Thursday, May 22, 2003

John Edwards gave a fine speach in Iowa yesterday. We'll be hearing more from him as his campaign for President progresses....

We have a crisis in rural and small-town America. And it is time to do something about it.

What has this President done?

He's watered down corporate reforms.

He eliminated the Rural Education Achievement program that helps smaller schools buy computers and school buses.

He cut the farm bill's support for rural broadband Internet service, which our farmers and small town businesses need to compete.

He cut programs that use cable technology to connect people in rural areas and small-towns with the best doctors and best hospitals in America-- a critical answer to the rural health care crisis. He wants to force seniors who want a real prescription drug benefit to enter HMOs—even though HMOs don't even serve many rural communities.

He's abandoned the fight for international workplace and environmental standards, to ensure that free trade is also fair trade.

And he's done it all at a time when small farmers are being squeezed out of business, small towns are dying and our young people are leaving.

Remember - the President's stood right here. He came here to promote his energy policy. Then he went back to Washington and cut millions for efforts like this, while fighting for billions more for the big oil industry. You know what they say about friends like these ....

Just because you have yourself a new ranch and wear a big belt buckle, doesn't make you a friend of rural America.

But let's be honest - yes, given the chance to take the side of big corporate interests over hard-working Americans, this President will take the side of corporate interests every time. But my party isn't perfect by any means. Too many Democrats too often act like rural America is just someplace to fly over between a fundraiser in Manhattan and a fundraiser in Beverly Hills.


With Congressman Leonard Boswell, I have sponsored a plan for an immediate infusion of $50 billion to help state and local governments, which have been ravaged by the recession and homeland security costs, and all-but-abandoned by this President.


Over six months ago, I offered a plan to bring our country back to fiscal responsibility. I said we should roll back the Bush tax cut for the wealthiest Americans and use attrition to cut the number of government employees and contractors by 10%. My plan would save over $1.6 trillion in the next 20 years.

Today I want to go further. The truth is, people in Washington find it far too easy to forget the folks out here, but they rarely forget the corporate lobbyists who swarm the Capitol every single day. Because of that, the government pays out billions of dollars to corporations that would already be making huge profits without a dime in government help. I've had about enough of this administration's crony capitalism—it's time to go back to the original kind. So I would cut corporate loopholes and subsidies.


This year, I will set out these ideas. Next year, I want to debate them face to face with President Bush. When I do, I will ask the American people a few simple questions: Do you believe our nation is headed in the right direction? Do you believe the policies in Washington DC today are good for your community? And do you believe you have a President who understands the real America and cares about regular Americans?


I am running for President to renew a sense of hope and opportunity and optimism throughout all America - not just a few islands of technology and prosperity and high finance.

And I am running for President so I can go toe-to-toe with George W. Bush and tell him that his policies, and the values they represent, are wrong for America

I'll tell George W. Bush that budget-busting tax cuts for millionaires are no substitute for a real economic policy; and that allowing CEOs to profiteer while their workers and shareholders suffer, offends our values.

I'll tell President Bush that an education policy long on slogans but short on support cheats our children; and that environmental policies written by and for the big polluters threaten our families and communities.

I'll tell him it's plain immoral to side with price-gouging health insurance and pharmaceutical giants over the interests of the American people.

And I'll tell George W. Bush that when it comes to speaking for rural and small-town America, he's all hat and no cattle.

If you haven’t heard John Edwards speak, it’s impossible to feel the passion he puts into everything he says by just reading his words in a newspaper. This guy can really get his point across and is able to put whole sentences together without stumbling over words that have more than two syllables. Make an effort to watch him on TV during the run-up to the primaries, because you’ll come away impressed with what he has to say and how he says it.