From NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
Once again, Edwards joined the striking Writers Guild and other union members in solidarity, after marching with the the WGA members in Burbank earlier this month. Although he spoke for less than four minutes, the union members rallied around the presidential candidate, yelling out encouraging words.
"The truth is, [unions are] crucial for the future of America," Edwards said in New York City's Washington Square Park. "It is why, when I'm president of the United States, when you're out walking the picket line, nobody will be able to walk through that picket line and take your job away from you. You're going to have a president who actually stands with you, when you're working, when you're collectively bargaining, when you're standing up for workers, yourself, and fellow workers across this country."
Before leaving the rally, Edwards had a message for the union members on strike. "I'm proud to be with you; stay strong," he said to an increasing amount of cheers. "Stay strong. Stay together. You're doing the right thing. Continue to do the right thing."
After he finished speaking at the rally, Edwards held an availability with reporters, who had to strain to hear him since the rally was still going on. Answering a question about how the African-American vote seems split between Clinton and Obama -- but not Edwards -- the former North Carolina senator said nothing is wrong. "I think people in New York and across America, and in the African-American community, just need to hear my message," he replied.
"Jesse Jackson wrote about this in the last 24 hours," he added, referring to Jackson's Chicago Sun-Times column (that the Edwards campaign sent to reporters), in which he said that all the Democratic presidential candidates, save Edwards, have ignored the plight of African Americans. "It is the cause of my life to end poverty in this country. And it is the cause I have spoken about ... doing something about two Americas... We've been dealing with a lot of celebrity and glitz lately in this campaign. And the closer we get to the actual election, with people caucusing and casting their votes, more likely they are going to vote for someone with substance who's actually ready to deal with the things they've been talking about."
Another reporter asked Edwards if Bush should be leaning harder on Israel to negotiate at the meeting in Annapolis. Edwards did not directly answer the question and instead attacked Bush on waiting so long to act. "What the President should have been doing is he should have been engaged in this on the last several years," he said. "It's been a very sporadic distant engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian issue. And I'm glad that the President is going to take some action but it's awful late in his second term."