Why John Edwards changes everything

In the backyard of a Hurricane Katrina victim in New Orleans' 9th Ward, former Senator and Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards announced today that he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. And, in what can be better characterized as a talk than a formal political speech, Edwards changed the dynamic of the fledgling Democratic race for 2008 with both the tone and substance of his message.

Asking Americans to "be patriotic about something beyond war," Edwards stood in the middle of a New Orleans yard and talked about getting Americans mobilized to create domestic change now and not just in conjunction with a political campaign. He talked earnestly about the need to restore America's battered global image, the critical mass being hit in the country's health-care crisis and the fact that he believes his vote to allow George W. Bush's war in Iraq was just flat-out wrong.

Edwards says he strongly regrets his 2002 vote on the Iraq war resolution, that it was "a mistake" and rebuked the entire notion of a troop surge and escalating U.S. presence in Iraq.

"We need to reject this McCain doctrine of surging troops and escalating the war in Iraq," said Edwards. "We need to make clear we're going to leave and we need to start leaving Iraq."

But more than anything, Edwards announcing so early and, more importantly, the way he's entered the race has changed the entire landscape for aspiring Democratic nominees.

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