Engaging U: Daschle visits; Edwards speaks



As a newspaper catering specifically to the University area, The Minnesota Daily is launching a recurring feature, “Engaging U.”

When candidates or other prominent supporters come to the Twin Cities area to promote or discuss election-related issues, we’ll do our best to be there and give you the details.

The Daily pledges to provide you with the most fair and interesting coverage possible. We also recognize you’re busy, and probably inundated with election buzz. That’s why we’re keeping it brief. Let’s face it: As willing as we would be to write them, reading stories about every candidate’s visit or every stumper’s speech would get old.

That said, we look forward to introducing today’s first installment of Engaging U, which includes coverage of yesterday’s main events: former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s speech on behalf of Barack Obama at Coffman Union and John Edwards’ visit to St. Paul.

Karlee Weinmann, policy desk editor

Daschle visits

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle spoke Tuesday to a crowd of nearly 70 people in Coffman Union, in support of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“I got involved because I feel so strongly that this country right now couldn’t be more on the wrong track,” Daschle said.

Daschle spoke at Macalester College in St. Paul before coming to Coffman.The college stops are vital because Obama discusses issues important to students, Daschle said.

The issues Obama addresses are “issues that younger people in particular know that they’re going to be confronting,” Daschle said, referring to the Iraq War, global warming and health care.

“People under 30, in particular, are very concerned about those issues,” he said.

Jason Hendrix, electrical engineering sophomore, said he went to the event to learn about Obama.

“I don’t know a lot about all the candidates,” Hendrix said.

Hendrix said he’s leaning toward voting for Obama after hearing Daschle speak because of Obama’s stance on education and health care.

“They both directly affect me,” he said.

Edwards speaks

Urban and regional planning graduate student Abby Finis was one of about a thousand people who braved Tuesday night’s cold to see former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., speak in St. Paul.

Finis said she also supported Edwards in the 2004 election as John Kerry’s vice president because of his stances on universal health care, reducing carbon emissions and funding education.

Edwards, who was introduced by Ted Mondale and House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, spoke to an overflowing room at the event sponsored by the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters.

“On the way here, I was thinking about the legendary Paul Wellstone,” he said. “A man with guts, passion and a heart.”

Edwards said he hopes he can be a president who embodies those same ideals and fights for the working class. He also outlined his plan to make higher education more affordable for students.

“We gotta make it easier for kids to go to college,” Edwards said. “We say to every young person in America: You graduate from high school, qualify to go to college, work at least 10 hours a week while you’re there, America pays for your tuition.”

Edwards also addressed his vision for troop withdrawal from Iraq, workers’ rights, universal health care and capping carbon emissions.