Berlin Reporter

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The time is now for Senator John Edwards

Next Tuesday voters in New Hampshire will go to the polls and cast their ballots in the state's first in the nation primary.

Republicans who are unhappy with the direction President George W. Bush has taken the country can voice their dissatisfaction by choosing among a slate of lesser known candidates, none of whom has much of chance of winning the presidency or the primary. Whom the Republicans vote for, then, is less important than whom they vote against.

For those who pick up the Democratic ballot January 27 the stakes are higher.

They have to decide which man among the field of qualified candidates best embodies the ideals of the Democratic Party and has the strength to unseat an incumbent president.

We, the editorial staff of the Berlin Reporter, think Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina is that man.

For seven months we have watched Sen. Edwards on the campaign trail, as he went from a first-term senator from a southern state to a viable presidential candidate, coming in a strong second in the Iowa Caucus.

He nearly got lost in the crowd of candidates, overshadowed by the outspoken anti-war candidate from Vermont, the three seasoned politicians from Congress who are used to the national stage, and, lately, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces, but he has quietly stuck to his plan to reach out, listen and talk to as many New Hampshire residents as possible by holding 100 town hall meetings.

Sen. Edwards kept moving forward, out of the limelight, while other candidates grabbed center stage by attacking one another.

At single digits in the New Hampshire polls, it must have been tempting for him to say at least a little something negative, but he showed remarkable self-restraint and remained positive.

Instead, he kept to his message, calling for a redistribution of opportunity so that all Americans can have a chance to reach their dreams.

He backed up his rhetoric with detailed plans on how his administration would accomplish that redistribution of opportunity, but had the common sense, and the good political instincts, not to overload his audiences with facts and figures, but to offer the ideas in booklet form.

John Edwards understands that the challenges of the future are going to be different from the challenges of the past.

During his fifty years he has witnessed enormous social, economic and political changes. He has called for a reinvestment in rural America to grow the jobs of the future, not simply to bring back the jobs of the past.

As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, he understands that we are the first line of defense against terrorism, that our towns, our cities, our borders and our ports must be protected and we, the local municipalities, must be given the resources to provide that protection.

What sets Sen. Edwards apart from the other Democratic candidates is that he has not grown away from his roots.

Those roots nourished him, and he honors those roots by standing up for the working men and women of this country.

John Edwards uses his roots to illustrate his empathy with those who earn their living everyday, but he doesn't exploit the personal facts of his own life or his family’s life for political purposes. He says "we" can do it together, inspiring people to try to live up to the ideals of this country.

And that's what will make him a formidable candidate against President Bush he makes it not about John Edwards, but about all of us.

Sara Young-Knox, editor
Tom Rideout, senior reporter
The Berlin Reporter

Copyright © 2004 The Berlin Reporter.  Reprinted with permission.  (Sara Young-Knox)

The management of the Salmon press papers made the blanket endorsement of Dean, but the individual papers are allowed to disagree and put their own endorsements on their editorial pages as well.  Editor Sara Young-Knox elaborated on the endorsement of Edwards in a Jan. 22, 2004 e-mail.  "I think most of the reasons we endorsed him are in the editorial. We've met all the candidates, several more than once, and think he would be the best against Bush - Bush comes across as a nice, simple kind of guy, and you can't beat a nice guy with an angry guy, or a policy wonk. Edwards connects well with people, and has a pretty good understanding how the real world works. The others have too many layers between them and the ordinary, work-a-day people."