NPR's Montagne suggested Edwards is wrong to target poverty, given widespread concern with Iraq

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

During an interview with presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) that aired during the July 13 edition of NPR's Morning Edition on the topic of Edwards' "Road to One America" tour, which highlights the issue of poverty, co-host Renee Montagne asked: "[V]oters rank the war in Iraq at the top of their list of concerns right now. Why make fighting poverty a central theme of your campaign?" In response to Edwards' assertion that "there's a difference between looking at a poll to see what voters care about and only talking about those issues and leading," Montagne said: "I realize this is an ongoing issue, poverty in America, but it isn't just a poll with the Iraq war. It is a hugely momentous feeling across the country. It's not just a poll. It's a big issue for many, many, many people." Despite Montagne's suggestion that the war in Iraq is not a "big issue" for Edwards, while Edwards' tour focuses on poverty, he has issued numerous statements about the Iraq war and has a "Plan to End the War in Iraq" on his campaign website.

According to "John Edwards' Plan to End the War in Iraq": "Senator John Edwards believes that every day this war goes on it is worse for Iraq, worse for our troops and worse for our country. We cannot wait for the next president to end the war in 2009, we must act today." The website states that Edwards has offered a "comprehensive proposal to end the war in Iraq," which "calls on Congress to use its funding power to block President Bush's escalation, immediately begin withdrawing troops by capping funding and requiring complete withdrawal of all combat troops in 12 to 18 months."

Edwards has also issued a series of press releases concerning the Iraq war and his position on it, including three statements in July alone before kicking off his poverty-focused tour on July 15. Most recently, on July 12, in response to President Bush's press conference, Edwards released a statement criticizing Bush for "trying to link Iraq and 9/11 - a rationale for the war that virtually everyone except Dick Cheney has now recognized was false." On July 10, Edwards released a statement calling on Congress to "to exercise its constitutionally mandated funding power, force an immediate drawdown of 40,000 to 50,000 troops and require withdrawal of all troops within about a year." Edwards also issued a statement on July 7 "urg[ing] all Americans to ask their Congressional representatives to take actions to end the war and bring our troops home to the heroes' welcome they deserve."

As Daily Kos diarist chuckles1 noted, Montagne "simply brought up in order the right-wing talking points about ... John Edwards."

From the July 13 edition of NPR's Morning Edition:

MONTAGNE: Just finally, voters rank the war in Iraq at the top of their list of concerns right now.

EDWARDS: Yep.

MONTAGNE: Why make fighting poverty a central theme of your campaign?

EDWARDS: Well, there's a difference between looking at a poll to see what voters care about and only talking about those issues and leading, and trying to --

MONTAGE: Well, let me -- I realize this is an ongoing issue, poverty in America, but it isn't just a poll with the Iraq war. It is a hugely momentous feeling across the country. It's not just a poll. It's a big issue for many, many, many people.

EDWARDS: As it is for me. It's a huge issue for America. It's a huge issue for the world. I wasn't for a second downgrading the importance of the war in Iraq and ending the war in Iraq. My point was that you can't just focus on one issue. The person who's running for president of the United States has to focus on the things that they believe should be the priorities of America. The war in Iraq is certainly at the top of the list. Universal health care. So is addressing what I think is a crisis in climate change. And including millions of people who live in poverty. And because New Orleans has faded from some people's memory and because I believe it's important for America to focus on this issue, I just want to make sure that this is among the things that we, as a nation, are addressing.

Network/Outlet
NPR
Show/Publication
Morning Edition
Stories/Interests
John Edwards, 2008 Elections
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