June 16th, 2007
04:35 PM ET
9 years ago

Edwards outlines winning strategy for eventual nominee

John and Elizabeth Edwards

(CNN) – Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards made clear Saturday what he thinks the eventual Democratic nominee for president will need in order to win the nomination.

"I know there are people in this room who are for me and there are people who are shopping," the Democratic presidential hopeful said to an audience in Grinnell, Iowa. "This is democracy. This is the way it is supposed to work."

First, he advised looking for a candidate whom the voter feels has the personal qualities to lead the country at this moment in time. Second, he said a candidate should go beyond simple rhetoric, and have specific ideas to address large issues such as the war in Iraq, and health care. Finally, he said "we need a candidate who can win" the general election, in addition to increasing a democratic majority in Congress.

He added he hoped the crowd would find him to be the strongest candidate in those categories.

Edwards appeared with his wife, Elizabeth, for a community gathering at the Grinnell College student union. They are spending the weekend campaigning all over Iowa.

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Iowa • John Edwards • Race to '08
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Sydney S, Trust

    Without any doubt, Edwards would indeed be a nery fine President indeed. His known concern for the poor, the handicapped and so many other worldwide problems more than qualify him. Unfortunately, we Americans have shown, in far too many times, our "ability" to elect the opposite czndidaye.

    June 16, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. John, Livingston, NJ

    Clearly, Edwards is the best candidate of the Democratic field. No other candidate has outlined positions or plans as Edwards has. His message is based on specifics, not rhetoric. And by the criteria this article lists, no other candidate fits the bill as Edwards does. He has my vote.

    June 16, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  3. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    A "candidate who can win the general" is still the main issue, and I would like to hear some hard independent polling numbers on the "electability" of the two frontrunners, together with some talk of why they remain so.

    June 17, 2007 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  4. KG Columbia, South Carolina

    Sydney you write that " His known concern for the poor, the handicapped and so many other worldwide problems more than qualify him" but at the last debate when the question was posed to him "what's considered wealthy" he failed to give us a figure. Hell he could've said how much money he's made as a lawyer and whatever other things he got in his pot. While I dont knock his wealth, he doesnt know nothing about being POOR!! He's never went a night without a meal or had to wear the same clothes day in and day out. How can he come at me or my peers with that poor cry for his ompassion of the poor. Come on, lets be real we dont need another Bush and how he talks and try to twist things around that's what a lot and I mean a lot of folks in South Carolina feel. Edwards need to come up with a new slogan dont give me that "poor crap"

    June 17, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Joan Sweeney, Boston, Massachusettes

    It's difficult to understand how someone who can afford to pay $400. for one hair cut, can identify with the needs of people who pay $12.00 at Super Cuts. He lives in a huge mansion....has no problem affording gas and probably has his family's health insurance paid for by the US tax payers, so how can someone in this position really know what is needed for the middle class in this country? He needs to walk a mile in "those shoes" to have a clue how difficult it is for the middle class to raise and educate their family with the sky high prices of health insurance, housing costs, property taxes, college tuitions, gas prices, grocery prices increasing each week. How can a person who has won millions of dollars from law suits, and lives in a sprawling mansion have a clue as to how average citizens really live?

    June 17, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Gaije Kushner, New York, NY

    I'm really probably not Edwards' biggest fan, but he's getting unfairly criticized here. His upbringing was pretty decidedly lower middle/working class. Father worked in a textile mill, mother worked for, I think, the postal service. He was the first member of his family to get a college degree. So while I don't doubt that he's living a fairly privileged life these days, to suggest that that's always been the case, as some commenters have, is really not fair. Nor is it necessarily relevant – since when do we expect politicians to have personal experience of every issue they champion? If that's the new litmus test in American politics, I wish someone would hurry up and let the GOP contenders for the presidential nomination know they'd better either stop talking about such issues as reproductive rights and gay marriage, seeing as how, so far as I'm aware, they're a bunch of straight men, and so couldn't possibly have first hand knowledge of either issue. Come to think of it, that, actually, would suit me just fine!

    June 17, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. Lauren, Brooklyn, NY

    Edwards couldn't even carry his own state in the last election, not to mention the fact that John Kerry did not even want to ask him to be his running-mate, but had to be persuaded by political consulatants. And though no one wants to discuss this, my Grandmother just died of cancer and the entire family was stretched to the limits throughout her illness. I'd like Edwards to address how he plans on handling his wife's terminal illness if he was elected President and it turns for the worse. Is she just going to waste away in the White House? Who's taking care of their children? It's obvious from his massive hesitency when asked about his faith that this is a man in crisis. How can he possibly be charged with running this country while he's losing his own faith?

    June 17, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  8. Kathy Callan, Palo Cedro, CA

    John Edwards is the most qualified, by far, to be president. He is intelligent, candid, and truly cares about the common man. He is the only leading candidate not beholden to big business or lobbyists or PACs. Also, his experience as a trial attorney, where he fought the abuses of big corporations, would suit him well in the White House. I have a friend who worked with his law firm, and she said he is "the real deal" and took cases no one thought were winnable–he has a real passion for the underdog. He is a true populist and will make a great president!

    June 18, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Thelma Heywood, Lawrenceville, GA

    If the Dems want that seat in The White House, they'd better look long and hard at John Edwards – and so had the voters. John Edwards has the education and finesse the New Englanders will expect. He is southern by birth, so the "good ole boys from the SE and SW should vote for him. Surely third time around they have learned that the Republicans messed them over. And John Edwards came up "by his own bootstraps" so the poor and those reeling in the midwest should relate to him, if they only have a brain! The Democrats need a candidate who can appeal to all of the Nation. Clinton and Obama simply will not make it with the "good ole boys" in the SE and SW.

    June 18, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Thelma Heywood, Lawrenceville, GA

    KG, given the medical expenses the Edwards family faces on top of the campaign expenses, not to mention a family for which they must provide, you may have to take back some of your venom regarding being poor. The Edwards family jumped through an awful lot of hoops to obtain their education. I was a single parent (husband remarried 2 months after he abandoned us) and my daughter and I will pay for many years to come for getting her M.S.Ed.(with straight "A"s). Right now, the feds owe us $5,000 we've been trying to get for two years. By the time they pay up, if they do, the interest will have risen and the $5,000 will make no difference. We have 2 more years on debt mgmt ($500/month) for allowing my daughter to get that Masters so she could teach. It isn't just the degree, you know. It's the Praxis exams (thousands of dollars – had to travel to testing centers in the next state), required portfolio, a complete children's library for the classroom – furniture, shelves, books and all required for certification in our home state, professional dress – oh, it goes on and on.

    The Edwards will understand. They are still going through it. Should anyone hold having a nice home against them? They worked for it. That's what the American dream is all about and I'm happy for them that with hard work on the part of each, they could achieve that.

    What I do like about the Edwards family is that unlike the President we have who claims to be such a devout Christian and is so arrogant (don't think Jesus was arrogant), the Edwards family seems to present with more genuine Christian humility, even in the presence of their achievements.

    Humility is something with which this country could reacquaint. That should be the true meaning of the sermon/homily each Sunday when all of the devout Christians go to church.

    By the way, if you know anything at all about the Christ, you have to realize, Jesus was a liberal!

    June 18, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Bette Jack

    Why not "earmark" your favorite charity to receive the gifts?..... non-perishable foods,maybe???

    June 19, 2007 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  12. Clive, B'HAM AL

    Thelma, if you think that the "good ol'boys" from the south are gonna vote for gun grabber Edwards, you are crazy and should seek medical attention.

    June 19, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |