Edwards seeks to mobilize anti-war base

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) launched a new website Saturday under the motto “support the troops and end the war,” hoping to bolster his anti-war credentials, gain signatures, and expand his presidential campaign at the grassroots level.

Using Memorial Day weekend as a platform for grassroots buildup, Edwards’ www.supportthetroopsendthewar.com urges Americans to honor their country’s soldiers this Memorial Day weekend by gathering together, volunteering, praying, and speaking out against the war in Iraq.

Edwards played to the anti-war, anti-Bush contingent of Democratic voters, calling the November elections a mandate to end the war, and directly contradicting the Bush administration’s stance that cutting off war funds is a slap in the face to U.S. troops.

“The best way to honor their service, and the best way to support them, is for the president of the United States to do what America has demanded be done, and that’s to end this war,” Edwards says on the site.

Edwards also played to liberal sentiments that President Bush used patriotism to stir up consent for waging war against Saddam Hussein: “George Bush has tried to use patriotism as an excuse for everything he’s done, including what’s happening in Iraq. We need to reclaim patriotism for America.”

Grassroots efforts like this will be important for Edwards, who trails both Sens. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) in the polls and fundraising among Democratic presidential candidates.