Edwards hits D.C. airwaves with Iraq ad

Former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) became the first top-tier Democratic presidential contender to air a television commercial, the campaign announced Wednesday.

Edwards’s ad will run in the D.C. market and urges Congress to end the war in Iraq by forcing President Bush to sign a funding bill that includes a timetable for a troop withdrawal.

“Congress needs to stand firm and strong,” Edwards said. “Congress should answer the president’s veto by sending him another bill with a timetable for withdrawal. And if he vetoes that one, Congress should send him another and another until we end this war and bring our troops home.”

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Democratic candidates are working hard to position themselves as strongly anti-war. Edwards, who was in the Senate when Congress authorized the Iraq war, has called his vote in favor of the measure a mistake.

In a letter to supporters, sent after the ad buy was announced to the media, Edwards said he hopes to raise $100,000 in the next 24 hours to make the ad possible.

Is it normal for a presidential campaign to drop everything and focus on pushing Congress to end a war? Maybe not,” Edwards told supporters. “Is it normal for you to contribute money online towards running emergency ads in Washington, D.C.? Maybe not. But we don’t have time for normal.

The Edwards campaign touted the new ad as innovative, because it will be continued by ordinary voters. Edwards supporters are asked to record their own messages, which then will be incorporated into the current ad and shown on the campaign website and YouTube.

“[This] allows the American people to directly share their messages with Congress in an unprecedented way, and shows Congress that this message is not just from [Edwards], but from the American people,” the campaign stated in a release.