Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MLK III to Edwards: 'My father would be proud'

excerpt from an article by Jim Tankersley

Moments before he and rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are set to debate in South Carolina -- and at the end of a holiday that saw Democrats and Republicans pay homage to Martin Luther King Jr. -- John Edwards' campaign just released a glowing letter to the former North Carolina senator from Martin Luther King III.

Edwards met with King, the first son of the famed civil rights leader, on Saturday in Atlanta. In a follow-up letter, King lauds Edwards for his commitment to social justice and his focus on making poverty a presidential campaign issue.

Much has been made of the struggle for African-American votes - which are critical in South Carolinna - between Obama, the best-financed African American presidential candidate in history, and Clinton, whose husband cultivated deep affection from the African-American community as president. Obama and Clinton tussled in recent weeks over their respective invocations of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy.

Edwards largely avoided that skirmish while relentlessly pushing his people-against-the powerful campaign message - a decision Martin Luther King III seems to appreciate.

"There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father's legacy," he wrote in the letter to Edwards. "It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.

"I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are - a struggle for justice."

In closing, he wrote: "So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father's words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud. "

Read on for the full letter.

The Swamp: MLK III to Edwards: 'My father would be proud'

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