Local News

Edwards Camp Spending In S.C.

Posted February 10, 2003 11:56 a.m. EST

— Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards says he supports the NAACP's economic boycott of South Carolina to protest the flying of the Confederate flag on the Statehouse grounds.

However, Edwards' campaign will lease office space in the state, and his staff will be free to eat at restaurants and stay in hotels, campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said.

Edwards, who is from neighboring North Carolina, will stay with friends while campaigning in South Carolina, Palmieri said.

"The senator, out of respect for the NAACP, wanted to personally honor the boycott," Palmieri said. "But we have and will be spending money in the state."

Some South Carolina Republicans have criticized Edwards as flipping on the issue.

State Sen. John Courson, R-Columbia, who crafted the initial legislation that led to the Confederate flag's removal from the Statehouse dome, said Edwards "has had almost every position possible on this issue."

"It can only make you wonder what John Edwards' position on the boycott or any other issue will be the next time he visits our state," Courson said.

But James Gallman, president of the South Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he does not think Edwards is backpedaling on the issue.

"We appreciate that Senator Edwards stood up and said that the flag belongs in a museum and that he has chosen to honor the sanctions by staying in private residences," Gallman said. "From the beginning of the boycott, there were guidelines that allowed for groups to conduct essential business in South Carolina and we realize to run an effective campaign there will be spending in the state. And we do not see that as flipping on the issue."