Elizabeth Edwards, Political Wife

"I'm absolutely ready for this," Elizabeth Edwards said at Thursday's press conference, after she and her husband, John Edwards, announced that the breast cancer that surfaced during the 2004 campaign had returned, in a more severe, incurable form. "I mean, I don't look sickly, I don't feel sickly...I'm as ready as any person can be for that."

Incisive Vanity Fair/Washington Post writer Marjorie Williams argued eloquently in "The Political Wife, RIP," that political wives who contort themselves to support their husbands' careers were a species close to extinction. Williams, who published a posthumous collection of essays, The Woman at the Washington Zoo, died of liver cancer in January 2005 so she didn't see Elizabeth Edwards at last Thursday's press conference. She didn't see John Edwards pledging to continue his bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Elizabeth, 57, and the mother of four children, has "long been the center of her husband's world, the one whose advice he has always sought...the ultimate gate-keeper and her husband's closest adviser," according to The Washington Post, Ready for Another Tough Campaign.

However, Elizabeth Edwards' oncologist, Dr. Lisa Carey, said "the disease has worsened beyond the point of being cured -- it is so serious that no surgery can treat it," according to a different Post article, Cancer Worsening, Edwards's Wife Says.

Like many Americans, I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Edwards. I admire her candor, her commitment to her husband and children, her willingness to take life head-on, and most of all, her refusal to give in to pressure to be a "caricature of a campaign spouse...[Edwards remains] that rarest of political beings: a real person," as the Washington Post describes her. And I have no desire to dissect her in the wake of discovering that she has terminal cancer.

However, I can't help but comment that if I found out I were dying, I'd want to spend every second I had with my children and husband. And I'd surely hope he felt the same way about me. That would be my only balance in what would inevitably be a dreadful, chaotic, painful, medicated decline. No matter how much I adored my husband or how passionately I supported his dreams. No matter how many reporters described me as brave, valiant, courageous -- no matter how much attention and sympathy my illness brought to my husband's candidacy. The last place on Earth I would want to be would be on the campaign trail, smiling, doing my best to look healthy and vibrant for television cameras.

Because I'm human, like all women, like Elizabeth Edwards. If I were sick I'd want my husband to take care of me, to make sure I had as much time as possible for myself, our children, life. Why do women have such a hard time being appropriately demanding? When will our society allow women to place limits on our self-sacrifice? Why can't we, even when we are dying, say -- please do this for me?

Okay, the campaign trail is the last place I'd want to be, even as a healthy wife, but still. Go for it, Elizabeth -- I just hope John is holding your hand during every second of the campaign.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  March 26, 2007; 7:45 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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Second

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 7:47 AM

I get the feeling that she is so invested in the life and career of her husband that she is the driving force behind the continuation of the campaign. I find it hard to believe that John Edwards would not have immediately offered to suspend. I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that this is her choice.

That said, I would make a different choice. If I knew my time on earth were limited, I would definitely want to spend it with my family, and not on the campaign trail. I would especially want to spend every second with my two young children, whose only memories of their mother will be from their young childhood. I'd want to spend real quality time with my college-age child before she embarks on her adulthood. I don't understand her decision, but it truly is her decision to make.

Posted by: Vienna mom | March 26, 2007 7:50 AM

Oh, this is nice. A woman makes a decision. Instead of accepting her decision as HERS, you lambast her for making a decision with which you do not approve.

"The last place on Earth I would want to be would be on the campaign trail." So don't go on a compaign trail. The last place I would want to be is at a writer's desk - so I don't write. I believe Elizabeth Edwards wants to be on the campaign trail. Why, because she says so.

" If I were sick I'd want my husband to take care of me, to make sure I had as much time as possible for myself, our children, life. Why do women have such a hard time being appropriately demanding? When will our society allow women to place limits on our self-sacrifice? Why can't we, even when we are dying, say -- please do this for me?"

Maybe this is where Elizabth Edwards wants to be. You assume she is taking a backseat to her husband with no proof.

Leslie, you do harm to all women with today's blog

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 7:51 AM

Leslie,

Big news! You are going to die someday, too. Everyone's time on earth is limited.

Are you spending every moment of your life doing what you think Elizabeth Edwards should be doing?

Elizabeth Edwards has already dealt with a bout of cancer and the sudden death of a child. I trust her to figure out how she wants to live her life.

Posted by: DZ | March 26, 2007 7:59 AM

Only stay home with your family if you are dying. Awesome advice. So psyched NOT to be a part of this family. Remember ladies, Leslie knows best.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 8:05 AM

I found your take interesting, but I think we all have to try to put our heads around the kind of life this family has lived - one where politics, the campaign trail, things that aren't 'normal' to us, are the norm. Obviously she believes strongly in the causes the family supports and I'm guessing fighting for her beliefs, not to mention a better future for Americans IS how she wants to live out the rest of her life. She and her family have lived fighting for causes... I'm guessing she wants to die doing the same. And that is an inspirtation to her family - taht Mommy didn't give up.

Posted by: Bethesda | March 26, 2007 8:05 AM

For the record, the doctors all say her cancer is not curable, but treatable.

I interpret that to mean they can keep it under control for a while with medication, but can't get rid if it completely. If her campaigning doesn't make her more susceptible to the cancer, or make her treatments less effective, then I see no reason why she cannot continue to have as normal a life as she wishes.

Posted by: John L | March 26, 2007 8:11 AM

Leslie,
Many, many time here on this blog you have advocated for choice, to work or not, to have more than one child or not, the choice to have any or none, based upon what the FAMILY thinks is right. This family made a decision based upon what THEY think is correct. I don't think you have the right to question it. You can choose not to vote for him based upon how it sheds light upon his ability to lead this country. As Mrs. Edwards has said she is choosing to live her life, her way. Cancer tries to get into your head as well as your body and break you, and she is choosing not to give one inch. BRAVO!

Posted by: NC Mom | March 26, 2007 8:12 AM

Wow, I just think Leslie is so off base here. First, Elizabeth Edwards has always struck me as a woman who truly owns her decisions. I've never gotten the impression that she wasn't in command of her own life. And she's been through so much--the death of their son and her first bout with cancer, for example--that I can't believe this is a woman who doesn't know how to care for herself.

Second, perhaps more so than any other candidate I've seen, John Edwards seems to care for his wife. I've always gotten the impression that he loves, even adores, her. And the reporting around this latest development supports that. I don't sense at all that he's pushing her to do something HE wants or that she's being martyred here.

Reading Leslie's comments about this, all I could think of was her blog (months ago) about taking a victory lap around her kitchen because Mr. Leslie had agreed (this once) to change his schedule to accomodate her's. Leslie, I really don't mean this to sound unkind, but please, please recall that everyone's marriage is not alike and I think it's fair to conclude that the Edwards's marriage is not like your own.

