MANCHESTER, N.H. – Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, getting the 2008 campaign cycle off to an early start, said Saturday that poverty “is one of the great moral issues of our time” and he pledged to help fight it.
“It may seem like an impossible task to end poverty, but that’s what skeptics have always said about the great struggles we have faced,” he said. “If we can put a man on the moon, cure polio, and put a library on a little chip, then we can end poverty.”
The setting of Edwards’ speech was as notable as its content. A visit to New Hampshire, traditionally the site of the leadoff presidential primary, is the first public sign that a politician is considering a White House bid.
Edwards, who left the Senate last month, said that he has not decided whether to seek the presidency. His focus is helping his wife, Elizabeth, recover from breast cancer, he said.
Later, in an address that drew repeated applause from Democratic activists, Edwards said he will open an anti-poverty center in North Carolina. “I would never pretend to have all the answers, but we will ask the hard questions,” he said.
Edwards took issue with critics of his party. “Don’t tell me Democrats don’t stand for anything. We do. We stand for work and opportunity. We know when something is right. And we know when something’s wrong.”
“It is wrong when our neighbors work full time and still live in poverty.”