# Elizabeth Edwards

Rest in peace, Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards has died of breast cancer at the age of 61. Her cancer was diagnosed in the fall of 2004, and recurrence was found in March 2007. Click here for the New York Times obituary.

Many Iowans got to know Elizabeth well during John Edwards' two presidential campaigns. I saw her speak many times but met her only once, at a crowded fundraiser in a private home during the summer of 2007. My kids were with me in a stuffy, overcrowded basement, and Elizabeth spent a surprisingly long time entertaining my bored four-year-old. I remember thinking it was above and beyond whatever time she needed to spend to acknowledge everyone while "working the room." She was good with kids. I feel sorry that the last few years of her life were so difficult for her and her family, as if fighting cancer weren’t stressful enough.

My thoughts tonight are mostly with her surviving children, especially Emma Claire and Jack. When I was about their age, I lost my mother to cancer. Elizabeth's death will always affect their lives, although other family members may ease the blow if they step up to the plate in the coming years. I feel for Cate, who as a teenager had to cope with her only sibling's death, and now will need to help her two younger siblings deal with a major bereavement.  

The Edwards family has asked that memorial contributions go to the Wade Edwards Learning Lab, a non-profit they set up in memory of their son Wade, who died in a 1996 car accident. I never knew before tonight that a few weeks before Wade died, he received an award at the White House for writing this essay.

Elizabeth Edwards posted a "farewell" message on Facebook this week, and I've reproduced it after the jump, along with reaction from various Iowa political figures.

P.S.– Elizabeth reportedly advised her husband to vote against the resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq in October 2002. If he’d had the guts to listen to her advice, he may have become the Democratic nominee in 2004, as a more electable alternative to the main anti-war candidate in the field, Howard Dean. Elizabeth also said in the summer of 2007 that she thought same-sex marriage should be legal, although her husband disagreed.

UPDATE: The Edwards family created a new website where people can share memories of Elizabeth, whether they knew her well or only met her once.  

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Why does Latham support McCain's health care plan?

During Monday’s radio debate between Representative Tom Latham and Becky Greenwald (podcast available here), Latham did his best to run away from the Republican label and the failed policies of George Bush’s administration. In fact, he was eager to remind listeners of the only time in recent memory that he didn’t vote for something Bush wanted (the bailout).

Latham didn’t go out of his way to link himself with John McCain either, which makes sense, since McCain is going to lose Iowa. When one caller asked him about McCain’s health care plan, Latham hedged before acknowledging that he supports the concept of that plan.

Greenwald wants him to explain his position:

 October 8, 2008                                                                                          

Greenwald Calls on Latham Says to Explain His Support of John McCain’s Radical Healthcare Plan

Over 217,000 Iowans Would Lose Coverage Under McCain’s Radical Plan

Waukee, IA – This week, on the WHO 1040 AM radio debate, Tom Latham was asked if he would support John McCain’s radical health care plan. After skirting the question, Tom Latham said “…the general concept of it I would be supportive of.” In a conference call today, Becky Greenwald called on Latham to explain his support for a plan that would cost over 217,000 Iowans their healthcare.

“Tom, how can you support a radical healthcare proposal that would cost over 217,000 Iowans to lose their health insurance?” asked Becky Greenwald. “This is a classic Washington bait and switch. Tom Latham and John McCain would give you a tax credit with one hand, but raises your taxes with the other to pay for it. With Iowans being squeezed from all sides, we literally can’t afford two more years of Tom Latham.”

John McCain’s plan will tax health care benefits and lead 20 million workers, 217,346 in Iowa alone, to lose the coverage they get from their employers. He only offers a $5,000 tax credit to families to buy health insurance, but according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average family health insurance premium is over $12,000. McCain also said that he supports deregulating healthcare, just as he and Tom Latham did with the financial markets that have led to our economic crisis.

McCain’s Plan to Give American’s More Cost and Less Coverage

Over 215,000 Iowans Would Lose Their Coverage Under McCain’s Health Plan. In September 2008, the Economic Policy Institute, in their analysis of John McCain’s health care plan reported that up to 217,346 Iowans could lose their health coverage under McCain’s health care plan. [Economic Policy Institute: McCain Plan Accelerates Loss In Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance A State-By-State Analysis, 9/26/08]

McCain’s Health Plan Could Result In Tax Increase For Some Americans. McCain’s campaign “acknowledged. . .that the health plan he outlined. . .would have the effect of increasing tax payments for some workers, primarily those with high incomes and expensive health plans.” According to the New York Times, “the campaign cannot yet project how many taxpayers might see their taxes go up.” [New York Times, 5/1/2008]

McCain Wanted to Deregulate the Health Insurance Market.  In Contingencies, a publication by the American Academy of Actuaries, McCain said, “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”  [Contigencies, Sept./Oct. issue via New York Times, 9/19/08]

