DES MOINES, Iowa – John Edwards' latest endorsement was sweet.
Caucus4Priorities, a group headed by Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, backed the Democratic presidential candidate on Friday. The group, dedicated to cutting wasteful Pentagon spending, says it has 10,000 Iowa members who promise to vote for Edwards in the Jan. 3 caucuses.
Cohen, chairman of the Iowa organization and founder of the national Priorities Action Fund, joined Edwards at a news conference to announce his endorsement.
He said the next president needs to cast off "obsolete weapons from a bygone era that do nothing to protect us from today's threats."
"Our politicians in Washington have neither the spine nor the whit to make these choices, and the people who end up paying the price are our kids," Cohen said. "Well, the jig is up, and Iowa is leading the change."
Edwards will do whatever it takes to keep the country safe, but he won't do it at the expense of other priorities, Cohen said.
If elected, Edwards said he would examine the nation's missile defense system and the F-22 fighter jet.
"The idea that America, over the long-term, can control the spread of nuclear weapons — and just look at what's happening in Pakistan as a perfect example of this — is a fantasy, it will not happen," he said.
Cohen said nearly all of the Democratic candidates had courted support from the group. Members of the organization have become a fixture at campaign events, where they hand out brightly colored pens, frosted cookies and stickers, all featuring a pie chart that details Washington spending.
Peggy Huppert, Caucus4Priorities director, said that over the past two years the group's staff and volunteers attended 550 campaign events and asked more than 250 questions of the candidates.
"Now we plan to turn our persuasion and education efforts toward making caucus night a victory for John Edwards," she said. "10,000 caucus-goers can tip the scales in a tight contest."