Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards Evening News: The Fight Has Just Begun Edition

I don't know when our party began to turn away from the cause of working people, from the fathers who were working three jobs literally just to pay the rent, mothers sending their kids to bed wrapped up in their clothes and in coats because they couldn't afford to pay for heat.

We know that our brothers and sisters have been bullied into believing that they can't organize and can't put a union in the workplace. Well, in this campaign, we didn't turn our heads. We looked them square in the eye and we said, "We see you, we hear you, and we are with you. And we will never forget you." And I have a feeling that if the leaders of our great Democratic Party continue to hear the voices of working people, a proud progressive will occupy the White House.

-John Edwards

Today, John Edwards suspended his campaign for the presidency. In a way, I like that word "suspended." It means the struggle lives on.

His speech today reminded us all of why we've been fighting for his campaign in the first place - because each one of us is as valuable as the next, and each of us deserves justice.

Read his words:

Thank you all very much. We're very proud to be back here.

During the spring of 2006, I had the extraordinary experience of bringing 700 college kids here to New Orleans to work. These are kids who gave up their spring break to come to New Orleans to work, to rehabilitate houses, because of their commitment as Americans, because they believed in what was possible, and because they cared about their country.

I began my presidential campaign here to remind the country that we, as citizens and as a government, have a moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters. We must do better, if we want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all love so much.

It is appropriate that I come here today. It's time for me to step aside so that history can blaze its path. We do not know who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make history. We will be strong, we will be unified, and with our convictions and a little backbone we will take back the White House in November and we'll create hope and opportunity for this country.

This journey of ours began right here in New Orleans. It was a December morning in the Lower Ninth Ward when people went to work, not just me, but lots of others went to work with shovels and hammers to help restore a house that had been destroyed by the storm.

We joined together in a city that had been abandoned by our government and had been forgotten, but not by us. We knew that they still mourned the dead, that they were still stunned by the destruction, and that they wondered when all those cement steps in all those vacant lots would once again lead to a door, to a home, and to a dream.

We came here to the Lower Ninth Ward to rebuild. And we're going to rebuild today and work today, and we will continue to come back. We will never forget the heartache and we'll always be here to bring them hope, so that someday, one day, the trumpets will sound in Musicians' Village, where we are today, play loud across Lake Ponchartrain, so that working people can come marching in and those steps once again can lead to a family living out the dream in America.

We sat with poultry workers in Mississippi, janitors in Florida, nurses in California.

We listened as child after child told us about their worry about whether we would preserve the planet.

We listened to worker after worker say “the economy is tearing my family apart."

We walked the streets of Cleveland, where house after house was in foreclosure.

And we said, "We're better than this. And economic justice in America is our cause."

And we spent a day, a summer day, in Wise, Virginia, with a man named James Lowe, who told us the story of having been born with a cleft palate. He had no health care coverage. His family couldn't afford to fix it. And finally some good Samaritan came along and paid for his cleft palate to be fixed, which allowed him to speak for the first time. But they did it when he was 50 years old. His amazing story, though, gave this campaign voice: universal health care for every man, woman and child in America. That is our cause.

And we do this -- we do this for each other in America. We don't turn away from a neighbor in their time of need. Because every one of us knows that what -- but for the grace of God, there goes us. The American people have never stopped doing this, even when their government walked away, and walked away it has from hardworking people, and, yes, from the poor, those who live in poverty in this country.

For decades, we stopped focusing on those struggles. They didn't register in political polls, they didn't get us votes and so we stopped talking about it. I don't know how it started. I don't know when our party began to turn away from the cause of working people, from the fathers who were working three jobs literally just to pay the rent, mothers sending their kids to bed wrapped up in their clothes and in coats because they couldn't afford to pay for heat.

We know that our brothers and sisters have been bullied into believing that they can't organize and can't put a union in the workplace. Well, in this campaign, we didn't turn our heads. We looked them square in the eye and we said, "We see you, we hear you, and we are with you. And we will never forget you." And I have a feeling that if the leaders of our great Democratic Party continue to hear the voices of working people, a proud progressive will occupy the White House.

Now, I've spoken to both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. They have both pledged to me and more importantly through me to America, that they will make ending poverty central to their campaign for the presidency.
And more importantly, they have pledged to me that as President of the United States they will make ending poverty and economic inequality central to their Presidency. This is the cause of my life and I now have their commitment to engage in this cause.

And I want to say to everyone here, on the way here today, we passed under a bridge that carried the interstate where 100 to 200 homeless Americans sleep every night. And we stopped, we got out, we went in and spoke to them.

