From NBC's Elizabeth Wilner
Former Sen. John Edwards (D) told NBC's Matt Lauer on TODAY this morning that he's running for president to urge people to take action to change things and make the country better. He rejected the suggestion that his lack of foreign policy experience will be a problem, arguing that the current Administration has a wealth of foreign policy experience and it hasn't helped them figure out what to do about Iraq. And he repeated his earlier repudiation of his vote in favor of the war.
In an e-mail sent to supporters overnight, Edwards emphasized a new approach he's taking in this second attempt to win the presidency: posting video clips of himself on YouTube as he goes about his campaign in an effort to let supporters get a look at him that's unfiltered by the media. One emerging theme of Edwards' is that he spent too much time during his first campaign listening to his paid consultants tell him what to do and say, and not enough time letting people see the real him. This is evident even in Edwards' statement yesterday about the passing of President Gerald Ford: "President Ford once said, 'At times it feels as if American politics consists largely of candidates without ideas, hiring consultants without convictions, to stage campaigns without content… It doesn't have to be this way.' He was right."
It's a theme that could serve Edwards well if he has to campaign for the Democratic nomination against "real, unvarnished" Barack Obama -- and against Sen. Hillary Clinton, who seems to strike some voters as too cautious and politically calculating. From New Orleans, Edwards sets off on a series of town halls in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.