John Edwards Announces He Will Run for President

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Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards has confirmed to ABC News that he will formally announce today he's running for president in 2008.

"Today is the day. I'm announcing I'm a candidate for president of the United States today," Edwards told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America."

Speaking from New Orleans, where he's engaged in rebuilding communities ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, Edwards says he's running because he wants to encourage young people to take action to change their country.

"I want to engage millions of people into taking responsibility, taking action. … Finding ways for all of us to help," he said.

Edwards also voiced his opinion about the war in Iraq, saying he was against President Bush's plan to increase troop levels there.

"I think it would be a huge mistake to put a surge of troops into Iraq. … Nobody who says we should put 20,000 or 100,000 more troops in Iraq can say that's going to be successful," he said. "The underlying problem is not a military problem, it's a political problem."

Edwards told Stephanopoulos his vote for the Iraq War when he was a senator was a mistake, but says unlike Bush, he is willing to admit a mistake and be open with the American people, something he says is lacking in Washington these days.

Announcement Comes Before Those Expected From Clinton and Obama

Edwards' announcement of his candidacy comes ahead of official word from two much-hyped potential candidates Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Asked whether he thought he was more qualified to lead the country than Clinton, Edwards said that question would have to be answered by voters.

"That's not my decision to make. What I believe is that the next president of the United States is going to have an enormous responsibility," he said. "The single most important responsibility the next president is going to have is to re-establish our leadership in the world, reestablish our moral authority in the world."

Edwards said he would keep in mind the lessons he learned from his 2004 run with presidential nominee John Kerry.

"It's great to talk about hope and inspiration, but what I've learned since the last election is that doesn't change things," he said.

What Edwards plans to talk about during his campaign is voters taking action -- effecting change in America rather than complaining about the government.

"What I want them to see is their power to change things on their own," he said. "We have to take action."

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