Two days after showing no mercy with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton during a debate in Philadelphia, presidential candidate John Edwards launched his first television ad in the early-causes voting state of Iowa.
Hoping to build on his momentum and move up in Iowa polls — his campaign is proudly calling the Hawkeye State a three-way race — Edwards was set to air his 60-second spot titled "Heroes."
In the ad, Edwards calls on his party to "have a little guts" and be a voice for working people. The ad features the former North Carolina senator speaking at a campaign stop and shows images of what he refers to as the real heroes — a waitress pouring coffee, a woman kissing a young boy, a nurse assisting a hospital patient, a man on a tractor and others.
"I think this ad begins to build on the argument that John made the other night, where he pointed out very convincingly that right now we face the moral test of our generation ... that we fix the broken system in Washington, and that we do pass on a better future to our children," said Edwards Deputy Campaign Manager Jonathan Prince.
Edwards was tough on Clinton Tuesday night, saying she "defends a broken system that's corrupt in Washington, D.C." He stood by his earlier claim that she has engaged in "doubletalk."
But he has catching up to do in the polls. A University of Iowa poll conducted Oct. 17-24 showed Edwards well behind Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the state. The poll, which sampled 306 likely voters, showed Clinton with 29 percent, Obama with 27 percent and Edwards with 20 percent. It had a 2 point margin of error.
In response to the polls, Edwards Senior Adviser Joe Trippi said, "We're very pleased that it's a three-way race and we're on the air," and that the "debate was a defining moment."
In the ad, Edwards says, "It is time for our party, the Democratic Party, to show a little backbone, to have a little guts, to stand up for working men and women ... If we are not their voice, they will never have a voice."
Edwards also talks about his wife, Elizabeth, who has incurable breast cancer, and says that after 12 hours of tests and getting the news they decided they would try to be a voice for regular Americans.
According to information compiled by another presidential campaign, Edwards spent $700,000 to air the ad for two weeks, a significant buy in Iowa markets. The campaign said they will continue advertising in the state constantly through the Jan. 3 caucuses.
It was Edwards' first television ad in Iowa, the state that traditionally kicks off the presidential nominating season. He already has been on the airwaves in New Hampshire, the first in the nation primary state.
FOX News' Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.