From NBC/NJ's Tricia Miller
WINNSBORO, S.C. -- Edwards portrayed himself as the best candidate to run against Republican John McCain a day after he won the Republican primary here.
"Well, he is starting to look like the Republican nominee," Edwards said in response to a reporter's question about McCain, "and I think it's important for us to have somebody to run against McCain who can beat him. And national polls show that I'm the one who beats John McCain in the general election. And second, I think even more important than that, this is a guy who's made central to his political life campaign finance reform. It seems to me we ought to be putting somebody up against him who's never taken money from special interest PACs or Washington lobbyists. Between the three of us, that's me."
Edwards' response echoes the campaign ads he has been running here on cable. They have appeared much more often than anything Obama or Clinton have been running this past week. The ads feature pictures of Obama and Clinton side by side and asks specific questions like, who's the only candidate not to take money from Washington lobbyists? Then an announcer says, John Edwards is the only one.
Edwards took questions after his second brief meet-and-greet of the day. He first stopped at a bistro in Newberry; this stop was at the Barn Xpress restaurant and convenience store.
Edwards also admitted that he got his "butt kicked" in Nevada and declined to name primary states where he would need to start winning.
"What I'm going to do is run with everything I've got, fight for the things I care about," he said. "We have 47 states left. Three have voted so far. So we got a long way to go, and I'm in this for the long term."
Asked about his lack of support among African-Americans, Edwards blamed "overwhelming massive national publicity" given his two rivals.
"When I get heard in the African-American community they'll understand that I'm the strongest proponent of doing something about poverty, for universal health care, for raising the minimum wage, for a whole group of things that directly impact the African-American community," he said.
In his final stop today, the candidate will attend the NAACP's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at Zion Baptist Church in Columbia.