Democratic presidential contender John Kerry and his vice presidential running mate, Senator John Edwards, campaigned together for the first time Wednesday. Opinion polls suggest that the Edwards selection has already given Senator Kerry a boost.
For their first appearance together as the Democratic presidential ticket, John Kerry and John Edwards chose the critically important state of Ohio.
At a rally in Cleveland, Senator Kerry introduced his newly announced running mate as a man with passion, conviction and strength.
The two men embraced and then it was Senator Edwards' turn to make his debut as the Democrat's presumptive candidate for vice president. "What I know is that we are going to win this election, we are going to make America stronger and we are going to create respect for America all around the world, the America that all of us believe in," he said.
For his part, Senator Kerry said he was proud of what he called a dream ticket with Senator Edwards. "Together, we are going to restore to America the values that belong to Americans and define us as a people," he said. "Together, we are going to move one step closer in these next days, through the convention and onto November, to end the Bush presidency together."
Some new opinion polls suggest the Edwards selection is giving the Kerry campaign a boost.
But Republicans were quick to seize on the voting records of both Senators Kerry and Edwards, calling them the most liberal Democratic presidential ticket in history.
President Bush was asked to compare Senator Edwards' political skills and experience with those of Vice President Dick Cheney and the president quickly replied, "Dick Cheney can be president."
During a campaign swing through Senator Edwards' home state of North Carolina, President Bush also said he will do well in southern states in the November election because he shares the same values as southern voters.
"I told them we would cut their taxes and we have done that. The economy is strong here in North Carolina," he said. "I also know that when they go to the polls to vote for president that they will understand that the senator from Massachusetts does not share their values."
Some political analysts believe the addition of Senator Edwards to the Democratic ticket could help win votes in the south. Mark Johnson has covered Senator Edwards for the Charlotte Observer newspaper in North Carolina.
"The thing that is probably most helpful to Kerry in terms of his [Edwards'] southern background is that Kerry can send him into southern states to campaign alongside a senate candidate or a congressional candidate and he does not look out of place and it is not awkward and some of those candidates may want him coming in whereas they may not want a liberal from Massachusetts coming in," he told VOA News Now.
Senators Kerry and Edwards take their campaign onto another key election battleground state, Florida, before visiting North Carolina on Saturday.