There was a minister there who comes every morning and feeds the homeless out of her own pocket. She said she has no money left in her bank account, she struggles to be able to do it, but she knows it’s the moral, just and right thing to do. And I spoke to some of the people who were there and as I was leaving, one woman said to me, “You won’t forget us, will you? Promise me you won’t forget us.” Well, I say to her and I say to all of those who are struggling in this country, we will never forget you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you.

But I want to say this -- I want to say this because it’s important. With all of the injustice that we’ve seen, I can say this, America’s hour of transformation is upon us. It may be hard to believe when we have bullets flying in Baghdad and it may be hard to believe when it costs $58 to fill your car up with gas. It may be hard to believe when your school doesn’t have the right books for your kids. It’s hard to speak out for change when you feel like your voice is not being heard.

But I do hear it. We hear it. This Democratic Party hears you. We hear you, once again. And we will lift you up with our dream of what’s possible.

One America, one America that works for everybody.

One America where struggling towns and factories come back to life because we finally transformed our economy by ending our dependence on oil.

One America where the men who work the late shift and the women who get up at dawn to drive a two-hour commute and the young person who closes the store to save for college. They will be honored for that work.

One America where no child will go to bed hungry because we will finally end the moral shame of 37 million people living in poverty.

One America where every single man, woman and child in this country has health care.

One America with one public school system that works for all of our children.

One America that finally brings this war in Iraq to an end. And brings our service members home with the hero’s welcome that they have earned and that they deserve.

Today, I am suspending my campaign for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency.

But I want to say this to everyone: with Elizabeth, with my family, with my friends, with all of you and all of your support, this son of a millworker’s gonna be just fine. Our job now is to make certain that America will be fine.

And I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard – all those who have volunteered, my dedicated campaign staff who have worked absolutely tirelessly in this campaign.

And I want to say a personal word to those I’ve seen literally in the last few days – those I saw in Oklahoma yesterday, in Missouri, last night in Minnesota – who came to me and said don’t forget us. Speak for us. We need your voice. I want you to know that you almost changed my mind, because I hear your voice, I feel you, and your cause it our cause. Your country needs you – every single one of you.

All of you who have been involved in this campaign and this movement for change and this cause, we need you. It is in our hour of need that your country needs you. Don’t turn away, because we have not just a city of New Orleans to rebuild. We have an American house to rebuild.

This work goes on. It goes on right here in Musicians’ Village. There are homes to build here, and in neighborhoods all along the Gulf. The work goes on for the students in crumbling schools just yearning for a chance to get ahead. It goes on for day care workers, for steel workers risking their lives in cities all across this country. And the work goes on for two hundred thousand men and women who wore the uniform of the United States of America, proud veterans, who go to sleep every night under bridges, or in shelters, or on grates, just as the people we saw on the way here today. Their cause is our cause.

Their struggle is our struggle. Their dreams are our dreams.

Do not turn away from these great struggles before us. Do not give up on the causes that we have fought for. Do not walk away from what’s possible, because it’s time for all of us, all of us together, to make the two Americas one.

Thank you. God bless you, and let’s go to work. Thank you all very much.

Some of you may be curious what this does to the race for the Democratic nomination, and in that regard, I found this report from AP interesting.

Edwards, trudging through mud toward a Habitat for Humanity House he was to help work on, told reporters he would meet again with Clinton and Obama before deciding whether to make an endorsement. He set no timetable for deciding whether to endorse either candidate.

The impact of Edwards' decision will be felt in one week's time, when Democrats hold primaries and caucuses across 22 states, with 1,681 delegates at stake.

Four in 10 Edwards supporters said their second choice in the race is Clinton, while a quarter prefer Obama, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo poll conducted late this month.

Edwards amassed 56 national convention delegates, most of whom will be free to support either Obama or Clinton.

As expected, Edwards said he was suspending his campaign rather than ending it, but aides said that was simply legal terminology so that he can continue to receive federal matching funds for his campaign donations.

In suspending his campaign — instead of terminating it — Edwards keeps all 26 delegates he won in the Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina contests. After he officially exits, 10 of those delegates will be dispersed to the other candidates, with Obama getting six and Clinton getting four. Under party rules, Edwards will maintain a say in naming the other 16 delegates.

As The Nation says:

What Edwards brought --and we can't lose with his exit--is that fighting moral spirit to take back our government from corporate power and interests. It's up to progressives to ensure that Obama and Clinton heed Edwards' words --and that we keep driving the issues of economic fairness, justice and dignity into the next primaries and election.

