Edwards in Portland

Yesterday, John Edwards rocked a packed house in Portland. Hundreds of Oregonians jammed the ILWU union hall - and heard Edwards make his case for the presidency. From Willamette Week:

A crowd circled the presidential candidate town-hall style at noon today at the ILWU Hall in Northwest Portland. Organizers said the total number of attendees hit the 1,000 mark with all chairs and bleachers taken and several admirers standing.

At the Portland event, Edwards unveiled his first TV spot:

BlueOregon alumnus Jonathan Singer, who attended, noted at MyDD that Edwards explained why he didn't raise his hand during the MSNBC debate when asked about the "Global War on Terror". Quoting Edwards:

And I don't know how many of you even noticed this or how many of you watched the Democratic presidential debate from South Carolina, but I suspect some of you did. But a question was asked whether you agree with the language - the Bush language, which is what it is - "Global War on Terror." And I did not. And I said, I took that position at the debate... This is a political frame and political rhetoric. They use it to justify everything they do. They use that language to justify the war in Iraq. They use it to justify Guantanamo. They use it to justify torture. They use it to justify illegal spying on the American people.

Earlier in the day, the campaign announced that Speaker Jeff Merkley has endorsed John Edwards for President. Merkley joins Senator Margaret Carter and attorney Bob Stoll as a co-chair of the Oregon for Edwards campaign.

After the town hall event, Edwards made an unplanned stop at the MoveOn.org emergency veto rally. Someone in the crowd asked, "What will you do on your first day in office?" Edwards replied: "I'm going to close Guantanamo!" Photo by JCTownsley.


On the jump, more from WW on the issues Edwards discussed at the town hall...

After just seconds on the stage he immediately pounced on Bush’s embarrassing "Mission Accomplished" stunt four years ago, but then pressed on to fresher meat: “Congress also has a mission not accomplished—to stop this war in Iraq!”

He said the president is ignoring the will of the people by vetoing the Iraq War Resolution yesterday. “If the president wants to veto a bill that funds the troops and brings them home," he said, "Congress should send another.”

Edwards emphasized the need to strengthen the middle class and the importance of organized labor in guaranteeing this. “There should be a simple rule: If you can join the Republican Party by just signing your name, it should be the same with joining a union!” Needless to say, the union-heavy crowd went wild.


  • ellie (unverified)

    After the town hall event, Edwards made an unplanned stop at the MoveOn.org emergency veto rally. Someone in the crowd asked, "What will you do on your first day in office?" Edwards replied: "I'm going to close Guantanamo!"

    I didn't go to the rally but I remember him saying this at the "town hall" meeting.

    Kinda off-topic: I'm curious about whether or not Progressive Happy Hour is still alive and well. If so, how does one get details? On-topic tie-in: It would be nice to discuss the Edwards visit (and other candidates' potential upcoming visits) with like-minded progressives. :)

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)

    At the risk of bringing in a discordant note, John Edwards is right on just about every issue out there, but he is wrong on a VERY big issue - free trade. He's against it.

    So, for me, it's between Barack and Hillary.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    So, for me, it's between Barack and Hillary.

    Great. That way we can count on keeping an attack on Iran on the table.

    I have strong reservations about Edwards, especially because he voted for the war despite being on the intelligence committee in 2002 and knowing the public propaganda was all lies. There is also the factor that he doesn't have enough political experience to be president. The same can be said of Obama. Unfortunately, Hillary has too much - of the wrong kind.

  • Michael Meo (unverified)

    Unless a genuine alternative, such as Alaska governor Mike Gravel, emerges from the primaries I will be regarding Edwards as an acceptable evil.

    I agree with his opposition to Iraq, and his support for working people.

    I am horrified by his pandering to Israel. He is only against agressive war when it has become unpopular.

  • jallen (unverified)

    Hey Urban Planning Overlord, none of the Democratic candidates, save maybe Bill Richardson, are for unregulated trade. Nor are any of them against trade. The reality is that a huge number of people oppose unregulated trade. Strong constituencies in the Democratic Party oppose unregulated trade. Democrats cannot oppose such widespread opinion easily. Here, check this PIPA study: http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/Globalization/CAFTA_Jul05/CAFTA_Jul05_rpt.pdf

    The press release says at one point: Presented three options only 16% endorsed current government policy saying, “I support the growth of international trade in principle and I approve of the way the US is going about expanding international trade.” But only 23% chose a position in opposition to the growth of trade. Rather 56% chose the position “I support the growth of international trade in principle, but I am not satisfied with the way the US government is dealing with the effects of trade on American jobs, the poor in other countries and the environment.”

    It might encourage you to know that Edwards merely is promoting stronger labor and environmental standards, including carbon emissions caps, in our trade agreements, that he will pursue further trade if he is elected; he has said he will seek fast-track authority.

  • MCR (unverified)

    Gravel is a nutjob. He wants a national initiative. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of a nightmare that would be!

  • Heals (unverified)
    <h2>I went to the Edwards event at the Park Blocks thanks to a 'evite' from Move-On, however prior to Edwards' arrival it was a very sorry event; the most disorganized, boring, pathetic 'anti-veto' rally or any rally for that matter! My God, what if Edwards never showed?! There was absolutely no organization. My heart goes out to spokesperson for Move-On (full disclosure, I am not a member of Move-On) who spoke her part but then inexplicably allowed 'open-mike' until Edwards showed (or was he? No one seemed to be all that certain.) What resulted were speakers who liked hearing the sound of their own voice and a parade of 'conspiracy' minded individuals (9/11 was a hoax, etc.) intent on getting out the word about the big lie. Give Edwards points for showing up at an event like this...but, please, in the future get a damn agenda!</h2>
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