Edwards leaps to his wife's defense during Tampa fundraiser

Published June 30, 2007

TAMPA - Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards wasted no time Friday making hay of his wife's fight with conservative commentator Ann Coulter.

"We cannot stand quietly by and watch this kind of name-calling and hate language, " he said at a fund raiser at Lowry Park Zoo.

Elizabeth Edwards made news this week when she called into Chris Matthews' 'Hardball' show during an interview with Coulter and accused her of cheapening the political debate with personal attacks.

Edwards said to expect the attacks from the right wing to keep coming.

"It will be on every trivial, nothing thing, " he said.

Edwards delivered a 20-minute speech that hit on key components of his platform.

Most important, he said, is ending the war in Iraq.

"This is not politics, " he said. "This is about life and death."

Edwards said if elected he would close Guantanamo Bay detention camp on his first day in office and make it clear the United States does not condone torture. He also pledged to stop "illegal spying" on Americans and push for an end to the violence in Darfur.

He devoted a good portion of his speech to global warming issues, saying America needs to reduce carbon emissions and dependence on foreign oil, spend more money to build fuel-efficient cars and promote production of biofuels.

The $15-per-person event drew nearly 500 people, the Edwards camp said. The former senator from North Carolina also stopped by a more pricey fundraiser at the South Tampa home of trial lawyer Steve Yerrid before heading to the zoo.

Many supporters cited Edwards' belief in universal health care and stronger unions.

"Hillary was on the board of Wal-Mart, " said Christina Regalado. "I'm not real impressed by that."