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Sam Smith: The Edwards Campaign Continues

The Edwards Campaign Continues

By Editor Sam Smith

The televised news announcement of Elizabeth Edwards' recurring cancer was one of the most moving political events I've seen in a half century of journalism. I had earlier shifted from being quite cynical about Edwards to being convinced that of the choices, he offered the best combination of positive intent and competency, a conclusion aided by a sense that Edwards was one those rare politicians who had actually learned something from life, in part thanks to two earlier tragedies: the loss of a son and his wife's cancer. Like many politicians, he had talent and attractiveness before, it was the pain that gave it meaning and decency.

The integrity, emotion, common sense and lack of manipulativeness in the Edwards' discussion of the cancer was a stunning exception to the contemporary political norm. I felt like I had come home to America again.

But then I'm a native of a Washington that was still a southern town, had prostate cancer 14 years ago and have been married for four decades to an exceptionally strong woman. The story and the characters ring a few bells.

I'm not sure, however, much of the liberal elite will feel the same way. The Edwardses are not northern urban sophisticates, they speak an alien dialect from that of most campaign contribution heavy zip codes and Elizabeth Edwards lacks the gloss many liberals have come to expect from modern women. But the truth is, she's clearly one of the strongest women in political life and a model for anyone facing a similar crisis. Further, the audacity of the Edwards' hope is not just a book title; it is the story of their lives.


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