Edwards holds rally in Arundel

Candidate makes 1st stop in Md. since nomination

Election 2004

October 16, 2004|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

Vice presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards shared a little disbelief with supporters at a rally at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold last night.

During the second debate, President Bush said he couldn't think of any mistakes he had made during his term, Edwards noted.

"After November, we're going to give him the rest of his life to think about it," the candidate said.

Edwards had more time than he had expected to plan his remarks for the crowd in the college's gymnasium.

The Democrat took the stage at 8 p.m., hours after he was expected to arrive in Maryland because the pilot of his flight from Cleveland aborted takeoff as a result of a problem with one of the plane's generators.

No one was injured, and the flight left about 6 p.m.

About 1,400 people waited for hours in the intermittent rain. The campaign stop was Edwards' first in Maryland since he was nominated at the Democratic National Convention.

Jordan Defibaugh, a 19-year-old AACC student, skipped his creative writing class to drive to Washington earlier in the day to pick up tickets for him and his friend Melissa Dillon.

"We don't know much about Edwards, but we're pro-Kerry, so we thought we'd come out and see what he had to say," said Dillon, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Bill Harris of Columbia, who came to the event with his wife and two young daughters, hoped to hear how Edwards planned to energize the rest of the country.

"He's electric. He's like a rock star," Harris said.

A group of Bush supporters waved signs and traded taunts with people waiting to enter the building. "Four more years!" they shouted.

"Three more weeks!" people in line responded.

Martha A. Smith, president of the community college, said during the rally that she thought it was "so cool" that Edwards chose to come to AACC. Candidates have also visited other community colleges.

"Community colleges are all about keeping America's promise of equal opportunity for all," she said.

Some Democratic politicians attending the rally reminded the crowd to vote for party candidates in congressional elections, too.

"The president can't do it alone. He needs a Congress that's working with him," said Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin.

During his 15-minute talk, Edwards urged those in the audience to reach out to their friends and neighbors.

"At the end of the day, it's you who changes this country," he said.

The crowd chanted with him as he told them to remind others that "hope is on the way," shaking his fist in the air.

After the rally, Edwards was scheduled to attend a fund-raiser at the home of former state Democratic Party Chairman Wayne L. Rogers. Tickets to that event cost $25,000 per couple or $15,000 per person.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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