John Edwards Joins Presidential Race

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By NEDRA PICKLER
The Associated Press
Thursday, December 28, 2006; 1:55 AM

NEW ORLEANS -- Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards jumped into the presidential race Wednesday a day earlier than he'd planned, prodded by an Internet glitch to launch a candidacy focused on health care, poverty and other domestic issues.

The North Carolina Democrat's campaign accidentally went live with his election Web site a day before an announcement Thursday that was scheduled to use Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans as a backdrop.

The slip-up gave an unintended double-meaning to his campaign slogan on the John Edwards '08 Web site: "Tomorrow begins today."

Aides quickly shut down the errant Web site but could not contain news of the obvious, even in the shadows of former President Ford's death.

"Better a day earlier than a day late," said Jennifer Palmieri, an Edwards adviser.

Late Wednesday, Edwards announced his intentions to supporters in an e-mail. "I'm running to ask millions of Americans to take responsibility and take action to change our country and ensure America's greatness in the 21st century," he wrote.

Earlier, Edwards visited the site of his planned announcement for a photo opportunity. He did yard work at the home of Orelia Tyler, 54, whose house was gutted by Hurricane Katrina and is close to being rebuilt.

In his e-mail, Edwards said he chose to announce in New Orleans because it demonstrates the power people have to build America when they take responsibility instead of leaving it to Washington.

Edwards listed five priorities to change America. Among them: "Guaranteeing health care for every single American," "Strengthening our middle class and ending the shame of poverty," "Leading the fight against global warming," and "Getting America and the world to break our addiction to oil."

He also listed "Providing moral leadership in the world _ starting with Iraq, where we should begin drawing down troops, not escalating the war."

Edwards, 53, also issued a statement on Ford's death, saying he was deeply saddened by the news and calling the former Michigan Republican a "true leader."

"He called on us to never lose faith that we can change America," Edwards said.


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© 2006 The Associated Press

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