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Edwards Finds Crowd Of Enthusiastic Supporters At Beach

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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. — North Carolina Sen. John Edwards took his traditional Fourth of July walk on Wrightsville Beach. This year's walk created quite a stir.

With all the autograph signing and picture taking, Edwards got rock star treatment.

The senator was on Wrightsville Beach for his sixth annual Independence Day beach walk. Normally, he just talks to constituents about things important to them and what he is working on.

But this time, there was a crush of media and an enthusiastic group of supporters. All are anticipating a decision from Sen. John Kerry, expected as early as this week, on whether Edwards will be his running mate.

At every turn, the media and Edwards supporters were asking the question Edwards did not want to answer.

When asked about the numerous "Kerry-Edwards" stickers and signs along his walk, Edwards said: "I don't have anything to say about that. I'm just out here saying hello to the people I represent in the senate."

He also was campaigning for the man he recently ran against.

"Do everything in your power to make sure Sen. John Kerry is the next President of the United States," he told the people.

Edwards is scheduled to be in Boston Monday to campaign for Kerry.

Meanwhile, Kerry spent the holiday with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who also reportedly is on Kerry's short list for VP.

With both time and the list of candidates dwindling, Democrats and interest groups are sounding off about who they want on the ticket. It appears John Edwards is the favorite.

Fifth-term Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy called Edwards the strongest candidate. He said Edwards can "get people fired up" and could help in a number of battleground states.

Organized labor vote is split, but a growing number of unions support Edwards as a fresh face who can bring energy and charisma to the ticket.

Even the people want Edwards. A CNN/Gallup poll released earlier this week showed 72 percent of likely voters want Edwards on the ticket.

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