Posted by: McLean | March 26, 2007 8:18 AM

I was so upset by the news of the return of Elizabeth Edwards' cancer. We recently had a tough battle with cancer in my family (one of my children; he's ok now) and I am forever changed as a result. I am so angry that this family should have to endure more strife. The loss of a child, a bout with cancer - haven't they suffered enough?

I personally likely would not choose to be on the campaign trail either. But, I am so disappointed at this blog. As soon as the decision to continue the campaign was announced I feared someone would criticize this family for choosing politics over family. I feared this exact column and knew someone would write this because this is America and this is what people do. Doesn't make me proud. I do not think John Edwards is continuing the campaign to garner sympathy votes.

One thing I learned those horrible months I spent in the hospital with my child is not to judge. Every family confronts crisis differently. I would not have wanted anyone to tell me what to do, how to allocate my time, in my situation, and never plan to tell anyone else. I try very hard to follow the advice I read on a bumper sticker about a year ago: "Be kind whenever possible . . . It's always possible."

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | March 26, 2007 8:18 AM

I cannot fathom your selfishness. The Edwards family believes it can make a difference for good in our country, and instead of praising Elizabeth for her willingness to sacrifice, you criticize her for not being as selfish as you are. Get a life, Leslie. Some things are more important than you.

By all accounts, Elizabeth never let John consider pulling out of the race. She isn't dying, she's got a treatable condition, and she firmly believes that her husband can do good for our country. God bless them for continuing to try.

Posted by: KateinSS | March 26, 2007 8:21 AM

I made similar comments to my husband after the Edwards' made their announcement last week. He said "They've been married for 30 years. This is her dream, too." And that shut me right up.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 26, 2007 8:29 AM

I can't really comment on her decision, but I think John's decision to focus on his own campaign while his wife battles a terminal disease clearly tells us he isn't the sort of person who should be leading our country.

Posted by: Rufus | March 26, 2007 8:32 AM

dotted, Friday I felt that no one really wanted to hear the opinion of a childless person, so I read but did not comment. But thanks for the shout out.

For today's topic, I agree with PT Fed. I personally would want to do what Mrs. Edwards is doing. If I felt fine, I would continue to live exactly the way I had been. When I started feeling and looking sick, I would retreat to my home. But I wouldn't want anyone telling me how to deal with illness. It's no one's business, and I am of the opinion that any unsolicited advice, however well meaning, is tacky.

I don't think Leslie is doing any harm with her article, though. I mean, she gave her opinion, and now we're alll going to give ours. I think it's fine to talk about the role of a political wife and the expectations that go along with it.

Posted by: Meesh | March 26, 2007 8:32 AM

I was moved by Elizabeth's decision and the Edwards' strong relationship. I can understand her decision and I think she put it best:

"Either you push forward with the things that you were doing yesterday or you start dying. That seems to be your only two choices," she said. "If I had given up everything that my life was about _ first of all, I'd let cancer win before it needed to."

Posted by: Neighbor | March 26, 2007 8:32 AM

Sorry, all, but I'm NOT going to jump on the "it's her choice, good for her, and how dare we judge her" bandwagon. I believe what she's doing is flat out wrong, both ethically and morally.

Do you think those children aren't going to grow up resenting their parents for this decision? Can you really blame a child for feeling like s/he's not important, not loved, in the face of such a decision? And NO, I'm not saying the Edwards children aren't important to or loved by their parents - I don't know whether they are or not and neither do you - but it isn't hard to see any child developing those kind of feelings, especially after enduring the terminal illness and death of a parent.


Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 26, 2007 8:33 AM

Well, count me as the lone voice that agrees with you, Leslie. If this is Elizabeth Edwards' choice, then we need to respect that. But word from the Edwards campaign was that he never "seriously considered" suspending the campaign. I come from a political family, so I know how the politician becomes the center of everyone's universe. Elizabeth is such a devoted wife that she may not have even questioned how she should proceed, and that's fine, maybe even admirable. But this is where her husband needs to step in and say, "It's your turn, honey." If this is treatable but not incurable, Elizabeth needs all the physical and emotional strength she can muster, and days on the campaign trail may speed her along the path to feeling and looking "sickly." I hope, for her sake and her children's sake, that I'm wrong and that her campaign work invigorates her.

Posted by: Ashley | March 26, 2007 8:37 AM

Ummm, why would you think John wasn't being there for her? By all accounts they made the decision together. And, also by all accounts, they are a loving and devoted couple. THey've faced hard times before and she is a stong woman.

This is a very personal decision and other than saying "I would do X", the decision is no one's decision but theirs.

Posted by: JS | March 26, 2007 8:39 AM

2terrificboys, by that logic we should criticize - ethically and morally - anyone who enlists in the armed services and has children, given the extremely high likelihood that they will be sent to Iraq. But we don't do that - we praise their sacrifice. How is Mrs. Edwards's decision - to continue doing what she believes to be the best thing for her, for her family, and for her country - any different?

And I have to disagree strongly with Rufus, as well. John Edwards's wife has said that she sees herself as having two choices: continue the fight to make our country better, which is the cause she and her husband began fighting after her son died, or give up and start dying. Given that stark decision, how could John Edwards have done anything but continue to run for president? Are you of the opinion that he should've told his wife (even though this isn't true, according to the doctors) "Dammit, you're dying whether you accept it or not, and it's in your own best interests for me to quit fighting this fight we believe in and instead stay home while you die"?

Posted by: Lala | March 26, 2007 8:40 AM

She has something on the order of a 20-50% chance to make it to the 5 year mark... so heading home to die today seems a bit defeatist. She also has no symptoms this week that she did not have last week. Presumably she took some stock of her life and her "balance" after surviving her first scare, and set goals she considered to be important. I am also not sure why you stay she is "contorting" herself for her husband's goals.

I am normally not a fan of the gratuitous slam, but I think it says it more about your marriage than hers that you find the idea of true partnership, open communication, and joint decision making so unfathomable.

Also time is limited for all of us - so if you think family is the only important way you are contributing I can't comprehend why you aren't a SAHM now. And I certainly hope you understand that the judgement thrown at you for working from that camp is no less rude than what you wrote today.

I am a big Edwards fan - but am skeptical he will win. I do think, however, in whatever time period he stays in the race, Edward's continued push to make all the candidates discuss healthcare could benefit us all. I think that is wonderful legacy for Elizabeth to want to fight for (as well as her family).

Posted by: wow | March 26, 2007 8:41 AM

I am a professor/librarian at a community college. I have always worked and have raised a wonderful young daughter who now practices law. I also am the wife of a husband who is 18 months out from a stage 4 diagnosis (doctors said he had perhaps a year to live). He is now in complete remission, healthy and at work but we know we are living with rather than free from cancer. While I did take two months off from being at work while my husband underwent treatment in NYC (I telecommut-ed), I (and he) decided my work was a necessity. To begin with, how would I support myself if he died? Secondly, if you have a terrible disease, it is about living and not dying. My husband and I survived this period by firmly focusing our future together, and our joy in our work was part of that. I rarely feel like telling people to just shut up, but anyone who criticizes the Edwards simply is clueless. You really do have to be in their (or my) shoes to undestand.

