John Edwards

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John Edwards
U.S. Senator from North Carolina
From: January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2005
Predecessor Lauch Faircloth
Successor Richard Burr
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Edwards (separated)
Religion Methodist

Johnny Reid “John” Edwards (born June 10, 1953 (age 69)) was a prominent Democrat politician who served as the United States Senator from North Carolina. He was John Kerry's Vice Presidential running mate during the 2004 Presidential Election. He is known for his advocacy of liberal policies pitting rich against poor. A contender for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president, Edwards' reputation collapsed overnight with his admission that he had had an affair with documentary film-maker Rielle Hunter when his wife was dying of breast cancer. He denied fathering her child at the time, but in January, 2010, admitted he had lied.[1] In addition, John Edwards declared he is an evolutionist.[2]

Early life


Edwards was born in Seneca, South Carolina on June 10, 1953, where his father was the manager of a textile mill. He grew up in Robbins, North Carolina, and graduated from North Carolina State University in 1974. He received a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977.

In 1977, he married Elizabeth Anania (1949-2010). Their son, Wade, was born in 1979 and daughter, Cate, in 1982. Following Wade's death in a car accident in 1996, the couple chose to have more children. Emma Claire was born 1998, and Jack was born in 2000.

In November 2004, Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing treatment, the cancer seemed to have been eradicated. At a March 22, 2007 press conference, Elizabeth announced that doctors had found her cancer had returned; it metastasized to her ribs, lungs and liver.

Private Sector

Edwards served as a personal injury trial lawyer in Tennessee and in North Carolina for 20 years, specializing in negligence and medical malpractice suits. Critics describe Edwards' personal fortune as having been amassed by preying on malpractice victims and using junk science to win large settlements.[3] Michael Medved said, "Ambulance chasers like Edwards don’t create wealth; they seize wealth from its creators...There are also serious questions about his misuse of his own S-type corporation to dodge taxes, and the shady sale of his previous mansion in Georgetown in a sweetheart deal with a supporter who’s currently under government investigation....lawsuits on which Edwards built his career damaged the economy ...building nothing at all and benefiting only the lawyer and his clients. On what basis can Democrats argue that government should cap or actively discourage big salaries for successful corporate heads, but never consider such a limitation for a court-room conniver like Edwards?" [4] The most lucrative deal for Edwards was a $25 million suit for a girl who was disemboweled by a swimming pool drain.

Social commentator Ann Coulter quoted an article from the New York Times about Edwards' behavior in the courtroom with this description, "He's the trial lawyer who pretended in court to channel the spirit of a handicapped fetus in front of illiterate jurors to scam tens of millions of dollars off of innocent doctors. According to The New York Times, Edwards told one jury:

She speaks to you through me ... And I have to tell you right now -- I didn't plan to talk about this -- right now I feel her. I feel her presence. She's inside me, and she's talking to you.[5]

Political career

In 1998, Edwards ran as the Democratic candidate for a seat in the U.S. Senate. He beat incumbent Republican Senator Lauch Faircloth to win the seat.

Edwards served in the Senate for one 6 year term, declining to stand for re-election so that he could run for the 2004 Democratic party nomination for President. He withdrew from the presidential race on March 2, 2004 after failing to win any state of the 10 contested states in the Super Tuesday elections. Democratic nominee John Kerry named Edwards as his vice-presidential candidate for the Democratic ticket.

2004 Vice-Presidential Candidacy

Former Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate John Edward's mugshot. Edwards was later charged and booked in a fundraising scheme.

Democratic National Committee insider Bob Shrum reported in his book No Excuses about the 2004 loss of Kerry/Edwards. In the book Shrum told of private Kerry-Edwards discussions when Democratic Presidential Nominee John Kerry was considering Edwards for the Vice-Presidential slot;

(Kerry) was even queasier about Edwards after they met. Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he'd never told anyone else -- that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he'd do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade's ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before -- and with the same preface, that he'd never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn't pick Edwards unless he met with him again.

The Kerry-Edwards ticket lost to incumbent president George W. Bush and Dick Cheney with 48% of the vote to the Republicans' 51%.

Post 2004 Election

After losing the bid for Vice President in the 2004 election, he became the director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at UNC-Chapel Hill.

