WASHINGTON — North Carolina Sen. John Edwards added his voice Saturday to the Democratic chorus of Bush bashing, as the party wrapped up its annual winter meeting with appearances from three of the eight Democratic presidential hopefuls.
"In two short years, George W. Bush has taught us what the W stands for: wrong," Edwards said to a cheering audience of roughly 400 Democratic insiders. "Wrong for our children, wrong for our parents, wrong for our values, and wrong, wrong, wrong for our country."
Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who have formed presidential exploratory committees, also addressed the crowd, reiterating their opposition to a war with Iraq. Sharpton drew perhaps the biggest ovation of the three-day gathering when he assailed Bush for opposing affirmative action programs that factor race into university admissions.
"He's the ultimate recipient of a set-aside program. The Supreme Court set aside a whole election," Sharpton said, referring to the disputed 2000 presidential vote.
On Friday, party leaders heard from four of the Democrats' presidential hopefuls: Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun and ex-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. An eighth contestant, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, was forced to miss the meeting as he continues to heal from prostate cancer surgery.