The Cost For Employer Based Family Health Coverage Is $12,680. The Kaiser Family Foundation stated, “Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose to $12,680 annually for family coverage this year.” [Kaiser Family Foundation release, 9/24/08]

McCain’s Plan May Increase Health Costs. “Critics of McCain’s plan say it would not make insurance cheaper or more available and might prevent people with pre-existing conditions from getting coverage.” Harvard Business School professor Regina Herzlinger “feels the plan does little to address the high cost of health care.” In addition, “McCain and his advisers say that giving health-care consumers more options will lead to substantial cost reductions, though they have yet to provide any figures.” [Reuters, 4/29/2008; Business Week, 4/29/2008; Bloomberg, 4/29/2008]

McCain Plan Would Cause 20 Million People to Lose Employer-Based Health Insurance.  Health Affairs reported in September 2008 that, “Eliminating the tax exclusion would greatly reduce the number of people who obtain health insurance through their employers.  This decline would be driven by three factors: the effective price of employer-sponsored coverage would increase, the nondiscrimination rules would no longer apply, and low-risk employees would have less incentive to remain in employer-sponsored groups…the elimination of the income tax preference for employer-sponsored insurance would cause twenty million Americans to lose such coverage. [Health Affairs, 9/16/08]

I challenge any family to shop for a private health insurance plan that costs $5,000 a year. That is a joke. Even young, healthy individuals often can’t get insurance for that price. I know this firsthand, because my family pays for our own health insurance.

The point about McCain wanting to tax health benefits is also important. I’m glad to hear Greenwald echoing the message that Barack Obama’s campaign is conveying through television ads, door-to-door contacts and direct-mail pieces.

If this issue comes up in Friday’s radio debate, I would encourage Greenwald to mention one more problem with McCain’s plan.

If you have a pre-existing condition, you may not be able to purchase health insurance for any price. Elizabeth Edwards pointed out six months ago that McCain’s plan does nothing to solve this problem.

Speaking of which, in a conference call last week, Elizabeth Edwards made the connection between our inadequate health care system and our economic problems:

she said that problems with payments of medical bills often lead to home foreclosures, a major factor in the current economic downturn. Elizabeth Edwards also said that residents without health insurance often are less productive because they miss work as a result of a lack of access to preventive care or early treatment for illnesses. She said, “Reform of our health care system is a very important part of the answers we’re going to need to solve our economic woes.”

Democratic candidates for office at all levels need to keep connecting those dots. Obama answered the health care question well in last night’s debate with McCain.

I will have more thoughts on the Latham/Greenwald debate once I’ve had a chance to listen to the 80-minute tape again.

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One precinct captain's reflections on the John Edwards story

Like many people who volunteered for John Edwards last year, I’ve been working through conflicting feelings this weekend.

Natasha Chart voiced some of my frustration in this piece about our ridiculous standards of public morality. Ethical lapses that affect the lives of thousands or millions of people are not career-enders for politicians, but marital infidelity is supposed to be–if you’re a Democrat. Once again, it’s ok if you’re a Republican.

Many Edwards supporters are angry about the publicity surrounding this story. It’s infuriating to see journalists more interested in Edwards now that he has admitted to an affair than they were when he was a presidential candidate talking about substantive issues.

David Mizner loathes the “American sickness” of needing to know about the sex lives of politicians, adding:

I supported Edwards not because I loved him and not because I thought he had sex with only his wife. I supported him because I believe in progressive populism.

Many bloggers I respect, from TomP to MontanaMaven and RDemocrat made similar comments on Friday. After all, we were backing Edwards for president, not husband of the year.

Ellinorianne put it well:

What John did in 2006 has no bearing on Universal Health Care.  What happened in 2006 does not make poverty in this County any less of an urgent issue.  The corporate media would love to believe that what John did in 2006 would mean one less powerful voice talking about the strangle hold that corporations have on every facet of our lives in this Country.

Nothing can take away from these issues unless we let it happen.

On one level, I relate to what Ellinorianne wrote, because Edwards undoubtedly put topics on the agenda that would barely have been discussed had he not run for president. While he was in the race, at least one candidate was talking about the excesses of corporate power. After he dropped out, that issue disappeared from political discourse.

For that reason, I never regretted the time I spent volunteering for Edwards. Of course, I was sorry that Iowans did not give him the boost he needed in the caucuses. I was disappointed that I failed to deliver a third delegate for him from my own precinct. But watching the campaign devolve into identity politics in February and March, I was more convinced than ever that helping this longshot candidate was worth the effort.

