Kerry, Edwards court voters

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 12, 2004

RALEIGH – The Kerry-Edwards ticket brought their four-day barnstorming tour to a close Saturday in John Edwards’ home state of North Carolina.

The newly minted Democratic ticket shared their plan to restore hope at home and respect in the world with a crowd of approximately 15,000, 10,000 short of an estimated 25,000 expected to attend the pep rally event at North Carolina State University.

Using a theme of &uot;values,&uot; Kerry and Edwards spoke about their plans to change the direction of the nation.

Down talking the present administration by accusing it of three-and-a-half years of squandering the nation’s leadership abroad and doing nothing to lift up middle-class families at home, the Democrats said America could do better and stated that they did not have to be satisfied with a record of skyrocketing costs, lower paying jobs and shredded alliances in the world.

&uot;Together, we are going to fight for the America that we love,&uot; Kerry said. &uot;We’ll be fighting for good paying jobs that let American families actually get ahead and an America where the middle class is doing better, not being squeezed.&uot;

Despite the fact that the Congressional record reflects Kerry’s consistent vote for higher taxes on parents and married couples and support for the controversial practice of abortion (partial birth or early term), Kerry spoke of his plan to make the future better for families.

&uot;We embrace the politics of hope, hope for families and hope for children,&uot; implored Kerry, citing the values his late parents, a former Army Air Corp and 50-year Girl Scout leader, taught him.

&uot;My parents taught me values, faith, responsibility and character, about God, family, flag and country and we bring the vision of a lifetime of values to America.&uot;

On the issue of legalization of homosexual marriage, Kerry slammed those with conservative religious convictions stating, &uot;I believe the real test of values is not the forced values that divide, but the shared values that unite.&uot;

Other issues addressed were the issue of tax loopholes related to outsourcing, funding for educational programs, tobacco buyout, healthcare and investigating alternate and renewable sources of energy and, of course, the war.

Backing up his choice in Edwards as Vice President, Kerry remarked, &uot;Senator Edwards has more experience than President Bush in foreign policy&uot; adding his assurance that when he is elected to the office of President, the U.S. will never go to war because it wants to, but because it has to.

&uot;I watched Edwards in the Senate and I’ve seen his record in congress and I believe he represents the values of North Carolina and America,&uot; said Kerry touting, &uot;I want a government that tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.&uot;

Making claims to create millions of new, better-paying jobs, while putting an end to tax breaks that encourage companies to move jobs overseas, Kerry stated his intentions to restore fiscal responsibility to Washington and cut the deficit in half over a period of four years.

The supposed plan was accredited with the ability to save families up to $1,000 on health care costs, make college more accessible and affordable with new tax credits and help Americans balance the needs of work and family by expanding high-quality after school programs and programs such as Early Head Start and Head Start.

&uot;I would like to see the amount of money given to fund educational and after school programs go from $6,000 to $10,000 or $11,000 per child,&uot; he said.

He also targeted tobacco farmers by suggesting they deserved a legitimate buyout, but offered no plan of attack.

&uot;We’re ready to take back the White House, and we’re ready to do the most important work of our country – to make America strong at home again and respected in the world,&uot; Kerry said. &uot;We’re a country of the future. We’re a country of optimists. We’re the can-do people, and we just need to believe in ourselves.&uot;

Edwards echoed his remarks stating &uot;John Kerry and I believe our country’s best days are ahead of us and that there’s nothing America can’t do if we just put our minds to it. With your help, we’re going to win this election, we’re going to make America stronger and we’re going to create respect for America all around the world.&uot;

Since appearing together for the first time in Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning, Kerry and Edwards have journeyed across the country talking to voters and sharing their vision for a stronger America. On the tour, they made stops in Ohio, Florida, New York, West Virginia and New Mexico.

Over the next four months, Kerry and Edwards will continue to campaign across the country.