The Future of EENR

The Edward Evening News Roundup, EENR, began in April 2007 and we've continued it every night since then. We love the family of Edwards supporters that we've come to know, and we don't want this to end.

We know that the struggle for economic and social justice in America does not end, and so we cannot stop our struggle.

Those of us on the EENR team want all of you to know that we intend to continue. Now that the Edwards campaign is over for now, we expect that we won't have enough news for a nightly diary. But we intend to continue EENR as a weekly diary on Sunday nights that will focus on the progressive causes that John Edwards and all of us are fighting for.

We are renaming it EENR for Progress. At least for now.

We hope you will continue to stand alongside us in this fight.

Now, if you'll excuse me for adding my own 2 cents here, I have something to say.

I will not endorse one of the remaining candidates in this race, but I want to say something to all those who are inspired by a figure who thinks you can sit down with corporate lobbyists and let them buy a seat at the table.

As John Edwards said, "you can't nice these people to death." Some of you may be too young to remember, but some of the folks in the generation just before my own tried that. They were called the flower children. They thought they could melt the hearts of the forces of darkness by offering flowers. Their innocence and generosity was beautiful, but the people in that generation and the generations before who accomplished something were fighters.

Because of people like the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., John Lewis, and Harry Belafonte, we got the Civil Rights Act.

Because of people like Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, and Kate Michelman, we had a national conversation about equal rights for women that nearly resulted in the Equal Rights Amendment and has enabled us to gain and to keep reproductive rights for women in spite of a right wing onslaught.

Because of people like Mahatma Gandhi, India is now the largest democracy in the world, free of colonial rule.

Because of people like John Lennon, we now realize that music can be a clarion call for justice, not just entertainment.

The struggles of those people and others have resulted in a black man like Barack Obama and a woman like Hillary Clinton finally being taken seriously as candidates for president of the United States. Maybe those candidates are not the fighters we had hoped for, and maybe there is something about being the first that demands appeasement to the status quo, but we will continue the struggle.

Flowers will not be strewn in our paths as we continue the fight for social justice. But we will fight. And we will win.

I have one flower for all of you, however, and it turns its face toward the light. And that light is YOU!

Thank you Edwards supporters everywhere! Thank you John and Elizabeth, Cate, Emma Claire, and Jack, Bobbie and Wallace, and all of the Edwards campaign staff!

P.S. I think you will find this diary on Democratic Underground interesting. It reports a conference call that Truth2Tell says happened with John and Elizabeth Edwards. I'm not quoting it here until this information is confirmed by an official source.

Today's Edwards Diary Roundup

Go in Peace by BeatAroundTheBush
Goodbye Cruel EENR by AJsMom
So Many Thanks by Tracy Joan
Attention Edwards Supporters: You Should Still Vote for Him by gypsy
Tonight on CNN...Screw You America! by persiflage
A Sad Day for Millions of Americans by RDemocrat
Edwards: A Movement, Not A Campaign by danthrax
John Edwards: "We will be Strong. We will be Unified." (W/Video of Speech & Interview) by NCDem Amy
I Cry by TekBoss
John and Elizbeth - Look At All You've Done by edgery
John Edwards Deserves... by Larry Kissell
It's Hard to Find the Words by sarahlane
Now Begin Unwelcome Eulogies for John Edwards by Straightforward

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Letter from MLK III to John Edwards

This is a video I created with the help of my friends Eddie and RedJet, a wonderful husband and wife team. Eddie does the voiceover in the video. I love his reading of this powerful letter!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

South Carolina's Native Son Rising

Check out this new ad by the Edwards campaign. I think it's really fun.

You can help to air it before the South Carolina primary on Saturday, January 26th by donating to the campaign.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

SC Debate: Clinton and Obama fight, Edwards sticks to issues

This video makes it clear why John Edwards is the best choice for President.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Edwards MLK Day Speech: "We Can No Longer Stand Silent" + Letter from MLK III

John Edwards spoke today at the NAACP's King Day rally at the Dome on the grounds of the state Capitol in Columbia, South Carolina. He spoke passionately about the importance of speaking out for all the disenfranchised in our society. He emphasized that all of us are in this together, and that we can no longer stand silent in the face of oppression.

UPDATE: See letter to John Edwards from MLK III at the end of the diary.

