From CBS News' Aaron Lewis and Maria Gavrilovic:
DUBUQUE, IOWA -- John Edwards shot back at Barack Obama today at Loras College in Dubuque, going after what he says was an attack on Edwards's willingness to fight with corporate interests instead of negotiating.
"I just fundamentally disagree," said Edwards in one of his more passionate stumps speeches in weeks, adding there is an "epic fight" ahead with powerful corporate interests.
Earlier today in Independence, IA, Obama told a crowd that he differs specifically with Edwards on the idea of fighting vs. negotiating.
"Well you know the key to getting this done is empowering the American people," said Obama. "You also have to have negotiations and you have to be able to listen, otherwise stuff is not going to happen."
Back in Dubuque, Edwards took particular issue with that sentiment.
"So we're gonna 'nice' our way to universal healthcare?" he asked rhetorically. "I'm here to tell you we got a fight on our hands and we're gonna win that fight together."
Edwards later continued to stress his position as the fighter in this race, comparing himself to Obama without using names.
"I believe we need a fighter, I do," said Edwards. " Not somebody who just thinks about it or just talks about it or is academic about it, but somebody who's been in the trenches in this fight."
Edwards's remarks came after his wife Elizabeth stirred up the pot herself. In her introductory remarks, Mrs. Edwards took shots at the GOP, with particular focus on the new frontrunner.
"Republicans should scare us in a lot of ways," she said before calling out Mike Huckabee. "[He] seems like a nice charming guy. Doesn't believe in evolution. And has some nutty views about what it is we should do in terms ending violence in our inner city: we should make sure all of outr yound people are armed."
Then after a long pause: "Republicans scare me."
Today's comments overshadowed what attracted many in the crowd to the college in the first place: an appearance by movie star Kevin Bacon. The movie star spoke little about Edwards, (saying not much more than "he's got a dream" and "he's got a plan") but pumped out a three-song set on the guitar with a couple of his friends, including a good cover of "Get Together" by The Youngbloods.