2008 Presidential Corner: Edwards, McCain work to stand out among the pack (Part 1)

By Katelyn Friel

Former running mate of Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Elections, John Edwards is now running for president in a crowded field of Democratic contenders that includes Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama. Edwards’ campaign “to change America” centers on his desire to build “One America.”

Such a lofty promise may seem too farfetched, but Edwards supports his platform with an 80-page book detailing his vision for America. Let’s remember to not judge a book by its cover.

Detailed on his official Web site, www.johnedwards.com, the plan declares that “In America, everyone should have a fair opportunity to realize their dreams, no matter where they came from. Building One America will take strong, bold steps, not incremental steps and half measures. Edwards has proposed detailed plans to put Washington back on the side of regular families.”

Like all of the Democratic candidates, Edwards wants to immediately withdraw from Iraq and to allow the Iraqi people to manage their own affairs. To counter America’s tarnished public image, Edwards plans to build the country’s morale, in turn fostering stronger foreign relations. He also wants to establish universal health care, allowing every American to receive coverage.

While all these courses of action are commendable, what sets Edwards apart on the issues that matter most to the college student?

As he stated in the recent Democratic Debate, “Our job is to ensure that our children will have a better life than we’ve had.” Yet, with the astronomical tuition costs and fees, it is difficult to fund a college education. His solution: to provide every willing student a college education. Understanding that a college education is the most sought after distinction today, Edwards has launched a new initiative, appropriately entitled, “College for Everyone.” This program is designed to allow more than 2 million students to attend college free for one year if they are willing to work part-time and take college preparatory courses during high school.

Edwards is also looking to revamp the student loan program by allowing students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education. By doing so, he will let students receive loans that are less costly to taxpayers and “free up almost $6 billion a year to make college more affordable.”

The race is heating up even though the first primary is not for another two months. A recent poll conducted by CBS and The New York Times has Edwards, Clinton and Obama vying for the top spot in Iowa.

With this information in hand, it is time to take hold of the power that this nation has allotted its citizens and decide the fate of our future.

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