Washington state

Candidate Edwards makes pitch to unions

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, a textile worker's son turned wealthy lawyer, pitched himself as an anti-war populist to Puget Sound labor groups Tuesday.

Edwards told a Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO forum in Seattle that Congress should refuse to accept President Bush's veto today of a war spending bill that sets a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

"They ought to do another bill, funding the troops, with a timetable for withdrawal and send it back," Edwards said. "If he vetoes that one, then they ought to do it again."

Edwards said the Democrats who control Congress shouldn't be afraid of charges that they aren't supporting the troops by getting into a showdown with the president over the funding.

"If the president vetoes this bill, it is the President of the United States that is not supporting the troops," said Edwards, the former U.S. senator from North Carolina who was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 2004.

Edwards voted in the U.S. Senate to authorize the war but has said that was a mistake.

Edwards was in Seattle on Tuesday in order to seek the endorsement of the AFL-CIO. The federations approval could give him a major boost as he attempts to catch up in fundraising and polls to his Democratic rivals, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.