updated 12/23/2003 11:34:25 AM ET 2003-12-23T16:34:25

Sen. John Edwards said Tuesday he’s trying to run a positive, optimistic campaign in New Hampshire to contrast with the sniping between his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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“You can hardly turn on a TV or open your mailbox in Iowa or in New Hampshire without hearing attack ads about Iraq, attack ads about Medicare, and most recently, even attack ads about attack ads,” Edwards told about 150 students and business people.

Without naming any of his rivals for the nomination, the North Carolina lawmaker said voters know that when candidates are spending their time sniping, they’re not thinking about issues that affect people.

Complaints of focus on Dean
Edwards, who is trailing in the New Hampshire polls, had complained on Monday about the media’s focus on Howard Dean.

“My campaign is not about Howard Dean,” he said. “My campaign is about what John Edwards wants to do for America.”

Earlier Monday, at a restaurant meeting with supporters, Edwards said he would avoid negative campaigning and the back-and-forth charges between the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I don’t think people care about what so and so said seven years ago,” he said. “Who cares? What we care about is who has the vision and ideas about where America needs to go. The Democratic candidates need to get above that.”

Emphasis on jobs
Edwards emphasized his plan to create 5 million jobs. It includes eliminating tax breaks for U.S. companies that move overseas and giving companies a 10 percent tax cut for manufacturing here.

Edwards said he would create a national venture capital fund and offer special tax breaks to help businesses in hard-hit communities, invest in high-tech energy technology, and set a goal of providing universal broadband Internet access within four years.

Under the jobs plan, Edwards would improve pay for teachers, increase the minimum wage and provide a year’s free tuition at public colleges. He would eliminate President Bush’s tax breaks for those earning more than $200,000 and offer a tax credit for first-time home buyers.

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