These past few weeks have caused me to question for the first time whether I would back Edwards if I had it to do over again. Edwards’ policies and rhetoric were a necessary condition for my support, but they would not have been sufficient had I not also believed that he was the strongest general election candidate. Otherwise I could have backed Dennis Kucinich, who was even closer to me ideologically than Edwards.

Here and at other blogs, I advocated for Edwards as the most electable candidate because of his communication skills, his appeal to small-town and rural voters, his way of evoking broad themes in his answers to specific questions, and so on.

Speaking to potential caucus-goers, I often noted that Edwards had faced intense national scrutiny for years, making it unlikely that the Republicans could spring any “October surprise” on us.

Now I realize that the whole time, Edwards was hiding a story that would have reinforced the most devastating narrative about him: he’s a phony who talks about one set of values but lives a different set of values.

How damaging was this narrative? Last year I used to joke that if I ever came into possession of a time machine, I would go back and persuade John Edwards to hire Sarah Susanka (the Not So Big House woman) to design his Chapel Hill home.

It appears that Edwards had no game plan other than to hope that Rielle Hunter wouldn’t tell anyone and/or that journalists wouldn’t pick up on the rumors as long as he lied.

I empathize with Elizabeth Edwards, who wrote on Friday:

This was our private matter, and I frankly wanted it to be private because as painful as it was I did not want to have to play it out on a public stage as well.

I agree with BruceMcF, who observed that our country would have lost a great leader if sexual immorality had ended Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s career.

But presidential candidates have to run in the world that is, not the world that used to be or the world that should be. I simply can’t imagine how this affair could have remained under wraps throughout a long campaign.

To my mind, Edwards owed it to all Democrats to either step aside or find some way to make this story old news. I understand the desire to avoid a media circus, but it wasn’t realistic to hope that journalists would cover for him or that Hunter would keep a secret.

Responding to a commenter at Daily Kos, Elizabeth Edwards wrote on Friday:

Each of us has a day we wish we could take back. We are all imperfect beings, Denny. Here’s what I know, looking back: poverty, a truly aggressive and progressive environmental platform, universal health care would not have been part of the discussion if someone of force and vision had not been there to make them part of the conversation.

An imperfect man with a truly progressive vision who spoke to and for those whom others ignored? Yes, that is who I supported.

An imperfect man who had come to face his own imperfections and was seeking to redeem himself to those closest to him? Yes, that is who I supported.

With the Supreme Court and so much more riding on the outcome of this election, helping someone redeem himself to his family is not high on my priority list. Ultimately, I have to agree with Ezra Klein:

No one forces you to devote your life to national advocacy of important issues. But if you decide to do follow that path, with all the plaudits and moments of roaring applause it entails, you have to make certain sacrifices, and shoulder certain realities. Among them is that if you falter, you can harm all that you’re advocating and deny help to all whom you claim to represent.

If Edwards wanted to face his imperfections, he should have found some vague way to disclose marital problems that he and Elizabeth had worked through. Let voters decide whether that should be a deal-breaker or whether his potential contribution to American life outweighs the mistake.

If he could not bear to get ahead of the story, the least he could have done was to tell the truth when first asked about rumors of his affair. DrFrankLives (who has devoted far more volunteer hours to Edwards than I have) hit the nail on the head in this diary:

I want to know two things.  How the hell could you, a man who ran everything through a careful filter, allow that to happen during a political campaign in which so many people had so much riding on you?  And what the hell were you thinking when you denied it when asked about it?  You’re a lawyer.  You know that questions keep coming.  And nothing delights a cross-examiner like a false answer.

Which candidate would I have supported knowing what I know now? Probably I would have held out for Al Gore for a few more months. Maybe I would have settled on Chris Dodd or Joe Biden. Neither of them were as strong on my key issues as Edwards, though. I suspect that I would have come around to Edwards eventually if the affair had been revealed early in the campaign. It wouldn’t be the first time I voted for someone who was unfaithful to his wife.

Had I known that Edwards was recklessly hiding a story with the potential to destroy his campaign, I would have found a different candidate for sure.

What makes me more angry than anything else is that this scandal appears to have derailed Elizabeth Edwards’ plans to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. We need her voice on health care reform.

Feel free to share your own reflections in the comments.

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Elizabeth Edwards to lead ad campaign on health care reform

I expected great things when I heard that Elizabeth Edwards would be working on health care issues as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

But I am even more excited to learn that she will headline a $40 million ad campaign promoting universal healthcare, which will be unveiled next Tuesday.

Healthcare for America Now coalition includes a who’s who list of liberal organizations such as MoveOn.org, the housing group ACORN, Americans United for Change, the Campaign for America’s Future, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the National Education Association, Planned Parenthood, the Service Employees International Union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, United Food and Commercial Workers, and National Women’s Law Center.  Many state organizations are also participants.

