By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

As the Democratic National Convention celebrated the nomination of Barack Obama Wednesday night, Waco Congressman Chet Edwards served to support, rather than join, the Democratic nominee for president with a speech heralding veterans.

"In the last two years, Senator Obama helped pass the new GI education bill and voted for the budget that provided the largest increase in veterans' health care funding in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration," Edwards said in a prepared speech. "As president, Barack Obama will responsibly bring our troops home from Iraq, and he'll make better health care and benefits for veterans a higher priority than tax cuts for ExxonMobil and the wealthiest Americans.

"That's the change we need and the change our veterans deserve."

Texas House District 55 candidate Sam Murphey served as an aide under Edwards for 16 years. He said he believes Edwards' presence on the same stage as Bill Clinton and Sen. John Kerry shows that his influence in government at the national level will only grow.

"I was really proud of Chet. He was right on track with what we need to do with veterans," Murphey said late Wednesday night. "I think Biden is a great pick for vice president. I think Chet would have been as well. You can only pick one person. I think Chet is now thrust on the national stage, and as the years go by, you're going to see him taking a more active role as a leader on defense."

Murphey is running against Temple businessman Ralph Sheffield, the Republican nominee. Ted Delisi serves as Sheffield's political strategist. He said that Edwards wasn't very inspired and was clearly upstaged by the big names on the floor.

"I think it's going to take more than one congressman to undermine John McCain with veterans," Delisi said. "I think the delivery was flat, and I don't think the efforts (to chip away with veteran support will be effective). For the second night in a row, the name everyone will remember out of the convention is Clinton."

Murphey implied that sometimes being invited to the party is the point.

"Who wouldn't want to be on the same stage as a former president?" Murphey said. "This will help him gain more prominence in getting involved in the defense of America. I think now he's going to be in position to do even more."

Contact Justin Cox at or 501-7568.

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