Edwards brings campaign to Main Line

Oscar Abello

HAVERFORD, Pa.-Thousands of supporters and volunteers gathered at nearby Haverford College to attend a town-hall style meeting with Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards on Oct. 18.

The candidate started the afternoon with a response to Bush’s remarks in New Jersey earlier that day, saying, “The first casualty of a desperate presidential campaign is the truth.”

Edwards continued by criticizing Bush for his alleged lax homeland security policy. In particular, he drew a laugh from the crowd when he noted how investigative journalists have easily smuggled explosives into the country, claiming that, “If journalists can do it, terrorists can do it.”

He accused the Bush administration of “creating a haven for terrorists [in Iraq] that didn’t exist before.” Edwards was clearly on the offensive for the afternoon, taking every opportunity to criticize the current administration.

Although terrorism clearly dominated Edwards’s opening remarks, the event was slated to be a town-hall style meeting to discuss health care issues.

After about 20 minutes behind the podium, Edwards took questions from the crowd, covering a broad range of topics both on health care and on policy in general. In answering questions from the crowd Edwards highlighted several statistics to support the Kerry-Edwards plan versus the Bush-Cheney record thus far.

“Five million people have lost their health care,” noted Edwards, “Meanwhile four million will drop into poverty, and health care premiums have gone up.” One of Edwards’ most poignant criticisms was the detachment from reality he said afflicts the Bush administration.

“He has no idea what’s going on in people’s lives,” he said. “He has no clue what’s going on out here. You can’t fix a mess unless you know there is a mess.”

Another point Edwards emphasized concerned recent television advertisements paid for by the Bush-Cheney campaign. In one case, a detailed chart is displayed to suggest the Kerry-Edwards health care plan is very complicated. Edwards said bluntly, “That is a lie and they know it.”

Among the diverse crowd were groups representing the Action Alliance of Senior Citizens, who voiced their concern over health care, as well as representatives from the Service Employees International Union.

A number of Republicans were in the audience as well, and in fact, a Republican Iraq war veteran introduced Edwards to the crowd. A large number of college students were in attendance, from various area colleges. Representatives from the University’s College Democrats attended.