Edwards speaking today at the King Day rally

“I had the privilege about a year ago of speaking at the Riverside church in Harlem, a place where Dr. King had spoken 40 years ago. He had come there to speak about the war in Vietnam. And the words he used, he said there comes a time in all our lives, where if we stand quiet, if we stand silent when our conscience tells us to speak, that our silence is a betrayal. It is a betrayal of ourselves, it is a betrayal of the country we love so much. Brothers and sisters we can no longer stand silent. We have to speak out and we must speak out together.

“It is time for us to not remain silent about this war in Iraq,” Edwards continued. “It is time for us to bring our men and women home from Iraq. It is time for our voices to be heard loud and clear. It is time that we no longer stand silent because silence is betrayal to 37 million people who wake up every single day in America living in poverty, worried about feeding and clothing their children. This is the great moral issue of our time. It was the central issue, along with equality, in the life of Dr. King.

“Here in South Carolina, we talk about the Corridor of Shame. Brothers and sisters, we must turn the Corridor of Shame into a corridor of hope and opportunity for the people of South Carolina. We as a nation have an opportunity to deal with this great moral issue. So brothers and sisters, my message for today, is that we’re in this today. We are united in this effort to create hope and opportunity, and it is time for us to say enough is enough. We’re better than this. The United States of America is better than this. It is time for us to stand up, speak out, rise up together as one people and create the kind of America that all of us believe in and all of us are fighting for.

No stranger to the fight for justice and opportunity for everyone, John Edwards has laid out an impressive platform to bring balance and equality and close the income and opportunity gap throughout South Carolina and throughout our whole society.

  • Guarantee health care for every American and address the shameful racial and ethnic health disparities.

  • Strengthen schools so every child gets a great education, provide universal early childhood education classes for four-year-olds, and make college more affordable.

  • End the disgrace of two criminal justice systems and support alternatives to incarceration for first-time, non-violent offenders as well as reentry programs.

  • Create safe and affordable housing near good jobs, promote economically integrated neighborhoods and crack down on the scourge of predatory mortgage lending.

  • Protect the right to vote by restoring the right to vote in all federal elections to ex-offenders who have served their sentence and supporting secure and accessible voting ballots for all voting machines.

  • End poverty in America by strengthening families, help workers save and get ahead, reach overlooked rural areas, and expect people to help themselves by working whenever they are able.

  • Help small businesses by increasing federal contracting opportunities for minority-owned small business and use the power of the federal government to help small business.

  • Ensure environmental justice by maintaining access to the courts, disclosing the risks of plants, and enforcing the Clean Air Act strongly across the country.

  • Enforce civil rights laws by strengthening the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, choosing judges who are committed to protecting civil rights, and appointing officials who vigorously enforce our civil rights laws.

  • Close the digital divide by establishing a national broadband policy with a goal of giving all U.S. homes and businesses affordable access to real high-speed internet by 2010 and prohibiting telephone and cable companies from discriminating against rural or low-income communities in building their networks.

For more information see the fact sheet.

All of this goes right to the heart of why I have been supporting John Edwards throughout his campaign. Four years ago, he was the one candidate to bring the issue of poverty onto the national stage. He has awakened a desire in our national conscience to do what's right, by relentlessly pushing this issue.

Edwards understands that justice never comes without a fight. We are all in this together, but we need a leader who will stand strong with us.

If you missed his inspiring speech at Riverside Church last January for Martin Luther King Day, here are some excerpts:

We Shall Overcome!


Today, John Edwards received the following letter from Martin L. King III after a meeting with him at the King Center in Atlanta. PDF

January 20, 2008
Martin Luther King, III
President and CEO

The Honorable John E. Edwards
410 Market Street
Suite 400
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Dear Senator Edwards:

It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father’s legacy.

On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father’s legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.

I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are - a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.

You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don’t have lobbyists in Washington and they don’t get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.

I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.

From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.

I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.

So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father’s words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.


Martin L. King, III

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Edwards Won Big in Nevada Debate!

“And by the way, Edwards, I thought he personalized...I thought he did a really good job tonight. I thought he, we talked about the fierce urgency of facts, right, that Clinton brought out. He was heart. He was the heart and gut campaign tonight. He was very good.”

- Chuck Todd, NBC

Debate excerpts...

