Edwards stumps for Minn. caucus votes

There will be 87 Democratic convention delegates at stake in Minnesota’s March 2 presidential contest.

Hank Long

Between campaign stops in New York and Ohio, presidential hopeful John Edwards stopped in St. Paul on Saturday afternoon to pitch to Minnesotans to vote for him in the March 2 Democratic caucus.

“Anybody who doubts that the American people want this campaign to go on, all they have to do is be here in this building today,” Edwards said to a cheering crowd of more than 1,500 at Carpenters Union Hall north of downtown St. Paul.

More than 600 supporters packed the main hall where the North Carolina senator delivered his message on why he should be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Nearly 1,000 more filled the outer hallways to watch Edwards on a closed circuit television and hundreds waited in the parking lots.

Edwards, who finished a close second to John Kerry in last week’s Wisconsin primary, hopes to fare well in the 10 states with primaries or caucuses March 2.

“I think my economic message, my jobs message and my health-care message is powerful. It resonated in Wisconsin and other places, and it will resonate in (key states on Tuesday),” Edwards said to reporters after his speech.

New York, California and Ohio carry the heaviest political implications on Super Tuesday, with 237, 370 and 140 delegates tied to the March 2 contests respectively, according to CNN’s Democratic primary Web site.

Eighty-seven of 1,152 Super Tuesday delegates are up for grabs in Minnesota, according to the Web site.

Edwards continued his message Saturday of unifying a country where people are divided on issues of taxes, jobs, trade, education, race and health care.

He said the Bush administration is neglecting normal Americans on economic issues.

“When the president talks about the economy doing just fine, he’s talking about Wall Street; he’s not talking about Main Street,” Edwards said.

He also said American businesses that outsource millions of jobs to other countries are bad for the economy.

“What would be good for America is to outsource (the Bush administration),” he said.

Edwards did not speak about higher education Saturday, but Carlos Monje, deputy press secretary for Edwards in Minnesota, said in an interview that the senator has a plan, “College for Everyone,” designed to help students pay for school through community service.

Jeff Rosenberg, an urban studies and music sophomore who attended the rally, supports Edwards because of his positive message.

“I feel like he approaches issues in a more positive way (than Kerry does),” Rosenberg said.

He said Edwards is a great speaker and only stands to gain more support as he faces Kerry.

College of Continuing Education student Alison Robbins, who also attended the rally, hasn’t decided whether to support Kerry or Edwards in Minnesota’s caucus.

“I’m here because I’m trying to make up my mind between the two of them, but I really don’t want Bush to stay in office,” Robbins said.