Many of these are also participating in John Edwards’ Half in Ten Poverty Initiative.

By the way, today is Elizabeth Edwards’ birthday. Many happy returns to her and her family!

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Elizabeth Edwards critiques superficial campaign coverage

Poligirl wrote a good diary about an op-ed piece by Elizabeth Edwards in today’s New York Times: “Bowling 1, Health Care 0.”

She slammed the media for its superficial coverage of the presidential campaign during the past year, and particularly during the weeks leading up to the Pennsylvania primary:

Did you, for example, ever know a single fact about Joe Biden’s health care plan? Anything at all? But let me guess, you know Barack Obama’s bowling score. We are choosing a president, the next leader of the free world. We are not buying soap, and we are not choosing a court clerk with primarily administrative duties.

Political junkie that I am, I do know something about Joe Biden’s health care plan (no thanks to the mainstream media). Elizabeth Edwards tells it like it is:

What’s more, the news media cut candidates like Joe Biden out of the process even before they got started. Just to be clear: I’m not talking about my husband. I’m referring to other worthy Democratic contenders. Few people even had the chance to find out about Joe Biden’s health care plan before he was literally forced from the race by the news blackout that depressed his poll numbers, which in turn depressed his fund-raising.

And it’s not as if people didn’t want this information. In focus groups that I attended or followed after debates, Joe Biden would regularly be the object of praise and interest: “I want to know more about Senator Biden,” participants would say.

But it was not to be. Indeed, the Biden campaign was covered more for its missteps than anything else. Chris Dodd, also a serious candidate with a distinguished record, received much the same treatment. I suspect that there was more coverage of the burglary at his campaign office in Hartford than of any other single event during his run other than his entering and leaving the campaign.

Who is responsible for the veil of silence over Senator Biden? Or Senator Dodd? Or Gov. Tom Vilsack? Or Senator Sam Brownback on the Republican side?

The decision was probably made by the same people who decided that Fred Thompson was a serious candidate.

I said many times last year that if Biden had the media hype Obama was getting, he would be a strong contender for the nomination. He had a great stump speech and performed better in every debate than Obama did, but all you heard from the leading analysts was that Biden was a gaffe machine.

Thanks again to poligirl for including a link to an audio interview of Elizabeth Edwards talking about her op-ed piece.

How many presidential campaigns will our infotainment complex get wrong before they finally give people the news coverage they deserve?

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Delusions of the people-powered movement

A while back I stopped reading the “Edwards should endorse Obama” diaries at Daily Kos, because I was tired of getting drawn into arguments with Hillary-haters in the comment threads. Moreover, I really don’t care whether John Edwards endorses a candidate–it wouldn’t change my feelings about either of the contenders.

When Elizabeth Edwards recently confirmed that she prefers Hillary’s health-care plan and will appear alongside Clinton when she campaigns in North Carolina, some of the Obama fans at Daily Kos went ballistic. Again, I avoided those diaries, because I am tired of trying to explain to people that yes, many health-care experts agree that some form of individual mandates are needed in order to provide truly universal health care.

Today longtime Edwards supporter Benny put up a rant at the EENRblog about somebody’s open letter pleading with Elizabeth Edwards to endorse Obama. I wasn’t planning to read the diary Benny was complaining about, but edgery highlighted an amazing assertion that prompted me to click over.

This statement in Bcgntn’s diary is what grabbed my attention:

Senator Clinton may believe without Lyndon Johnson the Civil Rights Act 1964 would not have come into being.  I recall those years.  People were out on the streets in protest.  The community concluded it was time for a change.  The President merely signed the papers.  

I’ve written before about how annoyed I was in January when the Obama campaign took Hillary’s comments about LBJ and twisted them into some allegedly racist remark denigrating Martin Luther King Jr.

But that’s not my main point today. What that Obama supporter wrote reflects a fantasy shared by too many Obama supporters, in my opinion: namely, that if he is elected, Obama is going to do what his people-powered movement demands.

One of my biggest concerns about Obama has always been that he seems likely to make far too many concessions to the Republican agenda or to DC pundits’ conventional wisdom. He has chosen not to lead on some of the key battles in the U.S. Senate. He talks a lot about finding consensus and bringing people together. His strategy for winning the open-primary states has been to maximize his support among Republicans and independents who cross over.

When you look at his very cautious voting record and avoidance of leading on any controversial issue, it seems highly unlikely to me that he will govern like a progressive. There will be many days when Obama has to choose between doing what Tim Russert and David Broder would like, and doing what the Obama fans at Daily Kos would like, and I think the Kossacks will be the disappointed ones on those days.

