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Elizabeth Edwards tied the nation's lagging economy to its struggling health care system Tuesday as she joined an effort in battleground states to discredit the health care proposals of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

The wife of former Democratic candidate John Edwards is battling incurable cancer but returned to the political arena to push for mandatory universal health care for all Americans, a requirement that would drastically change a system that has left 47 million Americans without insurance.

Edwards planned to hold a roundtable discussion Wednesday with public health experts to critique McCain's health plan as advocacy groups released a report about its impact on North Carolina.

Although the state has supported the Republican presidential nominee for the last three decades, North Carolina's 15 electoral votes appear to be up for grabs this year in part because of an influx of residents from the Northeast and a highly motivated black population favoring Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

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