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Will Clinton's Visit Help or Hurt Edwards?

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RALEIGH — President Clinton is visiting the Triangle to boost the campaign of U.S. Senate candidate John Edwards. Both Edwards and supporters of incumbent Senator Lauch Faircloth believe they can benefit from the president's democratic endorsement.

Edwards brushed off suggestions that Clinton's continuing problems with Monica Lewinsky will put a damper on the visit.

"I have tremendous confidence in the voters of North Carolina," Edwards said. "I think they are going to judge me on my own merits, which is exactly what they ought to do."

The U.S. Senate hopeful expects Thursday to be a big success.

"I think it'll be an exciting, energizing day," Edwards said. "We've put out thousands of tickets, and I understand they're all gone."

Supporters of the Faircloth campaign claim that voters will lead to conclusions after seeing Edwards and Clinton sharing the same stage.

"It shows the connection between Bill Clinton and John Edwards, in that he would actually give Bill Clinton a blank check," Faircloth campaign manager Chuck Fuller said.

The Faircloth says that it will not take advantage of the visit, and try to get pictures of Edwards and Clinton together for future political ads. However, that policy does not preclude the Republican National Party from capitalizing on the opportunity.

The president will also host a private reception before his speech, which is a $5,000 per-person fundraiser.