I’ve raised this point with several thoughtful Obama supporters, such as Populista, the 14-year-old who will probably be a great progressive leader someday. The consensus seems to be that if he gets elected, Obama will have to listen to the activists who have done so much to support his presidential campaign. He has empowered people who are the change we’ve been waiting for.

This to me seems as deluded as saying that the civil rights legislation of 1964 happened because the “community concluded it was time for a change.  The President merely signed the papers.”

I am not old enough to remember 1964, but I challenge any Obama supporter to find me one historian of that period who will agree with that contention. The fact is, LBJ dragged Congress kicking and screaming to do much more on civil rights than probably any other president could have gotten passed.

Don’t discount the importance of presidential leadership. People were out in the streets protesting the Vietnam War for years before we finally got out of there.

If Obama gets elected, he will not have the clout with Congress that LBJ had. But even if he did, I simply don’t see Obama as the kind of leader who would go to the mat to push a strong progressive agenda through a resistant Congress. He seems more likely to move halfway toward the Republican position, then declare victory.

Like I always say, I would love to be proven wrong if Obama does manage to get by John McCain. But don’t imagine that the people-powered movement will be calling the shots, and President Obama will just be signing the papers.

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Read these pieces on McCain's temper and health care plan

I’ve mentioned before that it’s scandalous for the Washington press corps to cover for John McCain’s legendary anger management problem after the way they collaborated in making Howard Dean and Al Gore look angry and unstable.

Washington Post reporter Michael Leahy wrote this long article on McCain’s temperament for the paper’s Sunday edition. Read the whole thing. It begins with an anecdote about McCain blowing up at Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley in 1992, and Republicans who know McCain share many other stories as well.

One of the most appalling discusses McCain’s behavior after an election-night victory party for Arizona Republicans in 1986:

After McCain finished his speech, he returned to a suite in the hotel, sat down in front of a TV and viewed a replay of his remarks, angry to discover that the speaking platform had not been erected high enough for television cameras to capture all of his face — he seemed to have been cut off somewhere between his nose and mouth.

A platform that had been adequate for taller candidates had not taken into account the needs of the 5-foot-9 McCain, who left the suite and went looking for a man in his early 20s named Robert Wexler, the head of Arizona’s Young Republicans, which had helped make arrangements for the evening’s celebration. Confronting Wexler in a hotel ballroom, McCain exploded, according to witnesses who included Jon Hinz, then executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. McCain jabbed an index finger in Wexler’s chest.

“I told you we needed a stage,” he screamed, according to Hinz. “You incompetent little [expletive]. When I tell you to do something, you do it.”

Hinz recalls intervening, placing his 6-foot-6 frame between the senator-elect and the young volunteer. “John, this is not the time or place for this,” Hinz remembers saying to McCain, who fumed that he hadn’t been seen clearly by television viewers. Hinz recollects finally telling McCain: “John, look, I’ll follow you out on stage myself next time. I’ll make sure everywhere you go there is a milk crate for you to stand on. But this is enough.”

McCain spun around on his heels and left. He did not talk to Hinz again for several years. In 2000, as Hinz recalls, he appeared briefly on the Christian Broadcasting Network to voice his worries about McCain’s temperament on televangelist Pat Robertson’s show, “The 700 Club.” Hinz’s concerns have since grown with reports of incidents in and out of Arizona.

We need to educate Americans who think McCain is a reasonable moderate about this side of his personality.

Also worth reading is Elizabeth Edwards’ latest blog post on McCain’s inadequate health care plan.

After she criticized his plan this month, McCain went on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos to call her criticism a “cheap shot.” Elizabeth Edwards had noted that McCain benefited from government health care coverage his whole life, but McCain pointed out that he didn’t have access to good health care while he was a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam.

If McCain was hoping she would feel too bad to respond, he’s out of luck. She points out some important facts:

Sen. McCain noted that he was not receiving government health care for the six years he was in captivity. That is true. But it has nothing to do with my point – which is that the problem with Sen. McCain’s health care plan is not how it affects us — but how it affects the tens of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions who, unlike Sen. McCain and myself, do not have the resources to pay for quality health care.

That is not a cheap shot, it is a potentially life and death question for tens of million of Americans. And it is a question Sen. McCain must address.

McCain’s health care plan is centered around the idea that we’d be better off if more Americans bought health coverage on their own, rather than receiving it through a job or government program. But maybe since he has never purchased insurance in the individual market, he does not know the challenge it presents for Americans with preexisting conditions.

A recent study showed that nearly nine out of every ten people seeking individual coverage on the private insurance market never got it. Insurers will disqualify you for just taking certain medicines because of the possibility of future costs, including common drugs as Lipitor, Zocor, Nexium, and Advair. People who have had cancer are denied coverage and those who get cancer run the risk of simply being dropped by their insurer for any excuse that can be found. And insurers make it a practice to deny coverage to individuals in high risk occupations, such as firefighting, lumber work, telecom installation, and pretty much anything more risky than working in an office.

