Former Sen. John Edwards, D-S.C.
Julie Jacobson  /  AP
Presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards, D-S.C., answers questions after speaking with members of the Community Service Society of New York and the Service Employees International Union Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007 in New York.
updated 2/28/2007 9:30:56 AM ET 2007-02-28T14:30:56

Democrat John Edwards said Tuesday that honesty and openness were essential qualities for a president, and that he was proud to acknowledge his 2002 vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

Trolling for campaign cash on a three-day visit to New York - home of his chief Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton - Edwards spoke to reporters after attending a union-sponsored workshop on eradicating poverty.

Asked whether his repeated apologies for his vote would be a turnoff to voters over time, the 2004 vice presidential nominee said that after six years of President Bush, voters craved a president willing to acknowledge errors and change course if necessary.

A president is human
"If you asked me what I think the most important personal characteristics of the next president are, I would say honesty, openness and decency," he said. "There's not a single voter in America who doesn't understand that their president is human, and their president will sometimes makes mistakes."

At a voter forum in Carson City, Nev., last week, Edwards said Clinton's decision not to disavow her vote was "between her and her conscience." He didn't mention her Wednesday, taking a swipe at President Bush instead.

Voters, the former North Carolina senator said, "want you to be willing to change course when something's not working. We've had six-plus years now of a president who is completely unwilling to do that."

For her part, Clinton's also had a busy fundraising week - thanks in part to an online effort by her husband, Bill Clinton.

In an e-mail to his wife's supporters last Wednesday, the former president launched a fundraising drive aimed at raising $1 million in a week. As of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign said it had brought in nearly $890,000.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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