Posted by: AnnS | March 26, 2007 8:45 AM

No one knows how long they are going to be here. An accident can happen anytime. By choosing to live the rest of her life as normally as possible, don't you think her children will that? Not that mom was SOOO sick for SOOO long. My mother made the same decision many years ago. I remember the way she tried to do things for me even when getting up was a struggle. Not that she just waited to die. She fought. And I think Elizabeth Edwards is trying to do the same.

Posted by: to 2terifficboys | March 26, 2007 8:46 AM

Leslie,

Please reconsider, only this time really put yourself in Elizabeth's place. You've been told your cancer can't be cured but it can be treated and that death is not imminent. You might live for years. Would you really want to sit around the house holding your husband's hand waiting, waiting, waiting for death? Or would you rather be out in the real world with your husband helping him run for the highest office in the country. To me this is a no-brainer.

Posted by: Trakker | March 26, 2007 8:47 AM

I won't judge her decision. I could never be a political wife and don't particularly like the John Edwards, but this is their decision. Personally, if I had their wealth and 2 young children I'd ask my husband to drop out of the race and enjoy life.

Also, she could live for 1 year or 20 years, nobody knows. Some people hunker down, some people get moving when they get a diagnosis. It is not the end by any means but I think if Elizabeth Edwards' health were to significantly deteriorate in the next year, their decision will change.

Posted by: cmac | March 26, 2007 8:48 AM

it should read "Don't you think her children will see that?"

sorry

Posted by: missed a word | March 26, 2007 8:48 AM

I think your reaction reflects how you feel about life itself. Elizabeth Edwards is not "dying" - she intends to "live with cancer.' There is a difference between a doctor saying "you have six months to live" and saying your disease is incurable but treatable. The "odds" mean that 20% of the people with her cancer will outlive the two years. Maybe she and her husband think the way to "live" is to "live" - not to sit around and "die.' If I were in her place and my husband said he wanted to quit and sit around on a death watch, I'd be so depressed, I'd want to die right then and there. I think I'd ask him if he'd like me to hurry up and die, so he can get on with "life" instead of wanting to continue to live "life" with me as I am. Your take (sit and hold my hand) is really, really selfish. Anyone who thinks John Edwards should sit around doesn't understand the difference between "living with cancer" and "dying from cancer."

Posted by: Mimi | March 26, 2007 8:49 AM

I made similar comments to my husband after the Edwards' made their announcement last week. He said "They've been married for 30 years. This is her dream, too." And that shut me right up.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 26, 2007 08:29 AM

We had the exact opposite conversation. My husband thinks they should pack it in, I said they should do whatever they want - death is not imminent for her. They are a political family and operate very differenlty then we do.

Posted by: cmac | March 26, 2007 8:53 AM

Leslie, I gotta disagree with you. What else is she going to do, sit at home and wait to die? I think Eugene Robinson's article on the Edwards was right on target.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/22/AR2007032201803.html

Posted by: delurking for the moment | March 26, 2007 8:55 AM

I disagree, Leslie, and I think it is wrong to denigrate her choice just because it is one that you yourself would not make. I, when imagining being in such a horrible and truly unimaginable heartbreaking situation, would also want to continue to work on the campaign, something that is bigger than myself and would provide a welcome distraction to the illness. I agree that this posting does harm to the choices that women have fought so hard to have!

Posted by: SS | March 26, 2007 9:01 AM

I usually find Leslie's comments fairly thoughtful, but "if I found out I were dying." Leslie, you ARE dying. All of us are dying because every day brings us closer to the last day of our lives. But we're also all, at the moment, living. Don't wait for a bad diagnosis to live.

Posted by: Green Mtns | March 26, 2007 9:03 AM

I wonder if Leslie has had any close family members die. Those of us who have seem to understand Elizabeth's decision better than those who have not (based on my experience and the postings so far about family members with terminal diseases).

Posted by: Not new to death | March 26, 2007 9:09 AM

If I were Elizabeth Edwards, I would want my husband to give up the campaign and find something less demanding and more flexible to do -- but not for my own sake.

My first priority would be to make sure that my young children would have a parent readily available, even during the times when the illness would make it impossible for me to play that role.

But that's me. It's not you, and it's not Elizabeth Edwards. She obviously sees things differently.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 9:09 AM

* However, I can't help but comment that if I found out I were dying, I'd want to spend every second I had with my children and husband. * Yes, you can help it. You could just respect her decision and shut up. You are not in Elizabeth Edwards* shoes, therefore you have no clue what she, her husband, and her children are going through, nor do you know how they arrived at their decision. You have no right to question someone else*s decision in the face of a tragedy. I would expect this garbage from a lower form of life like Limbaugh. Do you want to be associated with him?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 9:12 AM

I can not believe you would write such judgemental junk...and junk is the politest four letter word I can think is acceptable for a family paper.

A woman makes a decision, she makes a decision. She chooses for herself, her family, the life she's lead, and the choices she's faced.

Elizabeth Edwards wants her husband to be President of the United States. She believes in his vision for America because she shares it too. This has been her dream as much as his and that isn't singluar to polotical wives: it's a central concept in marraige. We share our dreams with our loved ones and fight for theirs as well as our own.

This column in my opinion was a back-handed poorly disgused judgement on one woman's choices and infered that society or her husband or family pressures forced Mrs. Edwards to make these choices. We live in the 21st century: a woman is running for President of the United States, woman have been world leaders on the public stage for much of the last century, a woman has so many choices and doors open to her.

Why can't her choice have been solely about her? And what makes you think he wouldn't have done the same thing if the positions were reversed?

Posted by: R | March 26, 2007 9:12 AM

I must say I had exactly the same thoughts Leslie had when I heard the news - why wouldn't she just want to spend the rest of her time with her husband and kids sans the campaign? However, conversations with my husband and mom and reading people's comments here today have made me realise that her choice is exactly that - hers and it might actually be the healthier alternative given that she won't have the time to wallow in self pity and will instead be focused on leaving a legacy that her family can be proud of.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | March 26, 2007 9:15 AM

2terrificboys,

You really have no idea, do you?

Posted by: John Q | March 26, 2007 9:16 AM

I am very sorry to hear that Edwards is dying. As much as I dislike her and her husband - and I do - that is horrible news, and no child should lose their mom at such a young age. [However, as an eternal cynic, I wondered how long it would take former Sen. Edwards to contort the situation into an argument for universal health care (answer: 36 hours).]

Posted by: StudentMom | March 26, 2007 9:17 AM

For what it's worth, here's another take on Elizabeth's prognosis from two oncology experts, who both think she is making the right choice:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20070324/hl_hsn/cancersreturnshouldntlimitelizabethedwardsdoctorssay;_ylt=AoRoGwhQhg0kgK4PH3PqTGTVJRIF

Leslie, you're forgiven if you blog sometime soon about the new results of that daycare study!

