John Edwards Speaks at Georgia Democrats Annual Dinner

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(APN) ATLANTA — Former US Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), a 2008 Presidential Candidate, spoke at this year’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, an annual function of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

“I look at what America is confronted with… the open sore that is Iraq. America needs to be leaving Iraq,” Edwards said in his remarks.

“Democrats have met their responsibility… sent a bill to the President. I think Congress should send the President another bill. If he vetoes it, send him another bill. If he vetoes it, send him another bill. If he vetoes it, send him another bill.”

“The world thinks of America as a bully. This has to change,” Edwards said.

“The President during his first 90 days in office needs to travel the world and speak to the world,” he said.

“There’s genocide in West Sudan, in Darfur. This is what the world sees: The most powerful country declared genocide… but stands by and watches.”

“We’re better than this. We’re not the America of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib,” Edwards said.

Edwards also spoke about global warming in his remarks. He proposed “cap and trade” policies for emissions.

“It’s time for the President of the United States to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war,” he said.

Edwards also spoke about his universal health care plan. As reviewed in the Atlanta Progressive News, Edwards and Kucinich are the only candidates with specific universal health care plans.

However, Edwards’s plan has been criticized by single-payer advocates, for keeping in private profits for insurance industries. Kucinich’s plan, on the other hand, is single-payer and says goodbye to private profits for insurance industries.

“Employers have to cover [workers] and pay into a fund… Subsidize premiums up to $100,000… Health care markets include private and public. The public is basically a Medicare Plus. The cost of this is between $90-120 billion per year and it’s paid for by rolling back George Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest,” Edwards said.

“We have to be strong and bold. We have to be visionary and willing to lead. Don’t look at focus groups and polls,” Edwards said.

Edwards said he had a plan to end poverty; however, he did not enumerate all the items in a way the audience could understand. Some components of his plan include raising the federal minimum wage, strengthening the labor movement, and college for everyone.

Edwards’s “College for Everyone” plan promises tuition and books covered for any student who works 10 hours per week while in school, he said.

“We have a huge income and wealth disparity. We need to strengthen the middle class,” Edwards said.

Edwards was introduced by Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who got frustrated when audience members wouldn’t quiet down for her remarks. “I’m not going to keep talking,” she threatened.

About 1500 people were in attendance, including copious local politicians and candidates as well as party leaders and activists from across the State. Edwards was escorted by former Governor Roy Barnes.

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is News Editor for Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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