From NBC/NJ's Tricia Miller
DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Edwards gave an amped up version of his stump speech at the Colts Community Center as the campaign neared six days to the caucus.
After introductions from U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley and Iowa First Lady Mari Culver, both Edwards endorsers, the candidate stood to tell Iowans that there are "four truths" that need to be spoken before the caucus.
"Everything that makes America America is threatened today. The very things that make the promise of equal opportunity possible are at risk," he said first. He added that the election is not just another round in a fight between political parties but an "epic struggle for the America we believe in."
Sounding a familiar theme, Edwards made his third point by accusing corporate interests of flexing their financial muscle to control Washington. Finally, with his fourth point he called for a fight he said was necessary to effect real change.
Following the fourth point Edwards abandoned his notes to lapse back into his usual stump speech. He pulled the microphone away from the podium to give his now-familiar "America rising" refrain:
"I believe in my heart and soul that every time we speak for 47 million Americans who have no health care coverage in America, America rises," he said. "When we speak for those women who were turned away from the shelter in Des Moines, Iowa, because they had no place to live and they had no place to put 'em in the shelter -- when we stand up for them, America, our country, rises.
"When we speak for 35 million people who went hungry in this country last year, for 200,000 veterans who have no place to live, when we speak for all the working people in this country in the middle class who have lost their jobs because of corporate greed, because of trade deals that enrich big corporations, because of tax policy that gave tax breaks to American companies sending jobs overseas, when we speak for them, America, this country that your mother, your father, your grandfather, your grandmother, struggled and sacrificed -- every time we stand up for these people, America rises."
After the speech Edwards moved out from behind the podium to take questions from the audience. They asked about trade, community service and the federal deficit, in addition to a question about how he would interact with Pakistan as president.
Edwards is scheduled to make three more stops today with community meetings in Clinton, Tipton and Davenport, but snow and slippery roads are making travel slow-going in eastern Iowa. The Main Street Express didn't pull out of Dubuque until almost 3:00 pm CT for the event in Clinton, which was scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. and is a little more than 70 miles away.