Mrs. Edwards Plans for Iowa Visit

Elizabeth Edwards (search) has at least a couple of goals for her first visit back to Iowa since her husband's surprising second place showing in the state's leadoff precinct caucuses.

"I want to look up some old friends and find a pork chop someplace," said Mrs. Edwards, in an interview with The Associated Press.

Sen. John Edwards (search) is making his first swing through the state since he was picked as presumptive nominee John Kerry's (search) running mate. He was to be joined Wednesday by his wife at a rally on the Statehouse steps.

In the interview, Mrs. Edwards said campaign strategists are still figuring out the best way to display the new ticket, but the goals are clear even before it is formally ratified later this month at the Democratic National Convention (search).

"What I want to do is find a way to communicate with as many voters as I can," she said.

One of the biggest strengths in adding a running mate is creating two more voices to sound the campaign's themes, the running mate and the running mate's spouse.

"In the end it's about convincing voters," she said.

The new ticket had something of a giddy first week, as Kerry and Edwards, along with their wives, stumped through a series of battleground states to generally positive reviews.

Mrs. Edwards said she had spent time with Kerry and his wife, but the intensity of the campaign trail takes the relationship to a new level.

"It's kind of like being roommates," said Mrs. Edwards.

While Mrs. Edwards stumped for her husband during the campaign for Iowa's caucuses, she was not a high-profile figure on the campaign trail. The glare of a presidential campaign is likely to change all that.

Taking the message to as many voters as possible makes sense, because her husband doesn't need a lot of campaign advice. Though he's only run one race for the Senate, and his unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination, he's developed polished political skills and a powerful stump speech that leaves little room for improvement.

"I like to think my voice makes a difference with my husband," she said. "There's not a whole lot of improvement I can suggest."

Edwards' impressive stump performance is largely credited with making him a popular running mate pick, she said.

"With respect to what it is John should say and how he should say it ... he has a lot more information than I do," she said.

The addition of Edwards to the ticket strengthens Kerry's chances of holding Iowa's seven electoral votes. The state voted Democratic in 2000, but by barely 4,000 votes.

Both Kerry and Edwards spent years stumping for Iowa's caucuses and are familiar figures in the state. With Edwards picking an Iowa rally as one of his first solo campaign events, the campaign is sending a signal that the state is a target, and likely to see more visits from the ticket.

President Bush has dispatched Vice President Dick Cheney for a swing in the state, and Cheney has another scheduled for Friday.

Edwards will be introduced by Gov. Tom Vilsack, who was also on Kerry's short list for the running mate spot, though no one knows precisely how large that list became.