On Race and the Election: http://youtube.com/watch?v=8Ogf3G_kP6I

On Choosing a Candidate: http://youtube.com/watch?v=K3NSKNvaXsk

The Promise of America: http://youtube.com/watch?v=h5o5b0XZu_4

Greatest Strength: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Gr28HBGt6_8

On the Economy: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Zl82zEp9wUY

Question to Obama: http://youtube.com/watch?v=tjh9TpcpkCU

On the Poor and Middle Class: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUWKt0IDXQ

On our veterans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhw2UuL8bbc

On nuclear power: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcxHjR3uOHw

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A Grassroots Effort for Edwards and 4 New Ads

Two days ago on Daily Kos, KingOneEye proposed that Edwards supporters everywhere try to beat Ron Paul's impressive $6 million dollar in one day grassroots fundraising effort. The theory here is that a big fundraising push would not only help the Edwards campaign financially, but help him break through the mainstream media blackout on Edwards news.

Perhaps you have noticed the deafening silence from the media on John Edwards, even though he is in a very close race with Clinton and Obama in terms of the number of pledged delegates, after having come in 2nd in Iowa and 3rd in New Hampshire. The delegate total is really the only number that matters, so they should by all rights be giving him equal time.

The goal is for grassroots supporters to raise $7 million for Edwards in one day on Friday, January 18th.

There's one caveat to this effort: because it's a grassroots effort not sanctioned by the campaign, we won't know how we did unless the campaign tells us afterwards. BUT, I hope Edwards supporters will forward this to all their friends and help us raise as much money as possible on Friday!

In other news, the Edwards campaign released 4 new ads in South Carolina today that challenge the media's framing of the race as a two person race. These are great!

Narrator: Who’s the only Democrat that beats all the Republicans in the recent CNN poll? John Edwards is the only one.
John Edwards: I’m John Edwards and I approve this message

Narrator: Which Democrat opposed NAFTA and other trade deals that send American jobs overseas? John Edwards is the only one.
John Edwards: I’m John Edwards and I approve this message.

Narrator: Which Democrat has never taken a dime of campaign money from Washington lobbyists? John Edwards is the only one.
John Edwards: I’m John Edwards and I approve this message

Narrator: Who’s the only Democrat who would ban Washington lobbyists from the White House staff? John Edwards is the only one.
John Edwards: I’m John Edwards and I approve this message.

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Nevada Race a 3 Way Statistical Tie - Edwards a Very Close 3rd

This is going to be a very short diary, because I just want to give Edwards supporters some excellent news.

The race for the Nevada caucus is in a statistical dead heat, according to a new poll.

A new poll by the Reno Gazette-Journal shows a neck-and-neck three-way race among Democrats for Saturday's caucus. On the Republican side, U.S. Sen. John McCain has taken his first lead in Nevada of the election season, and Mitt Romney, who has been working Nevada harder than any other Republican, is trailing in fourth place.

A look at the top line results (more will be posted later this morning):

Barack Obama: 32 percent
Hillary Clinton: 30 percent
John Edwards: 27 percent

There is a margin of error of 4.5 percent, putting Edwards very close to within the margin of error - statistically tied with Obama and Clinton.

John Edwards will visit Nevada on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Exciting Pre-Debate Gathering
Jan 15, 2008
3:30 p.m.
Cashman Field
Corner of Las Vegas Blvd & Harris Avenue
Las Vegas, Nevada

**Our supporters and staff will gather before the debate to show all of the caucus goers and members of the local and national press on hand just how strong our grassroots campaign in Nevada really is. Click here to RSVP.

MSNBC Democratic Debate
Jan 15, 2008
6:00 p.m. Pacific
Cashman Center
850 Las Vegas Boulevard
55 E. Twain Avenue
Las Vegas, NV

Town Hall Meeting with John Edwards
Jan 16, 2008
12:30 p.m.
Grand Sierra Resort, Silver State Ballroom
Reno, Nevada
Click here to RSVP

Town Hall Meeting with John Edwards
Jan 16, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Carpenters Union Hall
501 N Lamb Blvd, between Stewart and Bonanza
Las Vegas, Nevada
Click here to RSVP

Town Hall Meeting with John Edwards
Jan 17, 2008
NEW TIME: 9:00 a.m.
Henderson Convention Center
200 Water Street
Henderson, Nevada
Click here to RSVP

To RSVP for any of these, go to the Edwards events page for Nevada. I have not recreated the "click here to RSVP" links above.

Of course, there's the debate Tuesday night, and then the caucus on Saturday.

Click here to find your caucus location or call the Edwards campaign at (702) 434-3978.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Vote, My Voice - My Ad for John Edwards

Have you heard about the My Vote, My Voice contest? The winner will have their ad concept aired on TV and will get to travel to meet John Edwards! Sweet! To enter, go here, read the rules, then create a 30 second ad to upload to YouTube in response to the contest. Hurry! The deadline is January 16th.

