Feb 4, 2007

Edwards with Russert - Meet the Candidate

John Edwards was the first potential nominee to appear on Meet the Press today, in a series called "Meet the Candidate".

This was a detailed interview, taking up the entire 1 hour slot. For the first third of the show, Edwards was quizzed by Russert repeatedly on his stance on the Iraq war.

Although Edwards voted for the war in 2002, in 2005 he said that he made a mistake, and the decision to go to Iraq was wrong. Edwards repeated his personal stance:

"...in my case, I came to the conclusion, turned out to be wrong, that the president should be given this authority.

I do think it’s important—again, not defensively—but important to point out that I didn't run the war and neither did the other people in Congress who voted for the war. The president’s the one who made this extraordinary mess. I mean, it’s been mistake after mistake after mistake. But I did cast this vote, and I’m the person responsible for this vote, no one else."

On the troop surge, he is urging Congress to take control of the situation, and stop playing around with non binding resolutions. Edwards said that "..complaining at this historic moment in American history is not enough. I mean, we won the election. We’re now in charge of the House and the Senate. We have—we have the power to actually do something about this escalation."

John Edwards also gave a hint of his plans for Universal Health Care, a policy he spoke about at the DNC Winter Meeting on Friday, and one he will release tomorrow.

Edwards said that the plan was to "...take the 46 million, 47 million people who don’t have health care coverage, we expand Medicaid, we provide subsidies for people who don’t have coverage. We ask employers to play a bigger role, which means they either have to have coverage, or they have to buy into what we’re calling health markets. We’re going to create health markets all across the country which will help provide some of these efficiencies."

Asked whether he would need to raise taxes to pay for this plan, Edwards responded plainly - yes. It's refreshing to see that honesty!

On whether openly gay men and women should serve in the military - yes - and would he make that happen as President - absolutely.

Edwards said that there were substance differences between him and Hillary Clinton, particularly on Iraq, perhaps on Universal Health coverage. He said there were less differences between him and Barack Obama.

Read the full transcript here.