Edwards: "Time For Us to Lead"

This post, written by Isaiah Poole, originally appeared on the Take Back America 2007 Conference website

For an audience that was eager to hear a presidential candidate say that they would not compromise progressive principles for political expediency, former Sen. John Edwards knew what to say.

When it comes to ending the war in Iraq or issues such as universal health care, "No more pontificating, no more vacillating, no more triangulating, no more broken promises, no more pats on the head, no more 'we'll get around to it next time,' no more taking half a loaf, no more 'tomorrow,'" Edwards said.

People who are diagnosed with breast cancer or other serious health conditions, like his wife Elizabeth, don't have time to wait for universal health care. "We need to do these things now," he said.

Edwards spoke immediately after Illinois Sen. Barack Obama electrified the crowd with a stirring speech that stressed broad principles and policies but steered away from specifics. Edwards was often less reticent about specifics. He offered some details of his energy plan, which he said would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. He called the nation's affordable housing policy a disaster and called for one million additional housing vouchers that would allow families to move out of pockets of poverty. He proposed a "college for everyone" plan in which students would have the cost of their tuition and books covered in exchange for 10 hours of work per week.

As the first presidential candidate in either party to release a detailed health care proposal, Edwards said he has one "threshold test" for a health care proposal: "whether it is truly universal." If it is not, he said, "someone is going to have to explain to me what child has to go without health care."

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