Posted by: NYlurker | March 26, 2007 9:19 AM

For what it's worth, here's another take on Elizabeth's prognosis from two oncology experts, who both think she is making the right choice:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20070324/hl_hsn/cancersreturnshouldntlimitelizabethedwardsdoctorssay;_ylt=AoRoGwhQhg0kgK4PH3PqTGTVJRIF

Leslie, you're forgiven if you blog sometime soon about the new results of that daycare study!

Posted by: NYlurker | March 26, 2007 9:19 AM

"I usually find Leslie's comments fairly thoughtful, but "if I found out I were dying." Leslie, you ARE dying. All of us are dying because every day brings us closer to the last day of our lives. But we're also all, at the moment, living. Don't wait for a bad diagnosis to live."

That is the smartest thing I have ever read on this blog!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 9:19 AM

I have long admired Elizabeth Edwards and now, close to a week after her diagnosis, I admire her even more. May those who question her decision find solace in their opinions because I can find none.

Posted by: former journalist | March 26, 2007 9:21 AM

Bone mets from breast cancer are very treatable. Some women live a long time with them, some don't.

I do think with two small children that I might choose something different, but this run for the Presidency is a big thing for them as a couple.

They are a little unique in that the small children are almost a second family for them. A couple in their 30s with the same diagnosis and family might have made a different choice. Presumably their experience means that they are not overwhelmed with the management of children and have organized their lives so they can do what they want to for their children without sacrificing their own lives. Income and experience make the difference there.

Ultimately I think the "money" factor will drive whether they stay in the race. If Edwards can't continue to raise funds then he'll be out. Those forces will decide whether Elizabeth Edwards should devote herself more to her family, or continue devoting herself to the dream she and her husband have worked for.

Overall I respect her for keeping on. Breast cancer is a killer, but treatments have improved a lot so it's not a death sentence.

Posted by: RoseG | March 26, 2007 9:21 AM

Why can't it just be HER decsion, rather than some betrayal of all independent women. She is trying to be positive and go on with her life. How can that be criticized? Everyone just needs to relax and stop being so judgmental about other people's decisions.

Posted by: JDS | March 26, 2007 9:21 AM

I don't think any of us should judge anyone's decisions when they're faced with a terminal diagnosis. You can't say for certain what you'd want to do if you were in Elizabeth Edwards' shoes. Seriously, now, how many of you would expect your spouse to stop working/cultivating his or her dream if you were faced with impending death? And as other posters are pointing out, any one of us could die today, it's not like we know when it'll happen. In a way, Elizabeth Edwards is lucky, because she must deal with her own mortality.

Such judgmental people on this blog.

Posted by: Chiclet | March 26, 2007 9:24 AM

Elizabeth Edwards decision to continue to work to elect her husband and fight the cancer leaves a lasting legacy for their children -- to stand up for what you believe, to do what you believe is the right thing, and to never, EVER give up. Some things are more important than doing the easy or the comfortable thing. That's the kind of legacy I would hope to leave my children were I in that position. Besides, having a goal to work toward gives her purpose in life. Go forth, Elizabeth, and show everyone how to live -- and die -- with grace, dignity and principles.

Posted by: Arlington | March 26, 2007 9:27 AM

Leslie,

Insensitive, much? I hope that when you're ready to kick off, all the choices you make (or don't make) are held against you. It's her life, her decision. It might not be what you would do, but I am sure there are plenty out there who wouldn't exactly choose your life, either.

Are you the type of Mom who guilt-trips your kids with how long you were in labor with them? I have an inkling I should be feeling sorry for your husband, too.

Posted by: wow | March 26, 2007 9:31 AM

Atleast she knows her days are numbered. How many of us could be hit by a truck as we leave work to go home tonight? Maybe you'll get caught in the crossfire of some street corner drug deal. Maybe you'll choke to death on your steamed lobster dinner tonight and nobody close by knows the Heimlich maneuver. Tomorrow is never promised to anybody.

I am enraged at all this PR about breast cancer. If caught early, it can be cured. There are early detection methods. A close relative died of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the 'silent killers.' By the time it is diagnosed, it's way too late to do anything. We only knew of his illness for 2 months before he died. You can live without a breast, or two, but you can't live without a pancreas. We've had Susan G. Komen shoved down our throats since that rich Texas broad set it up. Let's hear more about pancreatic cancer, more funding for research (it's 99% fatal and the lowest funded in terms of research -- only about $1200 per patient). PC is an equal opportunity disease -- men, women, black, white, Oriental, Catholic, Protestant or Jew. No one is immune. If I see another damned pink ribbon on a food label I'll throw up.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 9:33 AM

I think it is fine that Leslie raised this issue. Just because you say that you wouldn't do something that someone else has decided to do, that doesn't mean it is an insult.

Elizabeth Edwards is a very strong woman and i know she can handle reading that somewhere someone has stated that she wouldn't have made the same choice as Mrs. edwards did. I imagine she'd say, "OK-- that is her choice" or "I would have probably thought the same, but now that I'm actaully in this situation, my perspective has totally changed."

If I were her, I'd rather know that the conversation was out in the open, not whispered behind closed doors. I hope Leslie doesn't regret bringing this up and that she feels she is learning something and seeing things in a diffferent light. And those of you who feel Leslie was off-- I say "bravo" for sharing your thoughts. this is how we learn.

Posted by: Jen | March 26, 2007 9:36 AM

To the 9:33 poster, instead of railing about the lack of PR for pancreatic cancer, can't we just agree that all cancers are horrible? If you want a ribbon campaign for pancreatic cancer, maybe you should get one started. There's nothing stopping you.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 26, 2007 9:37 AM

This is an obnoxious and offensive column. You are in no position to second-guess her decision. And most people I know, who have been facing a terminal (though not immediately so) prognosis in fact want to keep their lives, and that of their children's, as normal as possible. For the Edwards, this means continuing with their campaign. Maybe that is "life" for them - or at least a major part of it. And the insinuation that she is not doing right by her children by not devoting her every minute to them is just jaw-droppingly offensive.

Leslie, if this is the kind of thing you are going to write about, please just don't bother. As someone as previously pointed out here, you are dying (you just don't know when and how) - so maybe it is time for you to quit the column and spend every possible minute with your children and husband. Sorry to be so harsh, but this would be no loss for the readership.

Posted by: Arlington | March 26, 2007 9:39 AM

I live my life with the assumption that I have time to save for retirement, that I will live to be 90, that my kids will outlive me. I live in denial.

I would hate to have the perspective the Edwards have on this choice. They lost their son, Wade, in an instant. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for them to cope with that loss and live again. Then they dealt with Elizabeth's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. In between and around those events, life went on.

