John Edwards campaigns in Tampa

07/02/07 Mitch E.Perry
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Last Friday night in Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards held another campaign event that staffers are calling , “Small Change for Big Change”, a fundraiser geared to attact small donations.

Those donations enabled Edwards to raise more than $9 million in the last 3 months just ended over the weekend. That places him a distant 3rd behind Barack Obama, who raised over $32 million, and Hilary Clinton , who raised about $27 million.

Edwards deputy campaign manager, Jonathan Prince, said that slighty more than half of the $9 million – came from small donations – Friday night’s event was billed at $15, and drew several hundred people.

But those several hundred people waited over 90 minutes in stifling humidity before hearing from the former North Carolina Senator, who delivered a swift 20 minute speech. After apologizing for being tardy, Edwards brought up one of the biggest political stories of last week (roll tape#1 o.q.”cheers”)

He was referring of course, to his wife’s extraordinary 4 minute conversation with the conservative pundit on Chris Matthews Hardball show on MSNBC last Tuesday night, in which she told Coulter to tamp down her harsh rhetoric, especially towards her husband (roll tape#2 o.q.”stand up and fight”)

The Edwards camp played up the fracus with Coulter, sending out 2 separate e-mail messages asking for financial support after the confrontation.

Although Edwards DID vote to give authorization to President Bush to go to war in Iraq in 2002, he has repudiated that vote since then, and has chastised his top opponents in the race, Senators Obama and Clinton, and the rest of Congress for ultimately passing the Iraq supplemental spending bill without a timetable to bring U.S. troops (roll tape#3 o.q.”been engaged in”)

Edwards said that the Bush Administration’s follies internationally means it will take work for America to be seen as a force of good again. He said the way the country can regain that respect is by leading the way on combating global climate change (roll tape#4 o.q.” applause”) Michael Moore’s critique on the U.S. health care system, “Sicko” opened in theatres across the country over the weekend. John Edwards was the first candidate for President who laid out his plans for universal health care coverage. Part of his extensive plans for reducing the costs of health care include removing patents for breakthrough drugs, and requiring insurance companies to spend at least 85 percent of their premiums on patient care. And more than any other Democrat in the race, he has made the issue of poverty a central theme of his candidacy (roll tape#5 o.q.”collectively bargain”) Edwards has been active in supporting Unions – and is banking on their considerable prominence in the Democratic Party for their support. Norwood Orrick is a union member with IBEW 824. He’s a strong supporter of John Edwards (roll tape#6 o.q.”we need to make a change”) Deb Mayer lives in Celebration, Florida, and is a big fan of the former Vice Presidential nominee (roll tape#7 o.q. “. He looks good”) Earlier in the evening, Edwards attended a private fundraiser held by Tampa attorney Steve Yerrid. Donations were expected to be much higher than the $15 requested for the Lowry Park Zoo appearance.

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