PORTSMOUTH — Democratic presidental hopeful John Edwards was on the Seacoast on Sunday as part of a weekend tour of New Hampshire. The senator from North Carolina spoke in Hampton Falls and Portsmouth, focusing on his universal health care plan.
His first Seacoast stop was at the Hampton Democratic Committee's annual summer picnic: a backyard luncheon and forum for local candidates for U.S. Senate.
Clad in blue jeans with his shirt sleeves rolled up, Edwards spoke briefly before opening up the floor for questions. Local Democrats wanted to hear his stance on global warming, missile defense spending, and his solution for the national debt.
Edwards used the opportunity to reiterate his universal health care proposal, calling the current system dysfunctional and citing the growing number of Americans without health insurance.
Edwards also focused on outlining his energy plan, proposing to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. He acknowledged it would be difficult, warning the goal cannot be accomplished without sacrifice.
"Your going to have to actually be willing to conserve in your home, in your workplace, drive more fuel-efficient vehicles," Edwards said. "I think that all Americans are going to have to contribute."
From there, Edwards traveled to a rally in Prescott Park set against the backdrop of the Memorial Bridge. Here, he delved further into his health care plan and also blasted the Bush administration.
"I don't believe George Bush has damaged America's leadership role in the world. I think he's destroyed it," Edwards said to a round of applause. "We've got to end this mess of a war in Iraq."
And once more, the focus shifted back to health care. One woman from Nebraska told Edwards about her recent battle with breast cancer and her struggle to raise the money for chemotherapy.
Edwards said it's a story he's heard all too often.
"In the richest nation on the planet, to have anybody have to go through what you've gone through and worry about where you're going to get the money, how can that be?" he asked. "It's just wrong."