NBC "Today" - Transcript
MS. VIEIRA: Let's begin with former Senator John Edwards. He staked his presidential campaign, in large part, on winning Iowa. But he finished second, eight points behind Barack Obama.
Senator Edwards is in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Senator, good morning to you.
MR. EDWARDS: Good morning.
MS. VIEIRA: Senator, before you left your supporters last night in Iowa, you said to them, quote, "The one thing that's clear from the results is the status quo lost and change won." But the candidate for change who won was Obama, not Edwards. So is your candidacy up against the ropes this morning?
MR. EDWARDS: Oh, no. We start in a very good place here in New Hampshire. The truth is that, you know, 60, 70 percent of the voters in Iowa have rejected the status quo. I actually beat a Clinton political machine that spent many millions more than I did in Iowa.
And now people are going to have a choice, Meredith. They're going to have a choice between two change candidates, and the choice is between myself, who believes that we have to fight for the change that we need, and Senator Obama, who has a very different perspective on this, a different philosophy.
And I think that's what's going to happen here in New Hampshire. I think people are going to decide between a candidate who is not the candidate of money, not the candidate of status quo, but somebody who will actually fight for the change that we need. And it'll be between Senator Obama and myself.
MS. VIEIRA: But momentum is 99 percent of the game, and you've got four days to go to make up a gap. You are trailing in New Hampshire. So how are you possibly going to make up that gap in that short period of time?
MR. EDWARDS: Well, what I'm going to do is make sure I focus on what people care about -- fighting for the middle class, fighting for jobs, making sure that we do something about the corporate power and corporate greed that's having such an impact on middle-class families in this country. And I'm the little guy in this. You know, it's shocking that I was able to do what I did. I'm running against two celebrity candidates who raised over $200 million between them, who grossly outspent me in Iowa.
MS. VIEIRA: But Senator, by that argument --
MR. EDWARDS: They're doing the same thing in New Hampshire.
MS. VIEIRA: But by that argument, Romney would have won in Iowa. I mean, the little guy in Iowa, many would say, was Huckabee on the Republican side, and he won.
MR. EDWARDS: Yeah, but nobody on their side raised the kind of money that Senator Clinton and Senator Obama did. I mean, they were in the stratosphere. And they've gotten huge media coverage for the entire campaign.
What happened was the people of Iowa said, "We want John Edwards' voice to be heard." I mean, I basically beat the Clinton machine, where I was grossly outspent by them, and was competitive with Senator Obama. And now what we know is we're going to have a change candidate for the next nominee for the Democratic nominee for president. And the choice is going to be between me and Senator Obama.
And voters here in New Hampshire are not going to be told what to do, and we're not going to have an auction here. We're going to have an election. And I think people here have been known to surprise.
MS. VIEIRA: Senator, Mark Twain once said, "Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." Could he be talking about you this morning as well?
MR. EDWARDS: I can tell you that I'm in great spirits, even on an hour's sleep last night, and I'm here in New Hampshire. I'm going to fight with everything I've got, and I'm optimistic.
MS. VIEIRA: All right, Senator John Edwards, thank you so much for your time this morning.