1/19/08

Class-warrior shifts to friendly battleground

On the eve of the Nevada caucuses, John Edwards has already skipped out of the state on a fly-around tour, looking ahead to states that are holding primary contests on Feb. 5.

On Friday evening, he returned to friendly territory in Oklahoma, where he took second place in 2004, one of his strongest finishes. (He won South Carolina that year, and came in second place in Wisconsin and Missouri.)

Mr. Edwards was greeted, as he often is, by a boisterous crowd of union members. Speaking at the Oklahoma City Teamsters Local 886, he touted his ties to labor unions, promising that if elected, he would be represent their interests in the White House.

“No one will be a stronger champion in the White House for the organized labor movement,” Mr. Edwards said. “No one will stand stronger with the labor movement than I will.”

And he suggested that the Democratic party had strayed from its principles, evidenced by candidates who have what he said were ties to lobbyists and drug companies.

“This is not the Democratic party I believe in,” he said. “I believe in the party that stands up for the middle class, for working men and women.”

It was Mr. Edwards’s second trip to Oklahoma City in one week, but as he did on Tuesday, he stayed only a matter of hours – his plane was set to leave for St. Louis shortly after the event.

(thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)

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