Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., hit the road this week with a gaggle of reporters in tow, urging them to report on the plight of America’s poor. But that did not stop political reporters from covering, well, politics.
Both the New York Times and the Washington Post looked at how hard it is to make poverty a voting issue. And Edwards, who speaks about “the Two Americas” at every opportunity, continues to struggle to square his populist message with continued reports on his $400 haircuts and mansion.
“A haircut’s a haircut. You can get the same one for $10,” James Rudd, a 28-year-old Kentucky coal miner, said in a widely published Associate Press article.
He started the tour on Sunday in New Orleans, returning to the city where he announced his candidacy, and renewed calls to rebuild the city’s infrastructure, stimulate more job growth and ensure the levees can handle the next storm. Monday, he moved on to Canton, Miss., where he talked with poultry workers and promised, if elected, to create a new task force to investigate industries that take advantage of low wage workers. As part of the plan, he pledged an Edwards White House would ensure all workers get at least seven paid sick days per year.
While in Cleveland on Tuesday, Edwards called for economically diverse schools and a crack down on predatory lending. According to the Census Bureau, roughly 30 percent of Cleveland’s residents live below the poverty line and the city’s $24,105 median income is the lowest among large urban areas. The Columbus Dispatch previewed the trip and addressed the economic troubles of this swing state.
He intends to look at health care in Wise, Va. and then conclude the eight-state tour Thursday in Prestonsburg, Kentucky - where Robert F. Kennedy ended his poverty tour in 1968.