Read her whole post. She also has a go at McCain’s strange suggestion that he might create a “special Medicaid trust fund” to help cover people with preexisting conditions.

We should go after McCain now–not wait for the Democratic nomination to be settled.

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You'll be hearing more from Elizabeth Edwards on health care

Last week Elizabeth Edwards wrote a fantastic guest post for the Think Progress blog asking why people like her (who have had cancer in the past) are left out of John McCain’s health care reform plan. A great video clip of her slamming McCain’s health plan can be found in this diary by NCDem Amy

McCain has ignored her comments, while one of his fund-raisers tried to pretend her concern about cancer patients being excluded from coverage was not a legitimate issue for political discussion.

But at some point, I think McCain will have to address the issues raised by Edwards. This week it emerged that she has joined the Center for American Progress as a senior fellow.

Already on Tuesday she appeared on NPR to explain how McCain’s plan “falls short in every conceivable way.” NCDem Amy’s diary includes a link to the podcast of that NPR interview, if you’d like to listen.

Elizabeth Edwards has been active intermittently on political blogs since the last presidential campaign, and she will be blogging more regularly in her new position.

Health care will be her main focus at the Center for American Progress:

“As many can attest, I have an opinion on everything,” Edwards said tonight about her new role. “But I am particularly concerned about the state of health care in America and I am grateful to CAP for giving me the chance to continue to advocate for universal and quality health care coverage for all.”

I can’t wait.

Oh, by the way, Edwards confirmed in an interview for Wednesday’s edition of Good Morning America that she prefers Clinton’s health-care plan to Obama’s. I am not at all surprised, since the Clinton plan was closer to that proposed by John Edwards during the presidential campaign.

In fact, while I have no inside information, my hunch is that if not for Obama’s inferior health care reform proposal and his use of Republican talking points to attack Hillary’s proposal, John and Elizabeth Edwards would have endorsed Obama for president by now.  

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McCain's finance co-chair wants cancer to be "off-limits" for political discussion

A few posts down I mentioned that Elizabeth Edwards has been going after John McCain for his totally inadequate health care reform proposal. As she has noted, both she and McCain could be excluded from his program because their cancer would be considered pre-existing conditions.

Instead of addressing her substantive arguments, McCain’s national finance co-chair, Fred Malek, whines that she should not be talking about cancer in a political context:


Finding a cure for cancer is a vitally important mission for this country. Supporting that mission should unite everyone – and should be off-limits from the political and partisan battlefield.

…I just hope that it doesn’t become a common occurrence on the campaign trail. The cancer conversation is best left to the experts, researchers, and doctors.

Yes, let’s all join together and find a cure for cancer, while not mentioning that cancer patients could be denied coverage under McCain’s health care plan.

Click the link to read diarist Dean Barker’s discussion of the highlights of Malek’s career. They include his work compiling a list of high-ranking Jews in the  Bureau of Labor Statistics for President Richard Nixon in 1971.

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Elizabeth Edwards on the Campaign Trail!

Elizabeth Edwards is out on the campaign trail speaking to voters around the country about John's plans for Universal Health Care, Ending the War in Iraq, Improving Education and a host of other important issues.

Recently, Elizabeth was in New Hampshire where she spoke at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Fall Conference.

Elizabeth in Manchester, NH

Elizabeth unveiled Young Granite Staters For Edwards, this week while visiting the state.

Tuesday morning, MSNBC aired an interview with Elizabeth where she discussed the Presidential Campaign.

Watch it here:

Video-Elizabeth Edwards at the Women's Conference 2007: "Live Deliberately"



For the first time in history, Presidential candidates' wives from both parties sat on a panel together at the Women's Conference 2007. Democrats Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama and Republicans Jeri Thompson, Ann Romney, and Cindy McCain shared their views and experiences of being a candidate's wife with an audience of 14,000.

The nonpartisan discussion was dominated by descriptions of the challenges of balancing family, work and a political campaign, all while remaining grounded. The participants generally agreed on the role of a candidate's wife in a Presidential campaign. Elizabeth Edwards stated that the idea of candidates' wives as “strategists is overplayed.”

Following the Candidates' Wives Panel, Elizabeth delivered a moving speech in honor of women surviving breast cancer where she spoke on the importance of living deliberately.

Oh, and if you are wondering about Hillary's spouse Bill, yes he was invited. According to First Lady of California Maria Shriver, who hosted the Conference, he was asked to come and serve coffee, but declined.

Watch highlights of Elizabeth Edwards at the Women's Conference 2007 here:


Elizabeth Edwards: “Live Deliberately”


Thank You, Iowa!

