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Edwards says he’s ready to fight for the middle class

AP Photo

By AMY LORENTZEN

Associated Press Writer

WAUKON, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Thursday continued his populist appeal to Iowa voters, saying he’s the White House hopeful who will fight hardest for the middle class.

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Edwards has been trying to hammer home his message that he’ll stand up to special interests in Washington. As part of the effort, he has launched an eight-day, 38-county tour keeping him in Iowa until the caucuses, which begins the 2008 nominating process.

"My belief is that we desperately need to make this government work for everybody again. We need to stand up to the forces of corporate greed that are destroying the middle class of this country," he told a crowd of about 150 people packed tightly into a small restaurant bar in northeastern Iowa.

Edwards reminded them that despite his wealth as an adult, he grew up in a working-class family and knows their struggles.

"The truth is, all of us have an enormous responsibility to our children, to our grandchildren to do what our parents did for us and our grandparents did for us — to give them a better life," he said. "I have no intention of letting this corporate power and corporate greed get in the way"

He added: "It’s time we actually have an American president who will stand up for the middle class."

As a child, Edwards said he was in a fight and got bruised and bloodied. When he came home, his father told him he’d better never start a fight, "but I don’t ever want to see you walk away from one."

Edwards said his father instructed him to find the kid who "kicked your butt, and I want you to go and find him tomorrow and kick his butt."

The former North Carolina senator told the crowd he’s been fighting back against the bullies and big interests his entire life, and that when they choose someone to support for president "you better send somebody into that arena who’s ready for a fight."

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While Edwards has been trailing rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the polls, he told voters that there are "still an awful lot of caucus-goers" who haven’t made up their minds.

"I just want to be sure that you know you have a choice," Edwards said.

He predicted that come caucus night on Jan. 3, voters would prove the pollsters and media wrong.

"I think one week from tonight, you are going to stand up, your are going to rise and say ’enough is enough,’ " he said. "You are going to start a wave of change across this country that cannot be stopped."

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