I am appalled at the shallowness of Leslie's column. If anyone has come to terms with both loss, and the potential loss, of a loved one, it is this family. I disagree with them on almost every political issue, but that's not what this is about. This decision is about how you live your life once you accept that you don't know whether you have 10 minutes or 30 years to go.

I aspire to the Edwards grace and love of every minute of whatever life holds.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 9:41 AM

Actually, I think I agree more with Leslie than with the rest of you. But for different reasons.

I really think it is horribly arrogant of Edwards to think that he *has* to run because he has some message and some work to do for the world - there are plenty of others in his party that have pretty much the same views, so if he doesn't run, then someone else will be implementing his ideas. *that's* why I think he should step out of the race.

Not that I love *him*, but Newt has said that if he can't find a candidate that he can vote for, he will make a run for it because he doesn't think his views are out there. If this is the case, then that might be a compelling reason for him to run.

But I don't think Edwards has so much new and different to say that he couldn't say in four or eight years, and he could spend this time with his wife and family. And the stress of the campaign, I imagine, in the BEST of times, is not easy. So who knows what kind of toll it could take on Elizabeth.

After my mom's first bout with cancer, her outlook, according to the docs, was incredibly good. She traveled the world, did what she wanted, then it came back (or perhaps never went away in the first place) and she spent every second of her days trying to fight it (and, eventually losing). I would think that treating the cancer would take a HUGE toll on Elizabeth (okay, so they treatable but not curable - do any of you know what treating cancer is like? It is usually very debilitating for an otherwise healthy person, one who probably doesn't have the energy for 18 hour a day campaigns - or even 5 hours a day for something else).

The whole thing didn't sit right with me. I just got the feeling that he wants to be president. And that is his ambition - but not because he has something to say, or anything, he just wants people to call him president. Not the most compelling reason to vote for him

And also, as has been alluded to above - what happens to his kids when he is working 27 hour days as president and his wife either can't care for them or isn't here anymore? Oh, wait, they can just be cared for by nannies? Cause he's rich? Right?

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 9:46 AM

I don't always agree with Leslie, but I'm with her on this one, though not quite from her angle.

If I found out I had terminal cancer, I'm pretty sure my husband would scale back on his work a bit, to help take care of me and to spend what little time we had left together. That whole "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health" deal, you know? I was surprised when he stayed in - he's only been officially on the campaign trail since the end of December and it's a long way to the primaries.

I'm also going to be a major cynic and wonder if John Edwards is using this to gain sympathy votes. You know - "I'm relatively young and handsome and I'm soldiering on and so is my dying wife so it shows you how dedicated I am to being the best president I can possibly be." Blah, blah, blah.

I always liked Elizabeth Edwards. The two of them seemed like an honest couple and as the article in the Post noted last week, she seemed accessible and normal. I was not always a fan of her husband as a political candidate, but I can only wish her the best in what must be a trying time.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | March 26, 2007 9:46 AM

If I was in Mrs. Edwards' situation, I'd prefer to have as normal a life as possible for as long as possible. If that meant being on the campaign trail with my spouse, so be it.

Posted by: Bob | March 26, 2007 9:47 AM

My mother was diagnosed in 1973 with breast cancer. At the time it was diagnosed, she underwent radical surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Due to circumstances at the time of surgery, she was given a 50/50 chance to live one or two years. She lived nearly 24 years. While her cancer and Elizabeth Edward's cancer are not 100% similar, to imply that Elizabeth should sit at home and waste away is absolute nonsense. Up until the time of her death in 1998, my mother had to undergo numerous tests and chemo regimens to continue to live. Due to her age, her body could not stand the stress of her last chemo regimen, and she died. While I did not agree with her undergoing her last chemo treatment, my mother always made the choice for herself. She went out fighting, and, I believe, went the way she wanted. Had she stopped treatments, she might have had a much longer and painful death than she did.

If going out on the campaign trail and stumping for your husband gives you life, energy and hope, then go for it! This diagnosis shortens her life span, but she may live for many, many years. Her cancer is incurable, but it can be lived with.

Posted by: Michelle | March 26, 2007 9:47 AM

She's spent a lot of years supporting her husband's career, and very likely does believe he's the best possible president. Why should she give up the life she's chosen and worked for any sooner than she absolutely has to? If you were in reach of something you had worked for for years, and found you were dying, and thought you had a chance to reach it, wouldn't you want to use your last breath seeking it? Or if you wouldn't, can't you at least empathize a little bit with someone who would?

Posted by: Nora | March 26, 2007 9:48 AM

"Why do women have such a hard time being appropriately demanding? When will our society allow women to place limits on our self-sacrifice? Why can't we, even when we are dying, say -- please do this for me?"

I'm appalled at the number of people who feel compelled to tell Elizabeth and John Edwards what their priorities "should" be.

Anyone tell Katie Couric to stay home while her husband was battling colon cancer?

Anyone suggest to Lynn Cheney that she stay home to take care of Dick? Or, for that matter, did anyone suggest to Dick that he might resign so he would be around to see his latest grandchild be born?

Anyone suggest to Molly Ivins--whose breast cancer returned 3 times--that she stop writing?

Then why would anyone have the temerity to question the wisdom of the decisions John & Elizabeth Edwards have made? Why is it so incredible to comprehend that their choices are wrong?

The only two certainties in life are death and taxes. We know we're going to die so what is wrong in trying to make the most of it?

Posted by: Corinne | March 26, 2007 9:50 AM

Elizabeth wants her husband to keep on going because:

1) They have a sense of duty to their country

2) She wants him to have something important in his life once she is gone

3) She wants to show her kids that life in fact goes on after the death of a special person


I think it's admirable to do what she is doing. She doesn't want to sit home and wait to die: SHE WANTS TO LIVE. Why would she want John to sit around miserable after she goes, when it's possible that he could be President? This is PRESIDENT- this is not like becoming a partner in a law firm.

I think she also has a much better perspective on this than any of us do- she has lost a child- she knows the suffering. She wants her family to live- not die along with her. Why would she want her legacy to be misery??

I am awe struck by her interviews. She's a strong and elegant woman who has a better grip on the meaning of life than most.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | March 26, 2007 9:51 AM

but the reality is, *he's* running for president, so ultimately, it's HIS decision, no matter what *she* says.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 9:51 AM

I don't think some of the posters here today understand what some candidates feel when choosing to run for President. Many presidential candidates have felt called by G*d- that this was their destiny. It takes a different kind of person to run for President- Edwards has always championed the every man- the little guy, etc. There isn't another Dem out there like him in this election.
Some are in it for power, some just feel a calling- I think Edwards has that calling (whether I would vote for him is another story)

Posted by: Poli Sci geek | March 26, 2007 9:57 AM

but the reality is, *he's* running for president, so ultimately, it's HIS decision, no matter what *she* says.
--------------------------------------
That is a lovely view of marriage.

