A Democratic candidate trying to make up ground on the two front-runners for president says Missouri will play a key role in his Super Tuesday strategy.
"It’s important," United States Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) says of Missouri, "We expect to be competitive and do well here."
Edwards visited Springfield and Jefferson City during a two-day swing through the state a week ahead of the presidential primary. Missouri is one of several states holding their primary on February 5 th , the so-called Super Tuesday, because of the sheer number of delegates at stake.
Edwards advocates universal health care . His campaign estimates that the proposal would cost between $90 and 120 billion. Edwards claims the costs could be covered by eliminating the Bush Administration tax cuts for those making $200,000 a year or more. Edwards says health care should be treated as a right in America, not as a privilege.
Edwards also supports a steep increase in the minimum wage . Congress approved an increase in the minimum wage last year. It is $5.85/hour now, will rise to $6.55/hour in July and go up to $7.25/hour next year. Edwards says that’s not high enough. He would like to see the minimum wage rise to $9.50/hour with an index to keep it rising with inflation. He shrugs off concerns that such an increase would eliminate jobs in the United States and move many overseas, where businesses could find lower wages. He says critics weave such stories, but don’t back them up with hard evidence.
Most public opinion polls show Edwards trailing both US Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-New York) and US Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) in the race for the Democratic nomination. A week away from the Missouri primary, Clinton seems to have a strong lead. A Rasmussen public opinion poll conducted late last week had Clinton ahead in Missouri with 43% of the vote, Obama in second with 24% and Edwards third with 18%.