Here's my ad:

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why Kerry was wrong in 2004, and Edwards was right.

OK, John Kerry. It's time for a reckoning. Where's my money? Where's my Democratic president? And where's my country?

Let's review all the reasons why John Kerry was wrong and John Edwards was right in 2004, shall we?

First off, John Kerry went into the game in 2004 giving the Republicans a 40 point lead, by refusing to campaign in the South and the red states, and refusing to allow John Edwards to do so on his behalf. Do you know how many TV ads were run in North Carolina in 2004 with a North Carolinian on the ticket? Zero. Let's listen to Elizabeth Edwards talk about that for a moment.

People accuse Edwards of not winning North Carolina, as if people vote for the VP, but the fact that we didn't win North Carolina and other red states in 2004 can be squarely blamed on one person: John Kerry.

Then, do you remember how many e-mails you got from the Kerry campaign in 2004 asking you to contribute money because they were desperately in need of it? Do you know that John Kerry didn't spend $16 million of that money that he raised in 2004, and put $14 million of it into his Senate campaign fund? I don't know about you, but I want my money back.

I went to a last-minute fundraiser for the Kerry campaign in San Francisco. It cost me $1000 to go. Mere weeks later, I learned that not a penny of that money was ever spent on the campaign.

Oh well, at least I got to see John Edwards and get my copy of Four Trials signed. That's one expensive autograph, and JRE would have given it to me for free any other time.

Where is my money, John Kerry?

Worst of all, there were serious problems with the 2004 election in Ohio and other states, and they may have been enough to throw the election to George Bush, but we'll never know, because Kerry refused to contest the election.

John Edwards urged him to contest the election, and to keep their promise that they would not give up until all the votes were counted.

I don't have a link to the full passage, because I'm transcribing this from hardcopy, but this is from Elizabeth Edwards' book Saving Graces:

John came in around 1 a.m. and told me the campaign had heard that George Bush was preparing to declare victory. They wanted John to go out and speak to the crowd in Copley Square -- and the television audience -- before Bush went on the air.

"Just you?" I asked.

"Just me," he said. Senator Kerry was at his Boston home. He also spent the day thinking he had won, and the night had been hard on him. John agreed to do it. Hundreds, maybe thousands of supporters still stood outside in Copley Square, where it was cold and raining, and they deserve to hear from the ticket.

Finally, around 2 a.m. Peter Scher and John's other closest advisors came into our room with the speech someone in the campaign had written and the invisible "they" in some other room wanted John to deliver. I heard them in the next room. He couldn't give that speech, John said. It was too close to a concession, making it easier, not harder, for George Bush to declare victory while there were votes yet to be counted in Ohio. I listened from my bed as they try to rearrange the existing words into something accurate and strong. Finally, unencumbered by the suggested speech they were trying to edit, I yelled out from the bedroom: "We've waited this long. We can wait a bit longer."

John scribbled a note to himself, pulled up his tie, and headed out. I heard the roar from Copley Square as he came on stage 10 floors below me. "We've waited this long," he told the somber crowd. "We can wait a bit longer."

I woke up early the next morning. John and Cate and I had a few minutes alone to talk about all that had happened the night before and what would happen later that day, when we would all meet the Boston doctor who would later be my surgeon. I went to dress as John's staff and other members of my family started trickling in. I showered, and as I put on pants and a sweater I listened to John in the other room, arguing into a speakerphone that we could not concede until the votes were counted. "we promised," he said. "We told these people that if they stood in line and fought for their right to vote, we would fight to have them counted. We promised."

He was giving no room, but I could see that he was losing this argument to unnamed voices on the other end of the line. Someone would recite the latest numbers from Ohio, and John would counter. But he was alone, and the fight was lost.

John Edwards was fighting for us even then.

The picture of graciousness and restraint, John Edwards has made a very nice statement today about the fact that John Kerry has endorsed Obama:

"Our country and our Party are stronger because of John's service, and I respect his decision. When we were running against each other and on the same ticket, John and I agreed on many issues. I continue to believe that this election is about the future, not the past, and that the country needs a President who will fight aggressively to end the status quo and change the Washington system and to give voice to all of those whose voices are ignored in the corridors of power."

All I can say is, I'm glad John Kerry didn't endorse John Edwards. We don't need that kind of help.

John Kerry, where is my money, my Democratic president, my vote, and my country?

