Local News

Edwards, Chelsea Clinton Talk to Young Democrats

Posted March 29, 2008 7:14 p.m. EDT
Updated March 30, 2008 8:42 a.m. EDT

— The anniversary luncheon for the Young Democrats of North Carolina on Saturday brought out national political figures, including former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.

“Everything everyone’s spoken about today affects us more than it does later generations, because we’re the ones the burden falls on,” said Nicole Smith, with the UNC-Charlotte Democrats.

Organizers of the event said they have never seen so many national figures at the event, which they said shows the significance both young people and North Carolina will have on this vote.

John Edwards says it's "obvious" North Carolina will play a paramount role in picking the Democratic nominee. He declined, though, to endorse either of his former rivals, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

"When I have something to say about it, I'll let you guys know," Edwards said. "We would be blessed as a nation to have either one of them as president."

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Obama are fighting for 115 delegates up for grabs in North Carolina's May 6 primary. The state also has 19 unpledged superdelegates.

Clinton said she planned to talk to as many people in the state as she could about her mother. She said her mother's attempt to become the country's first female president opened her eyes to sexism.

"I didn't really get how much sexism there still was in our country until I was at a rally with my mom in New Hampshire, and someone came up to me and said, 'I just can't see a woman being commander in chief,'" Clinton said.

The younger Clinton explained that her parents do not always agree when an audience member questioned Hillary Rodham Clinton's opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was signed by her husband.

The 1994 landmark pact, which opened trade with Canada and Mexico, has often been blamed for the acceleration of textile and manufacturing job losses across the state.

"We don't agree on everything as a family," Clinton said. "I agree with my mother on most things, not everything. I agree with my father on most things, not everything. My mother and father agree on most things, not everything."

Young voters in the state said they were determined to make their voices heard in this election.

“I think the young people will definitely have an impact on this vote. I think that the young people will decide this race,” said James Burroughs, with the African-American Caucus of the Wake County Democrats.

Also attending the event was informal Clinton adviser James Carville.

Newark, N.J., mayor Cory Booker spoke at the convention in support of Obama.

“He has a force that can transform the national level and the international level who our nation is,” Booker said.