RALEIGH, N.C. – Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards (search) on Monday criticized President Bush's health care policies and faulted the commander in chief for his execution of the war in Iraq.
Campaigning in his Republican-leaning home state, the North Carolina senator echoed the comments of his running mate Sen. John Kerry (search), who told an audience in New York that Bush's invasion of Iraq has created a crisis that could lead to unending war and raised questions about the president's judgment.
"Iraq's a mess. And Iraq is a mess because of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (search). It is that simple," Edwards told supporters at the Raleigh Convention Center.
The Democrat said the administration's decision to go to war rather than build a broader international coalition has resulted in a $200 billion price tag for U.S. taxpayers. And he said subsequent events have shown the administration's reasons for going to war to be suspect.
Edwards also argued that Bush has produced little in the way of a health care plan for the millions without insurance.
"George Bush's health care plan for the past four years has been, 'Pray you don't get sick,'" Edwards said.
He accused Bush of favoring pharmaceutical companies and insurers over citizens.
"Over and over, they've shown who they're with. They'll never be with you," he told the crowd.
Edwards touted his ticket's recommended health care changes, including tax credits for employers who provide insurance for their workers and expansion of health care coverage for children.
Reed Dickens, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign, said the Democratic ticket offers "more confusion and pessimism on the most important issue facing America today," and the Democratic proposals on health care would take choice from individuals.