A Stump Speech Anecdote Leads to a Real-Life Meeting
By Shailagh Murray
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Former Sen. John Edwards has a surprise visitor on the campaign trail today: Hilda Sarkisyan, the mother of Nataline Sarkisyan, the 17-year-old Los Angeles girl whose death last month became a national news story because her insurance company had initially denied a liver transplant.
Edwards has cited the Sarkisyan case in his stump speech to illustrate how corporate America has run amok. On Thursday night, Hilda Sarkisyan was watching Iowa caucus coverage on MSNBC when she heard the former North Carolina senator describe her recent loss in a speech following his second-place finish.
On Friday morning, according to the Edwards campaign, Hilda approached the Armenian National Committee of America for help in connecting with the campaign. Committee representatives contacted Edwards' Chapel Hill headquarters. By Friday afternoon, Hilda was on the phone with Elizabeth Edwards. She told the candidate's wife that she wanted to travel to New Hampshire to help out, and she took a red-eye from Los Angeles to Manchester this morning.
The Edwards campaign had high hopes the Sarkisyan visit. "I believe this will be one of those very powerful moments on the trail that people remember for a very long time," predicted Edwards spokesman Eric Schultz.
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