COLUMBIA - John Edwards returned to his native South Carolina for the first time as the Democratic vice presidential nominee Wednesday to rally about 1,200 people gathered at a downtown community center.
Even though Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is not expected to campaign in the heavily Republican state, Mr. Edwards promised he would not forget South Carolina.
"I told you I'd be back," said Mr. Edwards, a Seneca native who won only this state's primary in his party's presidential nomination contest.
Many in the crowd fanned themselves with giant Kerry-Edwards campaign signs as they cheered for the North Carolina senator in the sweltering gymnasium.
Mr. Edwards' 15-minute speech criticized President Bush for job losses, skyrocketing health care costs and a daunting war in Iraq.
"Iraq's a mess, isn't it?" Mr. Edwards asked the crowd. "And it's a mess because of two men - George Bush and Dick Cheney."