CLEVELAND, OH — Sen. John Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards hit the campaign trail together for the first time Wednesday.
Kerry and Edwards made their first joint campaign stop in Cleveland Wednesday for a rally. The appearance comes a day after Kerry selected Edwards to be his running mate on the Democratic ticket.
"I have to be honest with you. When I got the call yesterday from John, I was little surprised because I thought it was another reporter calling to ask what I knew," Edwards told the Cleveland crowd. "Here is what I know. What I know is we are going to win this election. We are going to make America stronger and we are going to create respect for America all around the world -- the America we all believe in."
Supporters at the rally are generally pleased with the Kerry-Edwards ticket.
"He's a go-getter and he has gotgreat charisma," said one supporter.
"He brings youthfulness and enthusiasm," said another supporter.
Kerry and Edwards appeared in Cleveland and Dayton on Wednesday. Other appearances are scheduled this week for Florida, West Virginia and New Mexico before they end up in Edwards' home state of North Carolina this weekend.
Earlier in the day, the two spoke to reporters Wednesday while appearing with their families at Kerry's wife's estate outside Pittsburgh. Kerry said his campaign with Edwards will be a journey to make America stronger at home and respected again abroad.
"We come to this with a deep, deep belief that America can do better," Kerry said. "Today we're embarking on a new journey together, not for us but for our country -- a journey to make our country all it can be."
For his part, Edwards said Kerry shares his "values and visions." Having campaigned against Kerry for the Democratic presidential nomination, Edwards said, "I know this guy very well."
Edwards said their campaign now will be about "restoring hope" that "tomorrow will be better than today" for Americans.
Kerry and Edwards are the first senators to serve on the same ticket since 1972, when Democratic Sens. George McGovern of South Dakota and Thomas Eagleton of Missouri teamed up.
Eagleton later dropped out of the race because of his mental history.
The Kerry campaign is quick to respond to the questions about whether John Edwards has enough experience to be vice president.
Campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said Edwards is more qualified than President George W. Bush was when he was elected. The campaign points to his service on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
She also said Kerry is confident he made the right choice in picking Edwards. Cahill said Kerry never made an offer to Republican John McCain, who is said to have rebuffed overtures from the Democrat to join his ticket. She said now that Edwards is on board, the Democratic presidential ticket will be "unmatched."
Mary Beth Cahill said that "things are only going to get better" for the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
Cahill said the Democrats are already running ads in some Southern states and will begin airing ads now in North Carolina.
Europe Embraces Edwards
Several European newspapers say Kerry's choice of a running mate comes down to one word: charisma.
Edwards has it; Kerry doesn't, in the opinion of major national papers in Europe.
The Daily Telegraph
all feature "charisma" in the headlines of their editorials.
said Edwards "has the charisma, the fresh face, the self-confident youthfulness that Mr. Kerry, nine years his senior, so clearly lacks."
"In selecting the senator for North Carolina,"
The Daily Telegraph
said, "the presidential challenger is looking not so much for a geographic as a personality balance for the Democratic ticket. Where Mr. Kerry ... is wooden and aloof," the paper said, "his prospective vice president is a charismatic communicator who will appeal to independent voters in middle-ground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania."
Bush Campaigns In North Carolina
Now that Edwards is on the Democratic ticket, Bush is expected to focus more attention on North Carolina. It's a state he won easily four years ago.
During a visit to the state Wednesday, Bush will be highlighting the role Edwards has played in blocking Bush's nominees to federal courts.
Democrats are hoping to make headway in Republican-leaning North Carolina with Edwards on their ticket.