Democratic candidate John Edwards says if he’s elected president, one of his goals will be getting rid of nuclear weapons.
"The building of new nuclear weapons, which Bush is engaged in right now — that needs to come to an end," Edwards says. "We need to stop that."
During an appearance Sunday in Tipton, Edwards went one step further.
"I want to be the president of the United States who leads an initiative to rid the planet of nuclear weapons," Edwards said in response to a question about how best to cut the defense budget.
Edwards said too many "state of the art" weapons like the F-22 fighter jets had too many cost over-runs and Edwards ridiculed the revival of space-based weapons systems. "We’re spending billions of dollars on it with no proof whatsoever that it works," Edwards said.
A crowd of about 200 turned out to hear Edwards speak Sunday in Tipton and Edwards drew applause when he talked of his nuclear intentions, but Edwards also conversely warned of the diplomatic tightrope the U.S. must walk as more countries possess nuclear weaponry.
"I don’t believe that we can control nuclear weapons anymore," Edwards said. "I always use Pakistan as the example. Here’s this dangerous leader — I’m sorry — this leader who’s not on steady ground, politically, in his own country. If he loses his power, then a radical government could easily take over in Pakistan. They have a nuclear weapon. They’re in constant conflict with India over Cashmere. This is a very dangerous, volatile situation. The bottom line (is) Bush and gang have new nuclear weapons, don’t pay any attention to non-proliferation treaties. That is exactly the opposite of the way we should be going."
As for how Edwards makes his own way around when he’s at home — last week the candidate said Americans should give up their gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles as a means of addressing the energy crisis. Edwards owns a Chrysler Pacifica, which is an SUV and a hybrid Ford Escape.
"I’m not holier-than-thou about this. I mean, we bought the hybrid, you know, within the past year," Edwards said. "I’m like a lot of Americans. I see how serious this issue is and I want to address it myself and I want to help lead the nation in the right direction."
Edwards plans to speak at a labor rally Monday in Des Moines. Rival Hillary Clinton and her husband, the former president, will appear at labor rallies in Sioux City and Des Moines on Labor Day.
Two other Democratic candidates are campaigning in Iowa on Labor Day. Bill Richardson is making a swing through western Iowa. Joe Biden’s making stops at Labor Day events in Dubuque and Sioux City.