"If it has political value it has political value."
- David Bonior, national campaign manager of the Edwards presidential campaign
That was Bonoir's response to Anne Kornblut today during a reporter conference call I was on, covering the political side of Edwards's "Road to One America Tour." The path will retrace two of the most famous men in social justice, Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, with the spirit of 1968 obviously woven into the idea.
John Edwards plans to trace the steps of Dr. King's 1968 Poor People's March that started in Marks, Mississippi, as well as R.F.K.'s 1968 200-mile poverty tour that ended in Southeastern Kentucky, where Edwards will end as well. The goal is to raise awareness of poverty in America, as well as to offer solutions (raise the minimum wage higher and encourage unions), while challenging the press and politicians, especially his '08 rivals, to pay attention to the issue of poverty in America, which hits 1 in 8 Americans.
In a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Edwards national campaign manager David Bonior previewed the three-day, eight-state, 12-city poverty tour -- the "Road to One America" tour -- that Edwards will embark on next week. The goal, Bonior said, is to highlight the 37 million Americans living in poverty. "They are not just statistics. They are human beings with hopes and aspirations."
David Bonior, the national campaign manager of the Edwards campaign, discussed the route. Next Monday, the first day, begins in the 9th Ward in New Orleans, then travels through several poverty stricken areas of Mississippi, into Arkansas, Memphis and Cleveland, Ohio. Day two will take the candidate and others to Ohio, then Pittsburgh. Day three will be in Virginia, then to Kentucky, ending where RFK did in 1968.
Bonior made a point to say that Edwards will not be going to any of the early primary states.
Bonior is trying to bring the press on board, because it's a tough subject and without press there will be no coverage. It seemed obvious that this tour is meant to accompany the staff expansion of the Edwards campaign as they shift into higher gear. It's needed at this point, because Edwards trails both Obama and Clinton, with the media handling the race as it it's only a two-person competition. One of the campaign changes will be Bonior's presence out in the country, as well as other additions, yet to be finalized. When I get the information I'll let you know.
Edwards also wants to get the other '08 candidates playing in his field. We'll see if any bite.
More importantly, will the press cover, and will people care, about poverty Edwards' poverty tour?
If nothing else, you can bet that the wingnuts will make fun of it and Edwards. Because as much as Republicans love wealth, they deplore wealthy people fighting to actually help people to find a path to get there. As the Republicans see it a person should figure this stuff out on his or her own. Their hypocrisy on wealth is a mile wide. The Edwards' poverty tour will likely drive the wingnuts wild. If Edwards and his team are smart they'll use the wingnuts to their own political advantage. People love a good fight. If Edwards gets the opportunity he should take it.
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