From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
HENDERSON, NV -- Edwards, confident that the race in Nevada remains a three-way contest, directly targeted his rivals at the start of a town hall meeting this morning.
The former North Carolina senator criticized Obama specifically for referring to Ronald Reagan as an agent of change in a newspaper interview. "I would never use Ronald Reagan as an example of change," Edwards said. "You think about what Ronald Reagan did, to America, the American people, to the middle class, to working people. He was openly, openly intolerant of unions and the right to organize."
In an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, Obama said that Reagan "changed the trajectory of America," and said Americans "want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship."
"I could promise you this," Edwards said. "This president will never use Ronald Reagan as an example."
Edwards also injected himself into the debate between Obama and Clinton over what style of leader they'd be. He said Clinton wants to be a president "who knows how to manage" and "shuffle the papers around," while Obama thinks the nation needs a president "who knows how to give a great speech." "Here's what I think: I think what we need in the next president of the United States is somebody with some guts and fight and determination."
Later, Edwards called on a woman who complained that the "Eastern media" was acting like he wasn't in the race. "Please, let the Eastern people know, the reason we're in the West, the reason we're doing this caucus, is to not count out people and have a coronation," she said. "Don't let them take your voice away cause you're our voice."
Edwards responded by saying the coverage is "remarkable." "We've learned, whether it's in a focus group … or any time I get in front of voters, people respond powerfully to the energy and the passion and the heartfelt ideas that I'm talking about," he said. "I think you're right. I think it's time to call these people on it."