If you want a real fighter for our country, contribute here.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why I Will Support John Edwards through the Convention and Beyond

I've been away from my home for three weeks. I was in New Hampshire helping the Edwards campaign, then I went to Michigan for Christmas, then I was in Iowa for the caucus. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work. Sometimes it was an emotional roller coaster. Many things happened during that time, but through it all, one thing never changed: I will support John Edwards through the convention and beyond, no matter what.

I was glad to hear him reiterate last night what I first heard him say on George Stephanopoulos’ show: that he plans to stay in through the convention and to the White House. I will support him all the way.

Here's a quote from his speech last night:

Because of those who have called, and knocked on doors, and worked tirelessly on behalf of this cause, this cause to create the America that all of us believe in, because of that, I want to be absolutely clear to all of you who have been devoted to this cause, and I want to be clear to the 99% of Americans who have not yet had the chance to have their voices heard that I am in this race to the convention, that I intend to be the nominee of my party. And I am in this race until we have actually restored the American dream, and strenthened and restored the middle class of America, and so I ask all of you here and all of you who can hear the sound of my voice, the 99% whose voices have not yet been heard in this democracy to join us in this grassroots campaign to create the kind of America that all of us believe in.

This is the first time in my life that I've ever had such utter, unswerving loyalty to a candidate. There are a lot of reasons for it, but I've been struggling as to how to distill it down to the essence so I can communicate the reason to others. It boils down to my principles.

There are certain principles I've held throughout my life, and my support for John Edwards is a vibrant and clear expression of every one of them, because he embodies these principles with his actions and his policies.

Liberty - All Americans, and certainly all American politicians, give at least lip service to Liberty. How many of us really believe in it?

How many of us really believe in freedom of speech, even when we disagree with what is said? How many politicians are willing to show their respect for freedom of speech by being willing to answer hard questions on any subject? John Edwards never tries to silence dissent, and he encourages tough questions.

Edwards is not just passively in favor of freedom of speech, he actively encourages it. Throughout this campaign, he has encouraged bloggers to create political dialogue on the Internet. He has stood up for net neutrality, speaking clearly about the importance of the Internet for our democracy. He has spoken in opposition to media consolidation, even sending a letter opposing media consolidation to the FCC during a public comment period at a time when the FCC was considering adopting rules that would allow further media consolidation.

When you have Liberty, Democracy necessarily follows, since if you are free, you deserve a say in your government. How many of us really believe in democracy, even when we don't like the outcome? How many times have you been told that you have to fall in line and support the front runner, even if you disagree with them? How many times have you been told to support the person with the most cash, because fund-raising is going to determine the outcome? These are profoundly anti-democratic sentiments, but some I've heard them repeated a lot in the past 6 months.

John Edwards has repeatedly stood up for the right of every person to have a voice in this democracy. He has repeatedly stood up for the right of all people to be heard, regardless of whether they have money to give to campaigns. He has supported public financing by taking it himself, and he has never taken a dime from a Washington lobbyist. He is standing up for our right to be heard now, by staying in this race and fighting for the nomination.

Edwards believes in freedom of religion, too. I heard him speak at the Sojourners conference in Washington, DC earlier this year. That was a religious audience, and he didn't pander to them, in spite of the fact that he is religious himself. In fact, he stated clearly that people of all religions and people without a religion all deserve an equal voice in our democracy.

At every turn in this campaign, it seems to me that Edwards has always sought to empower people -- to enfranchise us at a time when we have become so accustomed to disenfranchisement.

Equality - This may be the deepest of my core principles. I haven't always expressed it perfectly, and I haven't even always understood it perfectly, but I know that few things outrage me more than people being treated unfairly and inequitably by others.

I think perhaps a principle takes root more deeply when you have struggled to understand it. I know that when I was a child, the assertion that "All Men Are Created Equal" puzzled me. The first thing I wanted to know was, why was it men? I can still remember my mother telling me that in that case "men" meant all of humanity. Given the sexism of the time when the Declaration of Independence was written, I'm not sure that was really what it meant, but it is certainly the only acceptable interpretation now.

Beyond my concern about the use of the word "men," I was still puzzled. Surely some people are more intelligent than others, some people are more attractive than others, some people are more healthy than others, some people are born with more wealth than others. So what does it really mean?

The answer that I have come to, and which I have stuck with, is that the statement "All of Humanity Is Created Equal" is true at a spiritual level. Regardless of their personality, gifts, or abilities, each person is born with equal worth. Each person has the same rights by nature or, as the Declaration says, each person is "endowed by their Creator with" these rights. In other words, you have basic human rights simply because you exist. Each person is equal to every other person simply because they are human. Nobody is better than another.