2008 Presidential Candidacy

On December 28, 2005, John Edwards officially announced that he would again seek the Democratic nomination for president for the 2008 election.

Edwards is reported to be miffed over having been branded "the Breck Girl" [6] in the 2004 Vice Presidential contest. Columnist Joan Vennochi characterized Edwards problem, "Usually, women are forced to ward off stereotypical thinking that equates beauty with brainlessness. But Edwards is not the first male politician to feel the double-edged sword that comes with being too pretty to be taken seriously." [7] In the spring of 2007, Edwards was ridiculed for getting $400 haircuts and charging his political campaign for them. He later said that he reimbursed his campaign $800.[8]

On Memorial Day 2007 Edwards was accused of using the National Holiday to "trash the sacrifice, honor and glory of American soldiers." [9][10]

The New York Times reported Edwards created a nonprofit organization with the stated mission of fighting poverty. The organization, the Center for Promise and Opportunity, raised $1.3 million in 2005, and — unlike a sister charity he created to raise scholarship money for poor students — the main beneficiary of the center's fund-raising was Mr. Edwards himself, according to tax filings. The organization became a big part of a shadow political apparatus. Its officers were members of his political staff, and it helped pay for his nearly constant travel, including to early primary states.

While Mr. Edwards said the organization's purpose was “making the eradication of poverty the cause of this generation,” its federal filings say it financed “retreats and seminars” with foreign policy experts on Iraq and national security issues. Unlike the scholarship charity, donations to it were not tax deductible, and, significantly, it did not have to disclose its donors — as political action committees and other political fund-raising vehicles do — and there were no limits on the size of individual donations.[11]

John Edwards has ended his run to become the Democratic candidate for the 2008 election cycle after the Florida primaries on January 29, 2008. It was over when he became a distant third to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It was the third primary in a row where he ended third, and he dropped out before Super Tuesday, when voters in twenty-two states allocating about 45 per cent of the delegates.


The Federal Election Committee has recommended fines exceeding $170,000 for 2004 campaign violations that included the transfer of $500,000. to his Senate account from his Presidential campaign.[12]

In addition, the FEC is investigating his 2008 presidential campaign for money transfers to his mistress, another violation of the law.

Political views

During his Senate career and the 2004 presidential campaign, one of Edwards' main themes was "Two Americas," contrasting the poorer working-class Americans with wealthier Americans. Critics cite the hypocrisy of Edwards call for "affordable health care," when it is malpractice attorneys that use junk science to win big awards such as himself that have made the cost of health care beyond the reach of the poor.


Edwards came under fire for not firing two of his campaign workers who made bigoted and hateful statements on their blogs. Statements included calling Christian supporters of President Bush his "wingnut Christofascist base", asking what would have happened if the Virgin Mary had taken an emergency contraceptive,[13] and asking religious conservatives "What don't you lousy motherf——ers understand about keeping your noses out of our britches, our beds and our families?".[14][15] These incidents were largely ignored by the mainstream media.[16] Edwards was criticized for not firing the employees, but they later resigned themselves.

Critics also cite Edwards lack of government experience. One often heard criticism is that, other than the fact he has a full head of hair, there is little else to qualify him as a candidate.

In 2005, with a big announcement from the liberal media, John Edwards started the College for Everyone scholarship program. The goal was to reward a college student should they make it through the four years of school by paying a year's tuition for each graduate. John Edwards cancelled the program in July 2008.[17]

In 2007, Elizabeth Edwards was stricken with incurable breast cancer. The link on John Edwards' campaign web site invites people to send get well wishes to Elizabeth. John Edwards used those well-wishers' information to solicit email donations to his Presidential campaign.[18]

Repeatedly lied while running for the highest office in the nation.

August 9, Rielle Hunter's sister Melissa, calls on John Edwards to come clean about the child and to take a paternity test.[19]


Ann Coulter wrote:

"In 2008, he based his entire presidential campaign on his selfless dedication to a cancer-stricken wife. Meanwhile, in order to pass the time between giving $50,000 speeches on poverty, Edwards was cheating on the cancer-stricken wife." [1]

In October 2007 the National Enquirer accused Edwards of having an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a claim that Edwards repeatedly denied even while running for President. Armed with knowledge that Edwards planned to visit Rielle at her hotel on July 22, 2008, the Enquirer confronted Edwards at 2 A.M. when he left her room after being there for a considerable time. Edwards ran, hid in a bathroom and security was called to escort him out.

