Never mind Iraq and health care, this could be the issue that decides the Democratic primary. Des Moines Register:
Presidential candidate John Edwards stepped into a raging rural controversy this week as he toured the western Iowa countryside.
The former North Carolina senator told audiences that he would push for a national moratorium on building or expanding livestock confinement facilities. He also said he would push for tougher federal environmental regulations and for rigorous enforcement of current manure disposal laws.
He mostly was talking about hog confinement operations, which have pitted neighbors against each other in many rural Iowa areas. Operators say well-run facilities are a safe, efficient way to raise hogs and compete on the world market. But many neighbors say the facilities stink up the air and foul the water, devastate their property values, and drive small farmers out of business.
Some other presidential candidates have talked about the controversy, but a leading hog confinement critic said Edwards is the only one she's heard propose a national moratorium.
Is Mark Penn asleep on this? If Hillary lets Edwards get to her right on manure disposal it's all over.
On a more serious note, actually, this is probably the sort of thing that's keeping Edwards close in Iowa. The story explains that Edwards encountered this issue back in North Carolina. That rural cred, coupled with all the time he's spent getting fluent in micro-local issues like this may be largely what's keeping him afloat.
P.S. Note the DMR's nice "stepped into" pun!