Jen O’Malley Dillon is our campaign’s Iowa State Director – she posted this wrap up on the John Edwards blog and I wanted to make sure to share it with the Bleeding Heartland community!  Thank you for following along with us on our bus tour! – -Tracy Joan.

Seven days. Thirty-one counties. Hundreds of miles. Thousands of people. What a week!

At every single stop John and Elizabeth were overwhelmed by your energy, your enthusiasm, your insightful questions, your moving personal stories, and your support.

Everywhere we look in Iowa it couldn’t be clearer that John’s support is strong and getting stronger. Now, we need to continue to build on our momentum. Please help us right now by inviting five of your friends and family to join us in this effort.

Then, make sure to check out the best videos and pictures from the road below!

A few of the best videos:

You can see all the videos from the tour here.

A collection of some of the best pictures:

You can see all the pictures from the tour here.

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Day #5 John Edwards' Fighting for One America Iowa Bus Tour

It's day #5 of the Fighting for One America Iowa Bus Tour and once again, we've got loads to report from the last 24 hours. 

George put together a great photo essay over on the John Edwards blog.  And check out the vidoes from the day:

The day was spent talking about health care and John called for a major expansion of children's health insurance as an immediate step toward universal health care. He also unveiled his Iowa Children and Youth Cabinet, a wide-ranging group of Iowans with first hand knowledge of the issues facing young people today. The group consists of 31 children's advocates, community leaders, teachers and parents from across the state who will advise Edwards and his campaign on children's policy.

Today we're headed to Centerville, Bloomfield, Keokuk,  Burlington, Wapello and Iowa City.  You can expect to hear John talk about energy issues today, including the importance of getting Iowa's biofuels on America's roads.

As part of his plan to speed up the use of biofuels on our roads, John Edwards will:

  • Give Kids a Biofuel Ride to School:  Today, Edwards announced a new Biofuel Buses program to help school districts replace conventional diesel with cleaner-burning biodiesel blends in 100,000 school buses nationwide. Biodiesel reduces bus-riding children’s exposure to cancer and asthma-causing emissions.
  • Boost Biofuel Production:  Edwards will invest in public-private research partnerships to develop ways to maximize America’s biofuel ouput while minimizing pollution, soil erosion, and water, land and energy use.
  • Build Out the Biofuels Infrastructure: Edwards will require oil companies to install biofuel pumps at 25 percent of their gas stations and require all new cars sold after 2010 to be “flex fuel” cars running on either gasoline or biofuel.
  • Make American Cars and Trucks Virtually Petroleum-Free: Edwards believes that American automakers have the ingenuity to lead the world in building the clean, safe, economical cars of the future. He will provide $1 billion a year to help U.S. automakers advance and apply the latest technology, including biofuels, hybrid and electric cars, hydrogen fuel cells, ultra-light materials, and drive train improvements. 
  • Raise Fuel Economy Standards: Edwards believes that everyone should be able to drive the car, truck or SUV of their choice and still enjoy high fuel economy. American cars and trucks are less efficient than they were two decades ago, despite the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards.  Edwards will raise standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2016, a step that could single-handedly reduce oil demand by 4 million barrels per day.

As always, we hope you can make it out to meet us on the road.  You can follow along online at johnedwards.com/iowa.  The Friday and Saturday bus tour schedules are below the fold!

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Day #4: John Edwards' Fighting for One America Iowa Bus Tour

Yesterday's scattered showers couldn't slow down the Fighting for One America bus tour as it rolled through Iowa.   John and Elizabeth made their way through Manly, Osage, Charles City, Waterloo and Waverly. Over on the John Edwards blog, George documented their stops with some photo-blogging.

We've also got another set of videos from the road: 

Finally, before the last stop of the day, Mrs. Edwards stopped by DailyKos for a live-blogging session where she answered questions about a number of topics and even got some tips from Bleeding Heartland's own “DesMoinesDem” who advised Mrs. Edwards:

If your kids like lemonade, the best deal at the fair is on the upper level of the ag building, where the honey producers sell lemonade sweetened with honey.

And if they like ice cream, I highly recommend the Bauder's truck right near the ag building!


 Below the fold, I've got today's schedule and tomorrow's too!  As always, we hope to meet you out on the road.  If you can't check us out in person, remember that you can follow us online at johnedwards.com/iowa.

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Day #3 John Edwards' Fighting for One America Iowa Bus Tour

It's day three of the Fighting for One America bus tour and we're rolling along through Iowa. Yesterday was an exciting day with stops in  Sioux City,Ida Grove, Rockwell City, Pocahontas, Clarion, and Clear Lake and a special focus on rural issues. 


Check out these videos:

Today we're headed to  Manly,Osage,Charles City,Waterloo and Waverly where John Edwards will talk about the importance of rewarding work.

