Kerry Announces Edwards As Running Mate |

Kerry Announces Edwards As Running Mate

AP Photo/Gerald HerbertDemocratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., thanks the crowd after a campaign rally in downtown Pittsburgh, Tuesday, July 6, 2004. During the rally Kerry announced his selection of John Edwards as his running mate.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Tuesday selected former rival John Edwards to be his running mate, calling the rich former trial lawyer and rookie senator a man who showed “guts and determination and political skill” in his unsuccessful race against Kerry for the party’s nomination.

As Kerry announced his decision in Pittsburgh, a huge crowd of supporters burst into applause, waving handmade signs that mixed with professionally printed “Kerry-Edwards” placards kept under wraps until the last minute.

“I trust that met with your approval,” Kerry, a smile crossing his face, said at a rally. A banner unfurled behind him with the latest campaign message: “Kerry-Edwards. A stronger America.”

As he wrapped up his remarks – a vintage Kerry stump speech laced with a few descriptions of Edwards – Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” played, a reference to the first name the running mates share. Kerry later boarded a plane for a speech in Indianapolis, the aircraft sporting an Edwards’ logo that had been added overnight.

By selecting Edwards, 51, Kerry went with the smooth-talking Southern populist over more seasoned politicians in hopes of injecting vigor and small-town appeal to the Democratic presidential ticket. Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran whom critics call aloof, calculated that his ticket didn’t need foreign policy heft as much as a flash of pizazz.

“I was humbled by his offer,” Edwards said in a statement, “and thrilled to accept it.”

Edwards is a self-made multimillionaire who turned his up-from-the-bootstraps biography into a compelling story during his nomination fight against Kerry and several others.

During that campaign, Edwards did better than Kerry among Republicans and nearly as well among independents, according to exit polls conducted by The Associated Press. By comparison, among all voters in those primaries, Kerry beat Edwards 2-to-1. Edwards’ voters frequently said the top candidate quality in their choice was that “he has a positive message.”

President Bush’s allies at the Republican National Committee immediately labeled Edwards a “disingenuous, unaccomplished liberal” trial lawyer – even as Vice President Dick Cheney called to congratulate him. Spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish said Cheney congratulated Edwards and told his rival that he looked forward to the vice presidential debate and “a spirited campaign.”

Click here to read the full story from the Associated Press:

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