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Edwards praises Kerry as 'strong' and 'decisive'

Democratic delegates formally nominate Massachusetts senator

John Edwards: "We choose hope over despair, possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism."
CNN's Carlos Watson reviews Day 3 of the DNC, sets the agenda for the final day.

John Edwards says Kerry will bring optimism to Americans.

The Rev. Al Sharpton's rousing speech.

• Edwards:  'Hope is on the way'
• Sharpton:  Black vote 'not for sale'
• Gallery:  Revving the crowd
• GOP response:  Kerry and Iraq
Day Four: Thursday

• Theme: "Stronger at Home, Respected in the World"

• 4 p.m. ET: Session opens

• 7-9:45 p.m. ET: Speakers include Madeleine Albright, Joe Biden, Wesley Clark, Joe Lieberman, Nancy Pelosi and Carole King performing "You've Got a Friend"

• 9:45 p.m. ET: Family members of John Kerry speak -- Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry, Chris and Andre Heinz

• 10 p.m. ET: Veterans of Kerry's crew in Vietnam speak, followed by Sen. Max Cleland's introduction of Kerry

• 10:30 p.m. ET: John Kerry delivers his address in acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination
Name that party!  See if you know who said what
Do you know what John Kerry stands for?
John Edwards
John F. Kerry
Democratic Convention
America Votes 2004

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Six months after a come-from-behind victory in wintry Iowa resuscitated a campaign largely written off by the pundit class, Sen. John Kerry was nominated by the Democratic Party on Wednesday night as its presidential candidate.

The votes of the delegation from the battleground state of Ohio gave Kerry the 2,162 he needed to go over the top in the state-by-state roll call vote, one of the most time-honored and colorful rituals in American politics.

The senator from Massachusetts was not in Boston's FleetCenter for the vote, instead spending the evening at his home in the city, where a string of well-wishers dropped by, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, comedian Carl Reiner and a primary rival, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

Before delegates voiced their choice, the man Kerry picked as his running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, came to the podium to tell them that "hope is on the way." (Full story)

"When you wake up and you're sitting at the kitchen table with your kids and you're talking about the great possibilities in America, your kids should know that John and I believe to our core that tomorrow can be better than today," Edwards said. "We choose hope over despair, possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism."

Edwards also said anybody who questions whether Kerry is a strong, decisive leader needs to "spend three minutes with the men who served with him" in the Navy in Vietnam.

"They saw up close what he's made of. They saw him reach into the river and pull one of his men to safety and save his life. They saw him in the heat of battle make a decision in a split second to turn his boat around, drive it through an enemy position and chase down the enemy to save his crew," Edwards said.

"Decisive. Strong. Is this not what we need in a commander in chief?"

And with polls showing Americans have more trust in President Bush than Kerry on national security matters, Edwards offered a pointed contrast on the issue of terrorism.

"We're approaching the third anniversary of September 11th, and one thing I can tell you is that when we're in office, it won't take us three years to get the reforms in our intelligence that are necessary to keep the American people safe," he said.

"We will have one clear, unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these terrorists: You cannot run, you cannot hide. We will destroy you."

Edwards also vowed to eliminate tax cuts for companies that send jobs overseas and give those cuts to businesses that create jobs at home.

The senator said 98 percent of Americans would keep tax cuts passed during the Bush administration. But he said the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans would not.

Democrats would close tax loopholes for corporations and cut wasteful spending, he said, adding that those savings would pay for other benefits.

Edwards promised a tax break and other steps to lower health insurance premiums to ensure all Americans had access to medical care. Another tax break would go for child care, and one more for college tuition.

The candidate's wife, Elizabeth Edwards, earlier said her husband would fight "to make the opportunities of America available to all Americans." (Interactive: John Edwards)

Other Democrats pounded away at the Republican administration. (Special Report: America Votes 2004, the Democratic convention)

A former Kerry rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, said that though no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, they have been found in U.S. cities.

"Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction," Kucinich said. "Joblessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Homeless is a weapon of mass destruction. Racism is a weapon of mass destruction. Fear is a weapon of mass destruction.

"We must disarm these weapons," he said.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson also took a swing at Bush, saying "the president speaks of leaving no child behind, but leaves 2 million children behind to protect the tax cut for the top 1 percent." (Read transcript)

Another former rival for the Democratic nomination, the Rev. Al Sharpton, accused the administration of squandering an "opportunity to unite the world for democracy."

"We went from unprecedented international support and solidarity on September 12, 2001, to hostility and hatred as we stand here tonight."

In a speech that drew much applause, Sharpton said the November election was about the "promise of America."

"The promise of America says we will guarantee quality education for all children and not spend more money on metal detectors than computers in our schools.

"The promise of America provides that those who work in our health care system can afford to be hospitalized in the very beds they clean up every day.

"The promise of America is that government does not seek to regulate your behavior in the bedroom, but to guarantee your right to provide food in the kitchen," Sharpton said. (Full story)

CNN's John King, Catherine Berger, Wayne Drash, Bryan Long and Sean Loughlin contributed to this report.

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