John Edwards Disputes Bush's Claims Of Economic Success

Contrary to President Bush's arguments in New York yesterday that the economy is going strong, the administration's economic policies have been a big failure for millions of Americans, says Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards."They're not working," the former senator from North Carolina told Chief White House Correspondent Kenneth T. Walsh of U.S. News. Edwards, interviewed while he was campaigning yesterday in New Hampshire, admitted that there has been economic growth but he said there is also a "fundamental problem....The positive fruits of growth are not being shared by the American people at large."He added that the benefits of Bush's policies have mostly gone to "those with capital and a high level of education." If a person doesn't have those two assets, "you struggle," Edwards said. His prescription includes reducing the benefits in the tax structure for the wealthy and increasing benefits for the middle class, and overhauling the nation's "disfunctional" health care system, which he said imposes huge costs on everyday Americans."We want real opportunity for everybody," Edwards told U.S. News and the Bulletin. He added: "I will get rid of George Bush's tax cuts for the richest people." And he said, "It is not true that I will raise taxes on the middle class." Overall, Edwards said, "Most Americans are looking for change and confidence" and he promised to provide both if he is elected president.The former senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate is leading in polls in Iowa, which will hold the first caucuses of the '08 campaign, but he is lagging behind Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama in national polls. To set himself apart, Edwards says he is the candidate of "transformational" change while his competitors favor only "baby steps" to correct America's problems.
By Kenneth T. Walsh