Posted by: to atlmom | March 26, 2007 9:57 AM

She has the potential to, if only for a little while, achieve something great and go out in a blaze of glory. Can you imagine the awareness it would bring to lose a First Lady to cancer while in office? Were I terminal, and had such a chance to improve the lot of a large number of cancer sufferers, I would do anything I could to make sure a cure was being sought, and not covered up by big drug companies... I am almost certain the technology exists right now to fight/cure cancer- but like many things that are good, such as vehicles that do not need gasoline- they are probably squashed because someone would not be making billions of dollars if there was an alternative on the market... Perhaps the country needs a slap upside the head once again to unveil corruption and get the people motivated to seek change! It is finally starting to work with alternative energy- maybe soon with advances in medicine. While I do not see Edwards as president, I still feel Mrs Edwards can do a lot of good while in the spotlight.

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 10:00 AM

Geez -- not all cancer diagnoses are the same. Mrs. Edwards is smart enough and experienced enough to take this diagosis for what it is and not turn it into "I'm dying". She isn't so why go there.

I would question any mother going out on the campaign trail away from small kids. These are rich folk who can hire lots of people to take care of the kids but that's the part I can't imagine, being away from small kids for such a long time. But I can relate to the difficulty of having young kids when you're older and it is time to allow one or the other's career to move onto the fast track. We faced that and now I'm not working.

Anyway, the Edwards are capable and good people and they'll work this out. And since he doesn't have a chance of getting elected so then they can soon go back to being a family.

Posted by: soccermom | March 26, 2007 10:00 AM

I really think it is horribly arrogant of Edwards to think that he *has* to run because he has some message and some work to do for the world - there are plenty of others in his party that have pretty much the same views,

----------------------------------

Actually I think he is a bit more focused on the poor & a bit less on middle class entitlements. You may disagree with him - but I am sure the Edwards find the distinction meaningful.

Posted by: to atlmom | March 26, 2007 10:01 AM

I am heart broken that her cancer is back, but I admire both her and her husband for pushing forward with the campaign. Edwards is my personal favorite, partly because of Elizabeth's down to earth nature. I also think that she won't be separated from the children that much because they can just take them with them on the campaign and hire tutors.

Again, I am heart broken that it is back, but sometimes there are things in life that are bigger than one person and even bigger than one person's children. This is one of those things. Her children are going to lose their mother whether she campaigns or not, but at least they will get to see her be passionate about something that will affect a lot of people, possibly people in her situation who don't have as many resources.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 10:02 AM

I'm not digging how people are jumping to judge Leslie here. She didn't say "Elizabeth Edwards choice is wrong" she said "I would not make the same choice that Edwards made." Different choices different people. And I do think that the issue of societal pressure is an interesting one. Did Edwards make her decision based on pressure derived from our image of a political wife? There's probably no clear "yes" or "no". We all internalize societal expectations, but no one makes decisions based solely on them - we're people too.

Posted by: Rita | March 26, 2007 10:05 AM

It's not like she's got a disease like Peter Jennings' lung cancer, that killed him within weeks of his diagnosis. Her prognosis is good and as long as she's treated, the cancer is under control, at least for the time being. None of us can determine the future though; it may get worse and become uncontrolled, or it may go dormant.

Her and her husband have chosen not to let the cancer win and put their entire lives and dreams on hold to see what happens. I would like to think if it were me afflicted with an incurable disease, that I could do the same.

Posted by: John L | March 26, 2007 10:11 AM

... Leslie has made a good deal of $$$ arguing that people who can't help but comment

" I can't imagine not wanting to raise my own children"
" I just think children are better off being cared for by a parent at home"

... etc. are doing wrong by other women, not just making a comment on their own decision. I don't see how this standard does not apply to her today???

Posted by: but Rita | March 26, 2007 10:12 AM

Great Tim Mc Graw song applicable here.. "live like you were dying"... Get out there and LIVE!

Posted by: C.W. | March 26, 2007 10:15 AM

Why the attack on Leslie? My husband and I discussed this scenario last night and I told him how I would want to spend my last days with him and our children. Not to get into a political debate... but I find it odd John Edwards wants to waste time raising money when his wife's days are numbered and he has a 1% chance of winning. The man stands no chance against Obama or Clinton - and yet he is wasting precious time to not be with his wife. The family has untold millions to do whatever they want. How weird to spend it this way........

Posted by: annapolis mom | March 26, 2007 10:16 AM

None of us no how long this woman is going to live. She could die tomorrow. That campaign bus could run her over. Or she may live ten years. Or more likely with the isolated cancer she has she will live for 3 to 5 years. Mrs. Edwards clearly feels she has been doing the right things in raising her family and supporting her husband's career. Now that she knows she will not live into old age she has made no changes in her life. Clearly she has been living each day as if it may be her last.

Now, Leslie if you found out you had 3-5 years to live you would radically change your life. You would spend more time with your husband and children and demand your husband make changes in his career to meet your needs. Why not make these changes now. The kids are only going to be kids once. If your life is so miserable that you would completely change everything knowing it would end in five years then make the changes now, don't wait until your are terminally ill.

Posted by: Tessa | March 26, 2007 10:16 AM

Let's face it, Mrs. Edwards is a very unusual woman. Last week on his Countdown show, Keith Olbermann, a cynic if there ever was one, came close to crying as he recounted a conversation he had with Elizabeth Edwards.

As most people know, she lost a son in a car accident when he was 16. Olbermann said he got a call, quite out of the blue, from Mrs. Edwards a few years back. She said she just wanted to tell him she enjoyed watching him on TV because she and her late son always watched Olbermann when he anchored Sports Center on ESPN with Dan Patrick. She told him that seeing Olbermann on TV now always brought back fond memories of sitting with her boy.

Olbermann said, straight out, "Who would have the grace and generosity to call someone and tell them that?"

Posted by: Jack | March 26, 2007 10:18 AM

Why not make these changes now. The kids are only going to be kids once. If your life is so miserable that you would completely change everything knowing it would end in five years then make the changes now, don't wait until your are terminally ill.

Posted by: Tessa | March 26, 2007 10:16 AM


GREAT points Tessa!! Leslie, why are your kids only deserving of your time (and not your and your husband's careers)when you're dying?

A close friend of my family's was literally hit by a bus- I'm not kidding. In New York- she was on her way to the office at 6am- and she had an infant at home with the nanny. She was killed crossing the street. She never saw her son walk, talk, won't see him grow up. If she knew that she were going to be killed that day I highly doubt she would have kept on working. Who would?

Maybe that should put your choices in perspective

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 10:23 AM

I have to disagree with the whole premise that she should stay at home and die out of public view. My sister-in-law worked for as long as she could before cancer treatments left her disabled. It provided meaning to her life to continue contributing just as she had before the diagnosis. Did the incredible Marjorie Williams quit working? Nope. Why should Elizabeth Edwards?

