This Time Around, Edwards Is Talking Tough

If you think of John Edwards as a sunny candidate with a positive tone, things have changed, CBS News correspondent Chip Reid reports. Listen to him on the campaign trail now, where he sounds like a man looking for a fight.

"Hell yeah I'm confrontational and I'm not ashamed of it," Edwards said. "We need a fighter in the White House."

In the Democratic debates, no one punches harder, especially when the target is front-runner Hillary Clinton, who accuses Edwards of throwing mud.

"She continues to defend a system that does not work, that is broken, that is rigged, and is corrupt," Edwards said.

Edwards quotes Harry Truman about giving 'em hell back in Washington, and recently even aggressively cut off a questioner who challenged his commitment on global warming. "No, you're through, you got a chance to talk," Edwards told the spectator. "I do not agree with you."

Critics say he's changed from four years ago when he was known for his smiling disposition and his refusal to go negative. "If you are looking for the candidate that'll do the best job of attacking the other candidates, I'm not your guy," Edwards said then.

Now, Democratic rival Chris Dodd says: "I am surprised at just how angry John has become. This is not the same John Edwards I once knew."

But Democratic strategist Steve McMahon says that with Clinton and Barack Obama running so strong, Edwards has no choice but to turn up the heat.

"The only way he's going to get any attention is if he pushes himself into the focus, into the frame, and that's what he's trying to do," McMahon said. "Call it confrontational - I call it effective campaigning."

In New Hampshire today, Edwards insisted his message is still positive. It's not anger, he says - it's passion.

"What voters want to see is that what you stand for, what you believe, comes from within here," he said, pointing to his heart, "that it doesn't come from just your head."