Editor's Note: John Edwards dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 30, 2008.
Political Party: Democrat
Current Position: U.S. Senator
State: North Carolina
Political Experience: U.S. Senator, 1998-2005; Presidential Candidate, 2004
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from Edwards's campaign web site and Salon. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.
While Senators Obama and Clinton have received the most media attention so far in the race to the presidency, John Edwards is a close third. Last week, Edwards scored by coming in second in the Iowa caucuses, between winner Obama and third-place Clinton, giving him a certain boost of legitimacy.
The campaign trail is familiar to Edwards, who ran for president in 2004 and then vice president with Democratic nominee John Kerry. While his alignment with Kerry in 2004 may repel some voters, his experience yields benefits in terms of staff, money and public recognition.
The son of a mill worker and the first in his family to attend college, Edwards draws frequently on his family life and humble Southern roots to appeal to everyday, hardworking Americans – the center of Edwards's campaign. In addition, his wife Elizabeth, a recent breast cancer survivor, has become both a symbol of hope and a huge aspect of Edwards's campaign. His innate ties to the Carolinas may also give Edwards leverage among Southern conservatives.
After just one term in the Senate, Edwards ran in 2004 under the concept of "Two Americas," emphasizing the issue of the dwindling middle class and the working poor. His 2008 pitch is about achieving "One America," where ordinary people have the same opportunities he did, according to his campaign campaign web site.
Edwards started his professional career as a successful trial lawyer, standing up for ordinary Americans in the face of abuses by big business. In debates and speeches, Edwards has announced that he intends to continue standing up for the rights of everyday American families. This includes his plan to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2012 and other initiatives to "end poverty within 30 years," as his campaign web site outlines.
This summer, Elizabeth, in an interview with the online magazine Salon, called her husband a better advocate for women's rights than opponent Hillary Clinton. On his web site, Edwards expresses that as part of his goal to strengthen America's future; he aims to attain women's rights by protecting the right to choose, fighting for equal pay and ending violence against women. He also aims to end poverty by strengthening schools and creating a job-filled society.
In terms of foreign policy, Edwards supports immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq as well as involvement to end the conflicts in Uganda and Darfur to restore and represent America's global leadership.
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