BOSTON -- John Edwards praised John Kerry Wednesday night as a man tested by war for national command and promised cheering Democratic National Convention delegates that their ticket will "build one America" no longer divided by income or race.
The vice presidential candidate spoke shortly before delegates formally bestowed their nomination on Kerry, a 60-year-old Massachusetts senator locked in a close race with President Bush.
Republicans are "doing all they can to take this campaign for the highest office in the land down the lowest possible road," Kerry's running mate told a nationwide prime-time television audience.
The vice presidential candidate urged the country to reject that approach and "embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what's possible because this is America, where everything is possible."
Edwards' appearance on the podium prompted the most boisterous demonstration of the convention to date. Thousands of cheering delegates held aloft identical red signs bearing his name, passed out by the boxload just before he stepped to the podium.
He evoked the themes of his campaign against Kerry in last winter's primaries to argue the case for their new political partnership.
"The truth is, we still live in two different Americas," said Edwards, the son of a Carolina mill worker and the first in his family to attend college.
Edwards' turn at the podium came a few hours after Kerry campaigned his way to the convention city and into the eager embrace of his Vietnam War crewmates.
A dozen fellow veterans greeted him, including Jim Rassmann, a retired Special Forces soldier whose life Kerry saved from a muddy river in the Mekong Delta while under enemy fire.
"We're going to write the next great chapter of history in this country together," Kerry vowed at a welcome-home rally in the city that has nourished his political career for a quarter century.
Kerry's convention scriptwriters arranged for Ohio -- a pivotal battleground state -- to cast the delegate votes that formally put him over the top in a roll call of the states that lacked any suspense.