Calif an ATM for Some Politicians
John Edwards came to California last week and stayed through today when he appeared at UCLA for the latest stop on his college tour. In between fundraiswers, he spoke to Fresno farm workers, a Santa Monica Democratic club and Berkeley college students, none of which involved taking a withdrawal from the ATM that is California. The fact that John Edwards is speaking to California voters whose attendance doesn't depend on a 4-figure donation is significant. It says that sure, he's coming here for money but that he cares about the issues of Californians and he's staying to listen to regular voters.
Here are some samples of news coverage of his events to give a sense of how John Edwards is embodying how we'd like all candidates to treat California voters.
On Friday Edwards met with Fresno farm workers.
"These workers are at the heart of why I want to be president of the United States," Edwards said, flanked by UFW President Arturo Rodriguez. "We need comprehensive immigration reform in this country, and that includes the ability of people to earn citizenship."
He's saying this in the heart of red California. In fact, at a nearby fundraiser earlier in the day:
Some guests also said they might attend receptions for Republican presidential hopefuls including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Arizona Sen. John McCain, both of whom are expected to tour the valley.
"Most of us are Republicans, conservative folks," said co-host Joe Uremovic, a Fresno agricultural attorney.
Edwards continued to demonstrate his tendency to speak fearlessly and put his money where his mouth is at his Berkeley rally on Sunday. Edwards doesn't just seek the support of labor, he earns it:
Edwards told the crowd that he appeared at the YWCA instead of on the UC Berkeley campus as a gesture of support for campus janitors in a labor dispute with the university. The janitors are members the powerful American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees.
“We are standing with these workers who are trying to get a decent wage and to be able to support their families,” Edwards said. “It is part of today’s march of justice and equality.”
And on the subject of the Democratic Party:"I want to say something about my party," he said. "I'm so tired of incremental, careful caution. Where is our soul? Where is our soul? We are our most powerful when we speak from here" -- he touched his heart -- "and not from a poll."
But the most moving testimony to the impact Edwards's simply taking a few hours out of his schedule to speak to regular California voters came from the mouths of voters themselves:
“Being able to come here to see someone who is running for president was an amazing opportunity,” said sophomore Caroline Szymanska, a group leader for Cal Lobby Day.
"He came to listen to us, the farmworkers," said Angelina Zabala, a mother of six from Porterville. "I didn't think the candidates were going to take what we have to say into account but I see he wants to help. I'm thinking about voting for him."
Truly, Edwards is a man of the people. Quite a contrast to another presidential candidate, as captured at Laguna Beach. In the clip, you will see war protesters near the house where a fundraiser is taking place.
Now there is an ATM watch. It's kind of interesting. Madam Clinton just rides away. Protesters feel ditched.
I'll check in with Courage Campaign occasionally and keep BW readers posted.