LEILA NAVIDI / LAS VEGAS SUN
Former Sen. John Edwards meets with a small group of Culinary workers at the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 Headquarters on Thursday, July 19, 2007.
(John Edwards suspended his race for the Democratic nomination on Jan. 30, following coming in third place in three contests, including his home state of South Carolina.)
Political Position: Former U.S. Senator from North Carolina (1999-2005)
Edwards’ Credentials: In the past five years John Edwards has lost a chance at the presidency, lost the vice presidency, helped his wife beat breast cancer, volunteered his time for poor people, and then found out his wife again has cancer.
Somewhere in there, the former one-term senator from North Carolina decided he would run for president on an improbable issue: ending poverty in America, where one in eight people is impoverished.
All of this has amounted to a dynamic campaign based chiefly on policy, not politics. Edwards has spent years rounding out his resume, and entered the race as the ideas candidate. He was the first to unveil a plan to achieve universal health care, which subsequently formed the substance of other candidates’ plans.
Edwards, running a populist campaign to the left of the other major candidates, then followed with a promise to strip members of Congress and the administration of their own health care coverage if his package is not passed by July 2009. Edwards has said his plan would cost from $90 billion to $120 billion, which he would pay for by eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $200,000 a year.
He has also become a darling of the American labor movement. The son of a Southern mill worker who became a successful trial lawyer, he has painted himself as the candidate most attuned to the struggles of working families. Edwards has vowed to renegotiate trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, eliminate tax breaks for companies that take their operations overseas and create 1 million "green collar" jobs related to renewable energy. Edwards has also pledged to enact the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for unions to organize, and pursue federal protection for striking workers, preventing replacement workers from crossing picket lines.
The challenge: Initially having set out to be the alternative to Hillary Clinton, Edwards is now effectively sharing that role with Sen. Barack Obama. Still, he hopes this is his moment, as his message fits the times. The richest 1 percent of Americans in 2005 controlled nearly one-fifth of the nation's income, the greatest share since the ominous year of 1929. Despite low unemployment and inflation, Americans tell pollsters they feel economically insecure because of the state of the health care system, exploding college costs and stories of jobs moving overseas. He recently accepted public financing though, and is banking on a victory in Iowa to propel him the nomination.
Date of Birth: June 10, 1953
Place of Birth: Seneca, S.C.
Home: Chapel Hill, N.C.
Spouse: Mary Elizabeth Edwards
Children: Lucius Wade (died 1996); Catharine; Emma Claire; Jack
Education: B.S., North Carolina State University, 1974; J.D., University North Carolina, 1977
Experience: director, Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at University of North Carolina School of Law (2005-2006); Partner, law firm of Edwards & Kirby, Raleigh, N.C. (1993-1999)
Notable: Edwards, who has made millions as a trial lawyer, was the first member of his family to go to college. He said his favorite president was Harry Truman because “he was plain-spoken and a champion for regular people.”
Sun Archives: Poverty may not be winning issue, but Edwards is taking it on tour
Edwards on the Issues: A look at where Edwards stands on the issues and how he has voted.
Nevada Contributions: A breakdown of Edwards’ financial contributions from the Silver State.
State by State Contributions: A breakdown of Edwards’ financial contributions across the U.S.
Edward's MySpace Page: Read Edward's profile information and leave a message.
Edward's Facebook Page: Read Edward's profile information and leave a message.
Edward's Flickr Page: View Edward's photos from the campaign trail.
Edward's YouTube Videos: View Edwards’ latest political videos.
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