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Edwards joins Democratic race for U.S. presidential nomination

Edwards joins Democratic race for U.S. presidential nomination

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards jumped into the U.S. presidential race a day earlier than he had planned, prodded by an Internet glitch to launch a candidacy focused on health care, poverty and other domestic issues.
The North Carolina Democrat's campaign accidentally went live Wednesday with his election Web site a day before an announcement Thursday that was scheduled to use Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans as a backdrop.
The slip-up gave an unintended double-meaning to his campaign slogan on the John Edwards '08 Web site: "Tomorrow begins today."
Aides quickly shut down the errant Web site but could not contain news of the obvious, even in the shadows of former President Gerald Ford's death.
"Better a day earlier than a day late," said Jennifer Palmieri, an Edwards adviser.
Late Wednesday, Edwards announced his intentions to supporters in an e-mail. "I'm running to ask millions of Americans to take responsibility and take action to change our country and ensure America's greatness in the 21st century," he wrote.
Earlier, Edwards visited the site of his planned announcement for a photo opportunity. He did yard work at the home of Orelia Tyler, 54, whose house was gutted by Hurricane Katrina and is close to being rebuilt.
In his e-mail, Edwards said he chose to announce in New Orleans because it demonstrates the power people have to build America when they take responsibility instead of leaving it to Washington.
The son of a textile mill worker, Edwards vaulted from being a stunningly successful trial lawyer into the U.S. Senate and then onto the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket _ all in less than six years.
Edwards launched a bid for the Democratic nomination in 2003 and quickly caught the eye of Democratic strategists. Although he won only the South Carolina primary, his skills on the trail, his cheerful demeanor, and his message of "two Americas" _ one composed of the wealthy and privileged, and the other of the hardworking common man _ excited voters, especially independents and moderate-leaning Democrats.
Those were among the qualities that led Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the Democrats' 2004 standard bearer, to select Edwards as his running mate.
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Associated Press writers David Scott in Raleigh, N.C., and Becky Bohrer in New Orleans contributed to this story.
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