John and Elizabeth Edwards on 'This Week'

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Edwards: Yes, and, hopefully, the next president will understand that what we've been doing is not working. And I actually, myself, believe that this idea of surging troops, escalating the war, what Senator McCain has been talking about, what I would call now the McCain doctrine, it's…

Stephanopoulos: McCain doctrine.

Edwards: McCain doctrine. He's been the most prominent spokesperson for this for some time.

Stephanopoulos: The general election is starting early.

Edwards: I'm just telling you it's his thing and I know John McCain very well, he and I are friends, but I think he's dead wrong about this.

Stephanopoulos: I've been watching you over the last few days as you've started this campaign and the word "morality" comes up a lot, particularly in foreign policy. But I wonder if one of the lessons of the last few years is that it's dangerous for America to put its power behind moral crusades and unleashing forces we may not be able to control and entangling us in conflicts we may not be able to solve.

Edwards: Well, it depends on what your definition of a moral cause is and what moral leadership is. The kind of things that I'm talking about I think there would be universal support for, doing something about the genocide in Sudan and Darfur, doing something…

Stephanopoulos: Do you think it takes American troops?

Edwards: No. Actually, my own view is that putting American troops on the ground in Darfur would probably be a mistake. It would probably do more damage than good.

But there are obvious things we can do in Sudan. The Janjaweed militia have air support from the Sudanese government. We could enforce the no-fly zone. We ought to be much tougher about imposing sanctions on the Sudanese government.

But the genocide, global poverty, the spread of HIV/AIDS, the atrocities that are occurring in northern Uganda, there are a whole range of places that America would have basically universal support if we showed some leadership.

And the last thing I'd say about this, a lot of people would think, "Well, this is a feel good thing. He wants the world to feel good about America."

It's much more than that. Without America as the central stabilizing force in the world, there is no stability. There's chaos. There's no one else that can do this. We have to do it.

Stephanopoulos: And you also said that Americans have to be patriotic about something other than war. What kinds of sacrifices will Americans have to make to make us energy independent, to combat global warming?

Edwards: They're going to have to be willing to give up some of the vehicles that they drive and I, myself, have driven. They're going to have to be willing to conserve in the use of energy in their homes.

There may be other things that will be required. I mean, we have some very serious issues about our use of carbon-based fuels. There are intermediate steps that can be taken, trap-and-trade. There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the use of carbon-based fuels.

But at the end of the day, we may be faced with more serious choices. People are concerned about a gasoline tax, including myself, because of its regressive nature. You can't take it off the table.

Our carbon tax, which Vice President Gore has been talking about, is it a necessity? Not yet, in my judgment.

Stephanopoulos: But you are open to it?

Edwards: Not yet. I would never take those things off the table.

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