From NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
John Edwards called into Al Sharpton's radio show this afternoon to speak about last night's debate and his war on poverty, but he took advantage of the opportunity to offer up an apparent dig to Clinton and his other opponents. Edwards called for "big change, bold change" for the country to change a system that is "rigged for big insurance companies, drug companies, and oil companies."
"What possible reason do they have to give up their power? They're not going to give it away. We have to take it away from them," Edwards asserted. "We cannot get bold change by compromising with the people who have the power now. Compromise is not going to get us there, triangulation is not going to get us there, being careful is not going to get us there. We need somebody who's used to fighting these people and beating them and I've been doing it my whole life."
On poverty, Edwards acknowledged it will take some work to make average Americans relate to the issue, but he also said they just need a leader to make it a big issue for them. "I think a lot times, it's sorta out of sight, out of mind and they're not thinking about it," Edwards said. "We make them think about it, put a bright light on the poverty that still exists in this country, which, as you know, we just did for a few days traveling across America. I think it helps."
Sharpton asked Edwards why he would be a good candidate for African Americans when he is running against a woman, an African American, and a "Mexican." A dropped call did not allow Edwards to respond but when Edwards called back into the show, Sharpton rephrased the question without labeling Richardson as a Mexican. Edwards listed the issues that most affect the African American community: poverty, health care coverage, minimum wage, environmental degradation, and the war in Iraq. He asserted he has the "strongest, most aggressive bold plans" for these issues and that he would continue to lead on them as President.
On the debate's format, Edwards was happy. "I think anytime you're answering questions from real people, real voters, as opposed to just journalists, it's a better thing," Edwards said. "I think that's what we got last night. We got some questions you expect to get, some were off the wall, but that's the way voters are. There's nothing wrong with that. That's good."