Months after presidential
candidate John Kerry pulled ahead in the race for the democratic
ticket, he announced today that he has selected Sen. John Edwards
(D-N.C.) as his running mate in November’s election.

“I am pleased to announce that with your help, the next vice
president of the United States of America will be Senator John
Edwards of North Carolina,” Kerry said at a rally at Market Square
in Pittsburgh, Pa. this morning.

Kerry told Edwards, the last major candidate standing against
Kerry in the Democratic presidential race, of his choice before the
rally in a 15-minute telephone call.

“I was humbled by his offer — and thrilled to accept
it,” Edwards said in a statement released by Kerry’s
office.

Members of the Democratic community on campus expressed
satisfaction and relief in response to Kerry’s
announcement.

 “Edwards is very appealing to both students and the
general population, and it’s nice to have new ideas and a
fresh outlook,” said Ramya Raghaven, chair of the College
Democrats and an LSA junior. “It will provide a good contrast
to (President George Bush) and (Vice President Dick
Cheney).”

Rob DeVore, co-chair of Students for Edwards at the University
and LSA senior, said the uncertainty before the decision was
damaging to the Democrats’ fight for the presidency.

“It takes a lot of the question of (the campaign),”
DeVore said. “People have been unable to commit without
knowing who the fourth person is.”

While Bush and Cheney politely welcomed Edwards to a “spirited
race,” their allies at the Republican National Committee issued a
press release that called Edwards a “disingenuous, unaccomplished
liberal” and a “friend to personal-injury trial
lawyers.”

Members of the Democratic community responded with a shot at the
incumbent candidates’ own experience.

DeVore pointed out Bush’s mere four years as Texas
governor compared to Edwards’s five and a half years as
senator and Cheney’s lack of an official elected position
before his vice presidency.

Regarding the senator’s past career as a trial lawyer,
DeVore said that his integrity “speaks for itself.”

“He has built a career of standing up for the unprotected
— standing up for those who can’t speak for
themselves,” DeVore said.

As for the future of those campaigning for the Democrats this
fall, DeVore has already started plans to “merge
forces” with members of Students for Kerry.

“A lot will be accomplished when school starts up in
September,” he said.

The announcement, however, changes little for the College
Dems.

“This won’t change anything we do,” Raghaven
said. “We will still try to make as many personal contacts as
possible and, of course, try getting Kerry and Edwards on
campus.”

The pair will meet for dinner tonight in Pittsburgh before
launching a multi-state tour starting in Ohio on Wednesday and
ending in North Carolina Saturday.

They will be officially nominated at the Democratic National
Convention in Boston, which begins July 26.

Kerry’s announcement ended a search for vice president that
began with about 25 candidates and included Rep. Dick Gephardt
(D-Miss.), Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa) and retired Army Gen. Wesley
Clark.

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