Saturday, February 28, 2004

Candidate's wife finds support

Elizabeth Edwards visits Cincinnati

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune (left) greets Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential hopeful John Edwards, with Judge Nathaniel Jones (right rear) and wife Lillian Jones.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/TONY JONES

Cincinnati got as close as it will probably come to a pre-primary visit by a Democratic contender Friday night when Elizabeth Edwards met with about 75 Democrats in Mount Auburn.

Edwards, wife of Sen. John Edwards, received a warm welcome - and, more importantly, endorsements from Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, state Sen. Mark Mallory, Councilman John Cranley, retired Judge Nathaniel Jones and others.

"Thank you very much for what you're doing and will you please work twice as hard," Edwards told them at the Vernon Manor Hotel event.

Why John Edwards? Unlike either fellow Democratic Sen. John Kerry or President Bush, she said, her husband understands the working class because he comes from the working class.

"In the America in which John (Edwards) grew up, he could reach for the brass ring," she said, despite being the son of a mill worker. "More and more that is not the case."

Bush isn't doing enough to keep manufacturing jobs in America, she said.

"We cannot do each other's hair and teach each other dance lessons and have a sustainable economy," Elizabeth Edwards said.

The senator would toughen - but not end - the United States' trade relationships with other countries, she said.

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John Edwards has had one Cincinnati native in his corner from the beginning: lawyer Stephanie Jones, daughter of Nathaniel Jones, is Edwards' judiciary counsel. She took a leave to help on the Ohio campaign.

"He's an innately good man who really believes in making a difference," the younger Jones said.

Mallory said Edwards has a good shot despite being behind in the delegate count and having only won one state.

"The people that are coming over to Edwards seem to be coming over at the last minute," he said. "This guy has a passion and energy that I think people like to see."

Elizabeth Edwards, addressing former Howard Dean supporters looking for a new candidate, light-heartedly noted: "Our guy never said anything bad about your guy."

Both the Edwards and Kerry campaigns have concentrated on Democratic strongholds in northern Ohio.

Edwards is scheduled to visit Cleveland today. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt - a former candidate - will campaign across the state this weekend for Kerry.

Ohio has the third most delegates up for grabs among the 10 states that have primaries Tuesday. Kerry has taken the majority of delegates so far, but the Edwards campaign is far from admitting defeat.

"This is not over," Elizabeth Edwards said. "It's not close to over."


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