In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of voters - selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible across the US - to share their views on the key issues.
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Neil Sherman
Lives: Germantown, Tennessee
Works: Retired naval officer, Presbyterian minister
Current voting intention: Undecided
10 words or less: "Husband, father of six, grandfather of 17, soccer fan"
As an undecided voter, who traditionally votes Republican, the selection of John Edwards won't make me vote for Kerry.
I still need to know more about him.
I would lean to Bush if he could focus on helping rather than destroying. Kerry is an option, but has no proven record of leadership.
This election looks to be a close one and what Edwards brings is youth, intelligence and the American success story.
Most vice presidents fade into oblivion. Of those considered, I think that Edwards is a good choice because he can identify with the south and perhaps help to carry a state or two.
He gives a youthful slant to the ticket.
I think that's good for those younger people who might not ordinarily vote at all. It might get them out to vote.
Personally, I would have chosen Bob Graham who is popular in Florida and might deliver that state to Kerry.
Overall, though, I think Kerry made a good choice, and it will help in his challenge to George W Bush.
However, I don't see John Edwards having a great or significant role in a Kerry administration.
Cheney is in Bush's inner circle. I don't see that happening in Edward's case.
Neil, I appreciate your views. I want to comment on the idea that the VP is not very important, though. For some reason, I associate John Edwards' enthusiasm with that of JFK. And, I think this might be one case where the VP is 'in training' to follow a successful, positive Presidency with a run of his own. Some say Kennedy was not really such a good President (he was young and inexperienced, after all). But, I remember feeling good about being an American. I remember being called to service. I remember a dream of walking on the moon. These days my daughter is not even called to vote. I want hope and enthusiam and idealism back, and John Edwards communicates that.
Dianne Evans, Overland Park, KS, USA
It is refreshing to learn that Mr. Sherman, though a voter 'who traditionally votes Republican,' is willing to look at the issues, and not just party lines. I think that many middle-aged voters believe themselves to be Republicans based on what the party once was, not what it is today. It is by no means 'conservative,' for example, to run up a huge national debt as our current president has done, and I cannot imagine that party traditionalists would really support a huge unfunded mandate from the federal government such as the No Child Left Behind Act.
Kristina, Madison, WI
Edwards will not win much appeal in the South. Most people in SC, his birthplace, don't trust him. When Kerry picked up Edwards it finalized my decision to vote for Bush. We need Tort reform more than anything in this country right now, and we'll never get it from a personal injury attorney.
Fowler Del Porto, Charleston SC, USA
I enjoyed reading Neil Sherman's comments because although he has voted republican in the past, like I have, he has a moderate voice. I additionally am a moderate. That is why this election is such a hard choice. However, so far, Kerry and Edwards haven't done anything to win my vote. Neither have any hard answers to the question that make me doubt Bush.
Marjorie, Dallas, USA
Edwards is another Al Gore without the experience. I shudder to think of him in a position to become president... especially in the shadow of another 9/11 event. He knows nothing but how to sue big business.
TM Whitworth, North Carolina USA
I agree with your comments, Neil. Edwards brings a fresh face to the ballot and I do believe he will appeal to a lot of young voters. Kerry alone was not much of a shining star, but I do think Edwards will help him in that regard. He's Kerry's best choice of the possible candidates to put him over the top in the election. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Jenna, Harrisburg, Illinois, USA
At this point, I think the only chance Bush has of being re-elected is to get rid of Cheney as VP and Rumsfeld and Secretary of Defense. For me personally, these two men represent the old ideas of administrations from the Reagan era and their tactics and ideas do not fit into today's world. Bush needs to reorganise his core team if he wants to remain in office.
Mark, Alexandria, VA USA
I agree. I wish Bush had not run so far to the right with his administration as now he has to regain the centre (hard to do now) and somehow pull in moderate democrats in key states (also very hard to do).
Van Parker, Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
Rev. Sherman, I am also a Presbyterian, and like you, Kerry's selection of Edwards will not influence my decision... to vote out George Bush. What Edwards, at a minimum, brings to the democrats, is force the Bush campaign to spend more resources in the South than they otherwise would have.
Fred, Baltimore, USA
Neil, Thanks for providing some thoughtful and sincere comments. A nice change from the usual partisan rhetoric. It is nice to know that I (still) share the nation with some other folks who care more about the country itself than the ambitions of a few.
Sam Walker, Columbia, South Carolina, USA
I have been a registered Republican for a number of years. It won't be Edwards who makes me vote for Kerry-Edwards; it will be Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft...
Jose K, Carmichael, California, USA
I'm glad to see a Republican view that is straight out of this particular voter's mind as opposed to the other Republican voter's views on this page, which seem to be cut and pasted from the RNC website, and were made without any effort to think or be rational in the least! Frightfully maddening! Even though I am a Democrat, I respect Mr Sherman's analysis and opinions, though I would not necessarily agree with them!
DG, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
I would rather see the two Johns flip-flopped - Edwards running for President and Kerry for VP.
Tom Kollenberg, Sarasota, Fl USA