Posted by: Piling on | March 26, 2007 10:23 AM

husband and I discussed this scenario last night and I told him how I would want to spend my last days with him and our children.

----------------------------------------

days and years are different.

Posted by: to annapolis mom | March 26, 2007 10:25 AM

but I find it odd John Edwards wants to waste time raising money when his wife's days are numbered and he has a 1% chance of winning. The man stands no chance against Obama or Clinton - and yet he is wasting precious time to not be with his wife.

-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------

I candidate can make a significant difference just by running.

I think in many ways we had Ross Perot to thank for our formerly balanced budget.

If Edwards gets other candidatest to address the poor and healthcare, he can make a difference whether or not he wins.

Posted by: to annapolis mom | March 26, 2007 10:27 AM

Title of post: Elizabeth Edwards, Political Wife

Number of times "Elizabeth Edwards" or "she" or "her" (referring to E.E.) is used: 19

Number of times "I", "me", "my," or "mine" (referring to author) is used: 26

Geez.

Posted by: Statistician | March 26, 2007 10:29 AM

To but Rita:
And aren't we perpetuating that viewpoint and environment by refusing to be merciful? Do you think that we, on this blog of all places, could create a safe place to talk about things simply by being charitable and trying to give the opposing viewpoint the benefit of the doubt?

Traditionally, it's considered a good rhetorical tactic to state your opponent's view in the strongest and most charitable way possible -- that way, your condemnation of that opinion will have the most weight.

I just think that intentionally misrepresenting and flattening out someone's assertions for the purpose of argument is foul play. But then, that's probably a reason why I shouldn't post here.

Posted by: Rita | March 26, 2007 10:30 AM

Leslie has gotten a lot of criticism today from voicing a very understandable sentiment that is she were dying, she would not want to spend her time on the campaign trail, but would rather spend her time with her family. And a lot of folks have come back and said that it is Elizabeth Edwards' (EE) decision to do this, that it is her dream too, etc, and that she should not be criticized for making her choice. I feel ambivalent about her choice. On the one hand, yes, all power to her, for having the guts and grace and stamina to look at this serious and probably fatal illness and decide to still continue with the campaign, against all odds. And the other part of me thinks of the little children she has, and how she is failing them by deciding to continue the campaign rather than devote herself to them in these last years. I think they are about 9 and 7 years old (give or take). They will lose their mother to their father's campaign, and then they will lose her again, in a more final way. And if their father does win the presidency, they will lose their father to work, at least temporarily.

A lot of memories are formed in those early days of childhoood, and having lost my father at a young age, I know that kids memories of their deceased parents are tenuous, especially if they are very young when the parents die. If I were in EE's place, I would be focused on living a life with these kids that will leave them with a legacy of memories, which they will carry with them even after she dies. She may not have a lot of time to do this. She owes these kids something, and right now, I think she owes them her time, because she will never be able to make up for it later. I find it hard to believe that she is willing to deny them all the time with their mother that is possible, even if it is for the good of the country. Perhaps I am selfish, but I would never let my sense of duty to another ideal supercede my sense of duty to my child. I just can't fathom that.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 10:32 AM

"Why do women have such a hard time being appropriately demanding? When will our society allow women to place limits on our self-sacrifice? Why can't we, even when we are dying, say -- please do this for me?"

What's to say that THIS wasn't Elizabeth's demand, not her sacrifice? I have known people who have chosen to continue working after a terminal diagnosis -- not because they financially had to, but because getting up every morning and going to work with people was a far better choice for them, emotionally and spiritually, than sitting at home waiting to die.

A better topic for the "On Balance" column might have been how this new diagnosis might impact the choices Mrs. Edwards makes in balancing her home life and her political life, and how ordinary, non-famous families find balance in similar situations.

Posted by: Northern Girl | March 26, 2007 10:32 AM

I have 2 thoughts: the Edwards' had 2 children long after normal child-bearing age when they could have adopted and now they chose to live their lives on the campaign trail. Who will raise these childen? Secondly, I would think that being around crowds of stranger while receiving any form of cancer treatment would be a risk to Mrs. Edwards immune system. Do you really think that they've thought this through? Or is it, as many other people have commented, political ambition and power are stronger than we, non-political people understand? Regardless of the ultimate outcome, it is their lives and I wish nothing but good luck, a good long life and God's blessing.

Posted by: Karen | March 26, 2007 10:33 AM

if I found out I were dying, I'd want to spend every second I had with my children.

What makes Leslie think they'd want to spend every moment with her? Children process dying, death and grief differently from adults, with briefer but more intense periods of emotion. Children don't want to be around the dying person non-stop, even if the dying person wants that. Children still need to be children, need to go to school, play with friends, spend time by themselves. Children need as normal a life as possible. Leslie's just being selfish saying she'd take this away from them if she were dying.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 10:35 AM

I think the anger towards Leslie is from her attempt to make Elizabeth Edwards's decision into some meta statement on the subjugation of women, solely based on how she (Leslie) would feel in that situation. As others have pointed out, from the things Leslie has written on this blog, it's apparent that she has a very different relationship with her husband than that between Elizabeth and John Edwards. Not better, not worse, just different. And it's not really fair to judge Elizabeth Edwards through that prism.

Posted by: To Rita | March 26, 2007 10:35 AM

I had a breast cancer scare less than a year ago- what kept me sane & strong and my family going (I have been married almost 30 years and we have 3 daughters & a granddaughter) was my decision to live my life as normally as possible...to do all the things I had always done & had planned on doing-
I completely understand Elizabth's decision to live her life-
If, as some have suggested- she should spend every moment of her time with her husband & children- what does that mean- in practical terms?
I know what that would mean to me- it would mean that my disease would be the centerpiece - in the 'spotlight' of my family's life- 24 hours a day. That is not a memory that I would want to leave my family.
I would like to think if my diagnosis had been different, that I could act as Elizabth has done.I do know I would have done all I could do to keep the cancer from winning and putting my family's lives and dreams on hold.


Posted by: Joan | March 26, 2007 10:36 AM

Leslie,

I suggest that you quit your job immediately and start focusing on staying home with your husband and children, wallowing in self-pity at the thought that one day you will die.

I cannot believe the busybodies who are chiming in with "in her place, I would...". Well, you are not in her place, and you have no business telling other people how to live their lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 10:38 AM

If you want to know why women aren't in positions of power, just come here. We'd rather pick at each other and pick apart their life choices. Why is my husband at the head of the pack? Because right now he is WORKING, not yapping about how Bob next door just got a lawn service or new crown moulding.

Posted by: why women don't rule | March 26, 2007 10:38 AM

As someone who has had cancer, and is now in remission, I can tell you that my perspective on this is very different from Leslie's. I was diagnosed at 36 with melanoma. Fortunately it was caught early and I am 6 months away from being considered "cured" - for the time being. My chances of a recurrence are about 100% since the first occurrence came so early. I could easily have decided that this diagnosis was a death sentence and just given up on life...instead, I plan to live a long, long life with plenty of doctor visits to make sure that happens.

