NEW YORK – Sen. John Edwards (search) turned up the charm and raised his smile to high beam Thursday as he chatted on daytime television talk shows popular among women, a voting bloc the Democrats need to win over by Election Day.
Gone were the harsh criticisms of the Bush administration. In their place were lighthearted topics, including whether the vice presidential candidate wears cologne — he doesn't. Still, Edwards managed to get in a few digs at Vice President Dick Cheney (search), his debate opponent Tuesday night.
On "Live With Regis and Kelly," host Kelly Ripa suggested actor Tom Cruise play Edwards if a movie were made of the 2004 campaign. Edwards then cast Cheney in a scene from "A Few Good Men," the 1992 courtroom drama in which Cruise's Navy lawyer confronts old-guard Marine Jack Nicholson.
"Can't you see it now?" Edwards cracked. "Cheney saying, 'You need me on that wall! You need me on that wall!' And me saying, "You can't handle the truth!"
Edwards also talked about how his youngest children often travel with him on the campaign trail, even to the late-evening debate in Cleveland with the vice president.
"Afterwards, Jack, my 4-year-old Jack, came on the stage, and I was talking to him and we hadn't quite left the stage yet. He said, 'Which one's Cheney?"' Edwards recounted, lowering his voice into almost a growl as he related Jack's question.
Elizabeth Edwards joined her husband on "The View." After Edwards said he didn't wear cologne, his wife said she doesn't wear perfume.
Edwards also explained why he didn't respond to Cheney's jab that he was habitually absent in the Senate, a charge that went unanswered during the debate. "I was there doing my job," Edwards said. "I was fighting for the things that affect people's day-to-day lives."
And, Edwards said, he weighed during the debate whether to correct Cheney's comment that the two had never met before. They had meet at least three times since 2001. But Edwards said he thought it was more important to talk about issues than it was "to call him on it."
One poll by the Pew Research Center showed that presidential candidate John Kerry's 10-point advantage with women in August disappeared in late September. The Democratic ticket is hoping to make up the lost ground by putting the man once voted People Magazine's sexiest politician in front of female audiences.