WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Tuesday announced a new television ad in New Hampshire, part of his focus on improving his standing in the first primary state.
The 30-second spot features Edwards giving a speech on how he would make the United States "the country of the 21st Century" and includes a clip of his wife, Elizabeth, meeting with an elderly voter.
Elizabeth Edwards has been one of the most prominent spouses on the campaign trail. Her fight against breast cancer and her plainspoken appeal have made her a popular draw, especially among women — a competitive voting bloc in a race featuring New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as the first female front-runner in a presidential race.
In the ad, Edwards offers a populist message critical of President Bush, without naming him.
"The strength in America is not just in the Oval Office, the strength in America is in this room, right now," Edwards said as a crowd in a packed gymnasium rises in applause. "It's the American people. And it's time for the president of the United States to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war."
Clinton has a wide lead in New Hampshire polls, followed by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and Edwards. Although Edwards leads in Iowa, which holds the first caucus on Jan. 14, the campaign recognizes that he needs to improve his standing elsewhere to be a serious contender for the nomination.