HENDERSON, NEV. -- John Edwards ripped Barack Obama for praising the way Ronald Reagan brought about change when he was President of the United States.
"When you think about what Ronald Reagan did to the American people, to the middle class to the working people," said Edwards.
"He was openly – openly – intolerant of unions and the right to organize. He openly fought against the union and the organized labor movement in this country. He openly did extraordinary damage to the middle class and working people, created a tax structure that favored the very wealthiest Americans and caused the middle class and working people to struggle every single day. The destruction of the environment, you know, eliminating regulation of companies that were polluting and doing extraordinary damage to the environment."
"I can promise you this: this president will never use Ronald Reagan as an example for change."
Edwards was addressing comments made by Obama during a sit-down interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal. According to Edwards spokesman Mark Kornblau, Edwards was addressing these specific remarks from the interview:
"I don't want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what's different are the times. I do think that for example the 1980 was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."
CORRECTION: This blog post originally included an inaccurate and unverified quote, provided by the Edwards campaign, in lieu of the Obama quote used above. CBS News regrets this error.
Edwards also took another shot at Obama earlier in his speech:
"There's this back and forth that's been going over the last 24 hours or so between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, with Senator Clinton saying what we need in a president is somebody who knows how to run the bureaucracy, who knows how to manage, somebody who knows how to shuffle the papers around and Senator Obama saying no, what we really need is a President of the United States who knows how to give a good speech," said Edwards. "Here's what I think, I think what we need in the next President of the United States is somebody with some guts and fight and determination.