McADENVILLE, N.C. – Aaron Devinney hasn't worked since February, when the waste recycling company that employed him for a year and a half laid him off. Oscar Willard's been unemployed for more than three years.
Both told Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards (search) on Sunday they just want jobs.
"I don't know what you all can do in that direction," Devinney said.
Willard, who was let go from a job at a dyeing company, said he enjoyed working.
"When you ain't, it drives you nuts," he said.
Edwards told Devinney, Willard and other jobless textile workers that he and presidential hopeful John Kerry (search) have a plan to reverse job losses and slow the rise in health care costs. But he cautioned that things won't change overnight.
"I think it's very important not to overpromise," Edwards told the group that was assembled in front of Devinney's home to hear his campaign sales pitch. "That doesn't mean this situation is going to turn around in a day."
Edwards said he and Kerry would work to close tax loopholes that benefit companies that send jobs to lower-cost labor markets overseas and would seek provisions to help companies that create jobs at home. He also said the Bush administration has failed to enforce provisions aimed at ensuring fair trade with other countries.
On health care, Edwards promised that a Kerry administration would move to aggressively address rising costs, including involving the government in pool coverage for people who suffer from catastrophic illnesses, lowering costs for others.
Edwards, making his third campaign appearance in his home state since joining the Democratic ticket, also criticized President Bush (search) for refusing to condemn an independent group's campaign ad that criticizes Kerry's military record.
Edwards said media reports have shown the accusations to be false, and noted the resignation of a Bush campaign volunteer who appeared in the ad sponsored by the group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
"This is the moment of truth for President Bush," Edwards said. "The American people have to hear directly that these ads need to come off the air."
Reed Dickens, a Bush campaign spokesman, said $62 million of anti-Bush ads by similar groups aired before Kerry and Edwards began calling for Bush to disavow the ad about Kerry.
"The president has always called Senator Kerry's service honorable and the president has always called for an end to these" advertisements, Dickens said.
Democrats are campaigning hard in North Carolina, and Edwards' visit followed an appearance Friday by Kerry.
Bush won the state in 2000 by a margin of 56 percent to 43 percent, but recent polls show a closer contest this year between the Republican incumbent and Kerry.
Edwards started Sunday at University Park Baptist Church, the most prominent black congregation in Charlotte. He planned to close the day at a block party in Milwaukee.