I know that John Edwards believes this to his core like I do, because I have seen the way he treats other people. It doesn't matter who you are. You could be a farmer, a schoolteacher, a blue-collar worker, a white-collar worker, a lawyer, a doctor, a senator, a person who is struggling to get by, or a wealthy campaign donor. You could be a woman or a man, you could be white, black, yellow, or brown, or any other color. John Edwards will treat you exactly the same as he treats everyone else -- with utmost respect for your humanity – and no matter who you are, if you’re his opponent, he’ll be tough on you.

I know some will say that if Equality is so important to me, why not support the “first” woman candidate or the “first” black candidate (and I could have sworn I voted for Jesse Jackson in the '80s, but according the media, I must have imagined it). The thing is, when you really see people as equal, you evaluate them on their merits. JRE is the best candidate. His gender and race are irrelevant to me.

Compassion - I think it's rather simple. If you think of all people as being equal, how can you not have compassion for them? If they have as much worth as you do, how could they possibly not merit compassion when they are suffering? To me, compassion goes along with the idea that all are created equal. Equality seems to me to imply that we are all in it together, and therefore should have compassion for one another.

As the candidate who has put poverty back on the national agenda pretty much all by himself, Edwards embodies compassion. And if everyone is of equal worth and deserves compassion, then it seems to me that universal health care is a right. Edwards will give us universal health care.

Integrity - I’m tired of all the lies. I tell the truth. I want a president who will do the same. John Edwards tells the truth. I don’t want to go negative here, but I don’t believe that about any of the other candidates in this race. Time for some truth. I trust John.

Respect for the Earth – This is fundamental. We live on this planet. We need to respect it. It is not to be bartered away to the highest bidder. We need to take care of it.

JRE has the best plan to fight global warming and develop alternative energy and he is the only one of the major candidates who opposes nuclear power. His rural agenda supports family farmers and opposes big stinky factory farms. He is the only candidate to get an endorsement from a national environmental organization, Friends of the Earth Action.

This is the right thing for me to do.

I haven't often had a sense of purpose in my life. I've spent many of my years on this earth wondering what I should be doing. I’ve been relatively successful at times, but I admit that sometimes I have felt rudderless. Not this time.

I saw what kind of man JRE was during the 2004 campaign, and I know he would be a great president for our country. When he got into this race, there was no question in my mind what I needed to do. I have been volunteering on his behalf for just over a year now and for most of that time, I’ve been doing it at least 8 hours a day, 7 days a week.

During these last few weeks and months, I've had a deep sense of peace within myself and a feeling that I was doing exactly what I was put on this earth to do. No matter what happens in this presidential election, I know I have done the right thing by supporting John Edwards. I will always be proud of that.

This is the time to fight with all we've got for the candidate who will really change this country. America needs John Edwards.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

John Edwards - Fighting Powerful Interests (N.H. debate)

Edwards rocked in last night's New Hampshire debate. Check out this quote from George Stephanopoulos on ABC:

“The exception was John Edwards. I think he showed passion and vitality and energy tonight. He was on-message. He had a strategy tonight. I think this was one of his best debates.”

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

An Edwards New Year: Photo and Video Essay

Happy New Year to everyone! I'm in Iowa volunteering for the Edwards campaign. I had a memorable New Years Day, and this will be my photo and video essay. There won't be much text in this diary, because I don't have much time today. Enjoy the photos and videos.

Yesterday morning I attended an Edwards town hall in Ames, Iowa. John and Elizabeth were there with their two youngest children, Emma Claire and Jack.

Elizabeth spoke briefly at the beginning. Here is an excerpt:

Jack came and stood next to his mother during part of her speech. He was a big hit without saying a word.

Elizabeth introduced Mari Culver, first lady of Iowa, who introduced John.

John spoke briefly, but passionately.

And then took several questions...

On whether he would have Colin Powell in his cabinet...

On third party candidates in debates...

On health care...

On disability, immigration, and energy policy...

Great event, and I have been very happy to meet some friends here whom I have previously known only online.

Later that evening, I went to a phone bank at the Steelworkers union hall. John Edwards came by and spoke briefly to a large and extremely enthusiastic crowd of volunteers (and media).

I'm off to do more canvassing and phone banking today and then there's the rally with JRE and John Mellencamp this evening...and of course, the caucus tomorrow.

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