PORTSMOUTH — In the third of a series of presidential candidate forums, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards will talk about the war in Iraq next Wednesday at Seacoast Media Group. The event is tentatively scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
The Democratic presidential hopeful will take questions from Seacoast voters about his proposals to end the war in Iraq and his larger goals for U.S. foreign policy. In April, Seacoast Media Group, the parent company of the Portsmouth Herald, hosted a forum on health care reform for Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. In July, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York held an energy forum.
If you want to go: Space is limited. Sign up for the event by e-mail only at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include name and contact information. Look for complete coverage of the event from the Portsmouth Herald, www.seacoastonline.com and www.thenewhampshireprimary.com.
"I'm looking forward to the Seacoast Media Group forum because I think it is critical for New Hampshire voters to hear directly and honestly from the candidates about the Iraq war," said Edwards, who was the vice presidential nominee in 2004. "I appreciate any opportunity to answer questions about my plan to get us out of Iraq and my belief that Congress must stand firm and refuse to pass a funding bill without a timetable for withdrawal."
Elected in 1998, Edwards served one term in the Senate. In the fall of 2002, he voted in favor of President Bush's war authorization request, but has since repudiated his vote and become a staunch opponent of the war and administration policy.
Since the Democrats took control of Congress earlier this year, he has called for it to stop funding the war and force Bush into a new course of action. Last week, during the latest skirmish between Congress and Bush, Edwards called on Democrats to confront the president directly.
"Congress has the power to stop this war through their constitutional funding authority — and they should use it by tying any war funding bills to a firm deadline that would withdraw all American combat troops from Iraq," Edwards said last week. "Congress must continue to send the president the simple and clear message: No timetable, no funding. No excuses."
Michael Signer, the campaign's deputy policy director for Foreign Affairs and National Security, told the Herald that Edwards "has the clearest and boldest plan to deal with the problems in Iraq and how to get out of them."
In particular, Signer said that Edwards from Day 1 in the White House would combine significant troop withdrawals — 40,000 to 50,000 immediately and all combat troops removed within 10 months — with an international diplomatic surge. The goal is to deal not only with Iraq but to enact a "21st century" strategy to combat international terrorism.
"He will use the assets of the United States and our allies to convene an international peace conference," Signer said. "We will re-engage with the world constantly and restore our moral leadership."
The Seacoast Media Group candidate forum will be part of a busy week in New Hampshire for Edwards, who is trailing Sen. Hillary Clinton in recent polls of likely voters. He will take part in a Democratic debate in Hanover tonight before attending a MySpace/MTV presidential forum at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Thursday.
He will them embark on a two-day "economic fairness" tour of the North Country.
What: Candidate forum on Iraq, with Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards.
When: Wednesday, Oct. 3, tentatively at 1 p.m.
When: Seacoast Media Group, 111 New Hampshire Ave., Portsmouth