Edwards Talks Layoffs in Hard-Hit Ohio

Democrat John Edwards (search) kept up a long-distance debate over his "two Americas" campaign theme with Vice President Dick Cheney (search) on Tuesday, saying it was no illusion to thousands of laid-off workers in Ohio.

Edwards frequently refers to the idea of two Americas, one for the rich and one for everyone else. In Minnesota on Monday, Cheney criticized that approach as "some sort of class system or class warfare approach." And at last week's Republican convention he made fun of the idea, saying of the Democrats' presidential nominee, "America sees two John Kerrys."

Edwards, citing layoffs during President Bush's (search) administration, said Tuesday, "I wonder if the 230,000 people in Ohio who lost their jobs, I wonder if they think that's funny."

The North Carolina senator was introduced by a laid-off worker from a television manufacturing plant.

Edwards told his audience he would work to protect a uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, which has been drastically scaled back over the past few years. He said he would support a plan to create more jobs at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

Edwards began and concluded his 25-minute speech with sharp criticism of the war in Iraq.

"Iraq, despite the courageous service of our men and women, because of this president and vice president, is a mess by any measure," Edwards said. "We lost more troops in August than we lost in July. We lost more troops in July than we lost in June. Iran and North Korea have moved forward with their nuclear weapons programs during exactly the same time."

Bush won Ohio by 4 percentage points in 2000 and both the Democrats and Republicans have been campaigning hard here. Bush, who did well in southern Ohio four years ago, is to hold a campaign rally in Chillicothe on Friday.