After announcing his candidacy for President of the United States earlier this morning from New Orleans’s Upper Ninth Ward, Edwards took part in a live-blogging event on Daily Kos. Here are some excerpts:

On the genocide in Darfur:

There are lots of things America could do to end the genocide, including enforcement of the no-fly zone so that the Janjaweed militia don’t have air cover. Second is stronger, stricter economic sanctions against the Sudanese government, which supports the militias. And finally, tougher diplomacy with the Chinese, who are propping up the Sudanese government and therby the genocide.

On the War in Iraq:

We should first reject the escalation called for by Senator McCain and others. We need to make it clear we’re leaving Iraq by withdrawing 40,000-50,000 troops immediately, and continue that process over time so that the Iraqis take responsibility for themselves. There are no good options, but ultimately Iraq will require a political solution, not just military.

On improving the job market:

In the short term, we should provide college debt relief for those interested in working in areas where we need help — teching, nursing, homeland security, etc.
In the longer term, we need to address the wealth disparity in America, strengthen and grow the middle class, and thereby strenghten the economy. One of the ways to do that is by investing in a new energy economy, which can create new jobs and move America towards energy efficiency and away from the use of carbon based fuels, and help get America off its addiction to oil.

On health care:

I believe we need a universal health care system where ALL Americans have health care coverage. I’m working on a plan right now for universal healthcare, and if you have ideas I would love to hear them.

On the need for fair prescription drug policies:

Pharma got its way on the Medicare prescription drug bill, and as a result imports from Canada were not allowed, and the government using its market power to negiotiate prices was prohibited. We cannot let big pharma dictate public policy.

On educational reform:

We should take college for everyone national, and strengthening Pre-K is critical, by starting younger, more training for those who teach, and providing for the nutritional and healthcare needs of pre-k kids.

On the need to campaign nationally:

We have to compete everywhere if we want to be a strong national party — and if we want to truly change America.

Oh, and by the way, everyone on Cenla Antics seems to be talking about Wal-Mart. Well, here’s a video of John Edwards speaking at a Wake Up Wal-Mart rally earlier this year:

6 thoughts

  1. Interesting video. I like the fact that it doesn’t seem to be staged like most political adds are. The guy seems likeable but we need to know more about his beliefs and values if he wants to be President.

    It’s rather ironic that he blasts Wal-Mart while riding around in his private jet with his travel companion “Matt”

  2. This video actually brings up a great point, not just on the political front, but in the lives of our local citizens as well:

    The levels of wages in Central Louisiana are deplorable, always have been. I am like so many people from the area, I have left and moved elsewhere just because I cannot make enough money in my field if I were to stay in Cenla. The majority of our workers make the bare minimum — minimum wage, $5.15 per hour. And, once the democrats raise it to the still unliveable $7.00 per hour, most of them will make only that.

    I did an economics study a few years back that found that the actual liveable wage throughout most of Louisiana (the minimum you need just to live and work) is actually above $10 per hour ($15 in New Orleans). Unfortunately, very very few people earn that.

    In that same study I looked at the effects of raising the minimum wage and found that as a local or state government it wasn’t feasable. For us to be able to have the sort of wage increase we need, we would have to get Texas, Mississippi, and Arkansas to do it as well. Otherwise companies would just move across the borders.

    What this study showed, was that although we do desparately need a sturdy increase in wages in all sectors, what we need more than anything is to make an immediate improvement to the value of existing wages.

    This Value of Wages means simply what you can buy / how you can live on what you make. In Louisiana we have one of the worst value of wages in the civilized world. Most workers have no health insurance, no dental coverage, get no vacations, and recieve no training/educational benefits (so they can one day better their position economically).

    Not only Wal-Mart, but all national companies, and many local businesses too, rely on this worker profiteering to boost their bottom lines. Some of them have great PR platforms where they do offer insurance and benefits to their full-time employees, or even their part-timers…granted they work enough hours.

    The over abundance of part-time employment in our economy has been the weakest aspect of our development prospects for decades. Under current law, classifying an employee as part-time frees the employer from providing any benefits to its employees.

    I would propose that we first at a local level, and then at a state and regional post – demand that our local elected representatives pass a law that provides for mandatory health/dental insurance, a yearly education bonus, regular pay raises, and a 401k.

    There’s a simple way of making this work for even hourly clerks at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart: Base it on a 40-hour work week.

    In the US a standard work-week is considered 40 hours. Most employers make it a point to schedule their employees for between 25-39 hours per week to make sure they don’t have to pay benefits. So fine…make these standard benefits part of the hourly wage.

    If a full-time employee with benefits works 40 hours per week to get his insurance and such, that means that for every hour he works, he is earning 1/40th of his benefits.

    So, mandate that ALL employers have to pay 1/40th the cost of those same benefits to their employees for each hour worked.

    This does two things: for one, it gives the majority of hour region’s workers something they’ll never get otherwise – benefits. Two, it takes away the incentive of employers not to have full-time workers. If they are having to provide all workers woth the same benefits, it lessens the financial apeal of hiring some poor local to work 6 hours a night at 3 in the mornint for Wal-mart versus having a full-time worker with a steady income.

    This proposal would value to wages — all wages, no matter what level they are. And, it would improve the lives of everyone in the region. Afterall, how insane is it that in the most advanced society in the world, the average worker can’t afford to go to the doctor if he needs to.

    This is really the easiest and most logical approach to improving our local wage crisis. But, it would require us to demand, not just request something of our elected officials, hold them to our wishes (and not those of lobbies like LBI), and make change happen.

    And afterall, what’s Wal-Mart going to do…pack up and leave? Not likely…

  3. Hang on to your pocketbooks if he gets elected. Fucking
    Fucking liberal bastard can’t think of anything
    but raising taxes!

  4. When was that rally I wonder? Back in July, Edwards went to a big screening of his film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, for Walmart execs and employees at the invitation of their CEO. (Related article at http://walmart.nwanews.com/wm_story.php?paper=adg&storyid=160372)
    Maybe Edwards can make some headway for positive change with the powers-that-be at Wal-mart headquarters.

    I heard Edwards speak at the Riverfront Center when he was campaigning as Kerry’s V.P. designate. I believe he would have been a better Democratic presidential candidate then than was Kerry, but I’m liking Obama for the run in ’08. Barack is much more centrist in addition to the attributes of intelligence, breadth of knowledge, and charisma. ’07-’08 should be an interesting couple of years, politically speaking.

  5. Big-time brain lapse for me, folks! Must be too much Sudafed today. It was, of course, Al Gore- different 2004 campaigner, duh- who made the film and presented it to Wal-mart. In the words of Emily Latela, “never mind”!

    Perhaps I should start posting anonymously…

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