As part of his plan to create One America where hard work is rewarded and families can get ahead, John Edwards will:


  •  Raise the Minimum Wage to $9.50 an Hour: Under Gov. Culver, Iowa has been a leader in raising the minimum wage. But even at the 2008 level of $7.25, the earnings of a single parent with two children will still be $2,000 below the federal poverty line. Edwards will set a national goal of a minimum wage that equals half the average wage. He will raise the minimum wage by 75 cents a year until it reaches $9.50 in 2012. He will also restore the minimum wage for tipped workers to half the full minimum wage – the minimum wage for these workers has stood at $2.13 since 1997 – and extend wage and hour protections to home health care workers
  • Protect Workers' Rights: As president, Edwards will revive the Department of Labor to protect the rights of all workers by working to reverse Bush Administration decisions that have excluded millions from the right to overtime pay. Edwards will also beef up OSHA enforcement and strengthen protections for workers who report injuries or unsafe conditions.
  • Guarantee Universal Health Care: More than 250,000 Iowans don't have health insurance and one in four Americans with health insurance are underinsured. Guaranteeing quality affordable health care for every American is the most important thing we can do to strengthen the middle class and working class in this country. Edwards has a true universal health care plan that offers every American the option of a public plan and will save the average family $2,000 to 2,500 a year. Employers will have to help cover their employees, the government will make insurance affordable with new reforms and subsidies, and all Americans will buy insurance.
  • Fight Predatory Lenders and Help Families Save: In the first half of 2007, the number of properties in Iowa being foreclosed on more than doubled compared to 2006. Edwards will crack down on abusive credit card companies, predatory mortgage lenders, and payday loan shops that take advantage of working families. To help families save, he will provide matched savings accounts for low-wage workers.

You can follow us along over at johnedwards.com/iowa, over on myspace.com/jreiowabus or we'd love to see you on the road!  Below the flip, I've included some details on the schedule for today and tomorrow!

Oh, and not to be missed, the photos:

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John and Elizabeth Edwards in Iowa this weekend

According to a press release from the campaign, the focus will be on health care. 

Friday, John Edwards will hold public events in Marshalltown and Tama.

Saturday, John and Elizabeth Edwards will be in Grinnell, Coralville, Iowa City, West Branch, Tipton, and Clinton.

Sunday, John and Elizabeth Edwards will be in northwest Iowa: Sioux City, Le Mars, Cherokee, Storm Lake, Sac City and Carroll.

The details about these appearances are after the jump. If you can attend one of them, put up a diary afterwards to let us know your impressions of the speakers and the mood of the crowd.

Also, John Edwards will be on the Iowa Public TV show Iowa Press this weekend. I believe that airs on Friday evening and again on Sunday morning. Check local listings.

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Elizabeth Edwards in Waterloo on Tuesday

UPDATE: The significant announcement was that the Edwards campaign has appointed county chairs as well as rural outreach chairs in all 99 counties in Iowa. 

Got this e-mail from the Edwards campaign. Anyone planning to be in Waterloo on Tuesday? I have no idea what the “significant announcement” is all about:





Will Also Make Significant Organizational Announcement


Waterloo, Iowa – Elizabeth Edwards will visit Iowa on Tuesday, June 12th to talk to caucus goers about Senator Edwards’ detailed plans and vision for America .  Mrs. Edwards will officially open the John Edwards for President campaign office in Waterloo and will make a significant new announcement about the campaign’s statewide grassroots organization.

6:00 PM
Elizabeth Edwards will to attend John Edwards for President Campaign office opening
425 Franklin Street
Suite B
Waterloo, Iowa



Elizabeth Edwards' health

UPDATE by Chris (12:05 PM): I just got done watching Sen. and Mrs. Edwards’ press conference.  She looks amazing and is going to be a fighter the rest of her life.  Treatment starts soon for the cancer that is in a rib bone on her right side.  Meanwhile, the campaign goes on and life goes on.  Truly, they are one courageous family.

– – – – – – – –

It looks like Sen. John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth might be headed for another health issue.  If you’ll remember, back in 2004 just a few days before the general election Elizabeth was diagnosed with breast cancer.  After a rigorous course of treatment and recovery, she was diagnosed as healthy.

However, something must be up, as Edwards has scheduled a press conference tomorrow with his wife at 11 AM CDT, according to Ben Smith at the Politico.  Yesterday he canceled a house party in event to be able to make it to an appointment Elizabeth had with her doctor this morning, according to a release issued by the campaign.

I met Elizabeth last year at a bloggers meeting and I also met the Senator himself and I can say they’re both courageous individuals and leaders.  I respect both of them and hope and pray for the best for Elizabeth and their family.