With a few exceptions, liberal bias ensured the silence of the major Internet and television news organizations. Edwards disavowed the allegations in a brief statement, saying that he would not dignify lies with responses. He asserted that he was telling “99 percent” of the truth before coming clean.[20] Most liberal-owned networks and Internet sites were still silent.

Edwards was notorious for fathering many lies

The conservative media's pursuit of the truth forced the issue into the public eye and further raised serious questions about Edwards. Edwards chose to give an interview to ABC News less than two weeks after being caught with his mistress yet again. He claimed that some elements of the story were false, including the allegation that he was the father of Rielle's child.[21] At that point, the mainstream media finally began to give the story serious coverage.

There may be elements of the scandal that are still being glossed over. Apparently, a close political friend of Edwards had been sending Hunter $15,000 a month, something that Edwards says he knew nothing about, and that he attempts to explain away by speculating that it might simply be a case of a friend helping out a person in distress. Fox News has also pointed out that elements of Edwards story and the timeline are inconsistent [22]

The seriousness of the allegations led Edwards to cancel all public appearances during the election campaign, recognizing that his presence could only be a detriment to his party.[23] Beyond the 2008 election, the gravity of the situation, which was compounded by the fact that these events took place as Elizabeth was being treated for cancer, the scandal has in all likelihood derailed Edwards' future political prospects.

The Enquirer reported that a DNA test confirmed that Rielle's son was fathered by Edwards. In January 2010, Edwards admitted that the child is his and that he has separated from his wife.[24]

If there was any doubt before as to Edwards's honesty, the facts now prove he is one of the most pathetic liars to have ever served in American politics.

A sex tape of Edwards and Hunter was formerly in possession of one of Edward's aides. His aide was going to release tape before a judge intervened and ordered it confiscated.

An indictment of Edwards over campaign finance violations is expected by a federal grand jury in April 2010. He will likely be charged with converting political action committee money to personal use and lying to hide breaking the law.[25] In 2012, Edwards was found not guilty of any crime in a trial. In his statements after the verdict he admitted to lying and said his actions were "morally wrong".



The Four Trials (with John Auchard), about his career as a lawyer


The $25 million settlement was the largest in NC history.


  1. USA Today; John Edwards admits fathering child
  3. Peter W. Huber, Galileo's Revenge: Junk Science in the Courtroom, 1993. ISBN 0-465-02624-9.
  4. For Presidents Day: Our Most Under-rated Chief Executive, Michael Medved, February 20, 2007.
  5. That Was No Lady -- That Was My Husband, by Ann Coulter, Human Events, 06/28/2007.
  6. John Edwards the Breck Girl "Sometimes another pretty face is just another pretty face."
  7. Edwards' obstacle: 'Breck girl' good looks, Joan Vennochi, The Boston Globe, 01.10.2004.
  8. CBS News, John Edwards And The Case Of The "Breck Girl" Comment, April 24, 2007.
  9. John Edwards criticized for 'trashing' troops on Memorial Day, Jim Brown,, May 30, 2007.
  10. Edwards Defends Stepped-Up War Opposition, By Mike Glover, Associated Press, May 26, 2007.
  11. In Aiding Poor Edwards Built Bridge to 2008, Leslie Waynem New York Times, June 22, 2007.
  12. Campaign of Sen. John Edwards faces $170K fine, Miami Herald, March 4, 2009
  17. Millionaire Playboy John Edwards' Little Kid Problem Comedy Central Indecision 2008, August 1, 2008
  19. Hunter’s family challenges Edwards to paternity test Hot Air Network, August 9, 2008
  20. Inconsistencies Raise Concerns Edwards May Still Be Lying About Affair Fox News, August 11, 2008
  21. Edwards Admits Sexual Affair; Lied as Presidential Candidate ABC News, August 8, 2008
  22. Inconsistencies Raise Concerns Edwards May Still Be Lying About Affair Fox News, August 11, 2008
  24. DNA Test Proves Edwards Fathered Videographer's Daughter, Fox News, August 13, 2009

See also