead of trying to turn us agaisnt each other? Edwards is simply playing class warfare, maybe they can all stay at his 30,000 square foot house if he is that interested in helping.

    July 20, 2007 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  18. Dave

    I guess the good old days of personal responsibility are over. Let's just wait for the government to fix everything. What a crock !!!

    July 20, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  19. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Wait a minute, we had the nations first black president and he served eight years I think, well at least our poverty stricken got a break those eight years and were living the high life.

    I am one of those mean spirited conservatives who believes that yes, the government should have some programs that help those that need it, but when does the answer to the issues question appear in the mirror?

    This slick talking huckster should know better, as I give his parents all the respect in the world for them busting their tails to put him through school and helping him better his way of life.

    Strange that unemployment and interest rates are near or at all time lows (considering that when he took office we were in a recession), that tells me that this nitwit has made a few good decisions that spurred the economy, the main one being the tax credits that were ACROSS THE BOARD for people that actually pay taxes.

    I see people of all backrounds driving SUV's, buying big screen TV's, IPODs, IPHONES, MP3 players, Gaming systems and none of these things are cheap.

    Does this genius have a socialist agenda that will solve all of our problems, do tell?

    July 20, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  20. CMS, California

    Does Edwards know that he isnt running against Bush?

    July 20, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  21. Ret Navy, KY

    U.S.A has spent over 7 trillion (last number I've seen) on the war on proverty, and we still have the same precentage on walfare as when we started. Members of my own family do what is needed to draw there check i.e. not work!!! I pay more than $10,000 in taxes and was a high school drop out never recived on SSI or any other check. 20 years I served this great country and to have political hack cut it down makes me sick.

    July 20, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    I am so relieved to read the comments and find people don't buy this bull. Obama is using almost the same rhetoric. Don't let them get away with it!

    July 20, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Mary, Beaver, PA

    I see the Edwards campaign imploding under its own hypocrisy and stupidity. A new "War on Poverty"? Yeah, right. That will work, just like the last one did.

    July 20, 2007 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |