Also, combating poverty is an absolute mandate from the Old and New Testaments and 2000 years of Christian tradition. (Although, using your government to do it is not necessarily required.) So here is how I rank the candidates on this score, including links to what they have to say.
Barack Obama is my favorite. He talks about helping the working poor. He specifically focuses on making sure that those who work can get by. He also talks about addressing poverty by addressing the crisis caused when fathers are not responsible for their children. I love Obama.
John Edwards is a close second. He seems a little more about class warfare. But in truth, we don't elect kings. So the difference between him and Obama is completely eclipsed by the difference between what they'll want and what they can get.
Hillary Clinton doesn't list poverty as an issue for her. She did lead off with a bit about the middle class. Which is cool. I think the middle class is being squeezed by rising gas prices, rising healthcare costs, and the mortgage crisis. So, okay. But nothing about poverty.
Next would be Mike Huckabee, who I think is against poverty. He, like Hillary, doesn’t have poverty as an issue. He does say this in his anti-abortion rights section:
To me, life doesn't begin at conception and end at birth. Every child deserves a quality education, first-rate health care, decent housing in a safe neighborhood, and clean air and drinking water. Every child deserves the opportunity to discover and use his God-given gifts and talents.That’s nice. It is clearly not a center piece of his campaign.
None of the other Republicans even give lip service to poverty. Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney. Actually, I suppose it is possible they could have a paragraph buried somewhere like Huckabee. But their websites are pretty scary now. Full of anti-science, anti-choice, pro-war noise. Mitt Romney's top three issues: (1) Keeping America Safe (2) Confronting Radical Jihad (3) Combating Nuclear Terrorism. Seriously. I think his fourth issue should be Samuel Jackson screaming at you, "What does Marcellus Wallace look like!"