To judge Elizabeth Edwards for her decision to keep living and keep moving forward is misguided. She and her husband have an opportunity to use her illness as a springboard for change instead of sitting at home waiting to die. She has an opportunity to be with her husband and family on the campaign trail, supporting them and working to achieve their collective dream. This *is* what she wants to do - how can Leslie or anyone else say she should do otherwise?

Posted by: Living With Cancer | March 26, 2007 10:39 AM

To 9:57:

Actually, my dh and I talked about it and he was completely amazed by j. Edwards decision. He just couldn't believe it-so yes, in the end it is his namne one the ballot and he is running. He could have said (privately) to her, I know you still want me to run, but I couldn't do it emotionally, but he did not.

And his supposed sticking up for the little guy doesn't seem to me to be genuine. His billions were made by ruining doctor's livelihoods based on pseudo science, I.e. Nothing provable.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 10:42 AM

Something that hasn't really been mentioned here, but should be: the Edwards's two youngest children stay with their mom and dad pretty much all the time. They have tutors, and they get to see their parents just about as much as the children of any working couple would. They also get to see parts of the country they might not otherwise visit, and get to learn what it truly means to fight for something you believe in. The kids aren't staying in Chapel Hill with a nanny for weeks on end.

Posted by: wmss | March 26, 2007 10:42 AM

It's not a matter if Edwards withdrawing his bid for the democratic nomination, the question is, when will he? Good for Elizabeth for letting the political money machine the candidate depend on for making the decision. Throwing in the towel right now would make the democrats look weak for quitting, but as reality sets in and public opinion changes to accept this reality, I expect the Edwards' camp to graciously nod out. I give it 4 to 6 months.

Posted by: When should he put a fork in it? | March 26, 2007 10:45 AM

By all means then get out and start an awareness campaign for pancreatic cancer but please stop being so bitter about the attention breast cancer gets.

Tragically about 30,000 people a year are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and most will die withing a year. This disaese does discriminate by age and most often strikes people between the ages of 60-80. Check out these horrifing statistics at pancreatca.org.

Also tragically about 179,000 women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer. About 40,000 women will die from the disease each year. And yes this number is improving all the time but still it is a lot of people. Check out these horrifing statistics at the American Cancer Society's website.

There seems to be know reason to become enraged because people are fighting so hard to cure breast cancer. Also survivors are a big part of the campaign. Clearly motivated to work hard to find a cure to help themselves and others. Alas, there are almost no pancretic cancer surviors. You feel passionate start a campaign be that voice. But do not begrudge the breast cancer movement.

Posted by: To 9:33 | March 26, 2007 10:45 AM

For getting your real agenda out there: "His billions were made by ruining doctor's livelihoods based on pseudo science, I.e. Nothing provable."

First off, were you on any single one of those juries? Not a chance, given that you're in Atlanta. Second of all, how about saving the cheap (false) political shots for talk radio, and letting us continue the so-far courteous debate we're engaged in here?

Posted by: Thanks, atlmom | March 26, 2007 10:51 AM

"Edwards's two youngest children stay with their mom and dad pretty much all the time. They have tutors, and they get to see their parents just about as much as the children of any working couple would."

Actually, I did not know this. This does make me feel better about her commitment to her kids. I was thinking that they were at home with a nanny while the parents traveled. If this is not the case, then I withdraw my earlier comment.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 10:51 AM

Emily, you've done a really good job of not hogging the blog lately. Keep it up.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 10:53 AM

"The man stands no chance against Obama or Clinton - and yet he is wasting precious time to not be with his wife."

Everyone does not live in liberal land. Some people hate Hillary because they think she does not stand a chance and if she gets the nomination will only secure another republican president.

Posted by: to annapolis mom | March 26, 2007 10:54 AM

I can't help but comment that if I found out I were dying, I'd want to spend every second I had with my children and husband.

Again, Leslie reveals her resentment of her husband not spending more time with her and the kids. Her despair is that nothing short of her having a terminal illness will keep him home more. If all else fails, just guilt the guy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 10:58 AM

Emily, you've done a really good job of not hogging the blog lately. Keep it up.

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 10:53 AM

How rude! C'mom Emily - give us your best shots.

Posted by: DC lurker | March 26, 2007 10:59 AM

Call me sexist all you want, but I have to nominate the following by Why Women Don't Rule for post of the day:

If you want to know why women aren't in positions of power, just come here. We'd rather pick at each other and pick apart their life choices. Why is my husband at the head of the pack? Because right now he is WORKING, not yapping about how Bob next door just got a lawn service or new crown moulding.

LMAO- it may not be entirely accurate, as there are MANY women in positions of power- but they do tend to drag themselves back down getting into "assertive" discussions when a male would have long ago settled for an 80% fix, if only to take action and work for something that would lead to the most desirable outcome.

Maybe Mrs. Edwards seeks to bring balance to her life and marriage by pressing on and supporting her husband. I know when I had a near death experience I wanted to go strong and not go dwelling on impending doom. If she is going how she wants- active and positive, then more power to her. If on the other hand there is more going on behind the scenes and she is putting on a mask only for the public, then I feel sorry for her- but I will not presume to judge her for how she chooses to deal with cancer.

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 10:59 AM

Thanks, wmss, for pointing out the younger Edwards kids travel with their parents. I guess all those folks who are assuming the kids were stuck back home with nannies were basing it on what they'd do themselves if they had the money. :)


Posted by: nan | March 26, 2007 11:00 AM

Emily, you've done a really good job of not hogging the blog lately. Keep it up.

Don't egg me on, whoever you are. Rest assured that I will post as frequently or infrequently as suits me, regardless of your opinion or preference. In fact, you only provoke me to post more often by harrassing me, but if that is what you are looking for, no skin off my nose.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 11:00 AM

Hooray for Mrs. Edwards! I'm sending her husband a donation today because they BOTH want to continue.

BTW: I saw Geraldine Ferraro on one of the Sunday shows...she's in a similar boat to Elizabeth's. Her cancer is controlled. She looks great...and she says she's not dying...just yet.

Posted by: Bob in NY | March 26, 2007 11:02 AM

If you would rather live your life differently if you were dying, doesn't that imply that you aren't living the way you want to? I think Ms. Edwards has made a lot of people think about their own lives. How many are going to make the changes necessary to be happy in what they are doing every day? Not just getting by, but actually doing what they would be doing if told they had X number of days/months/years to live?

And I've always wondered about how people feel after they've been told they have a limited time left, so they drop everything to do what they have always wanted to do in life. Then, after having run out of money and other resources, were told they were in remission or cured?

Posted by: Working Dad | March 26, 2007 11:06 AM

"I guess all those folks who are assuming the kids were stuck back home with nannies were basing it on what they'd do themselves if they had the money. :) "

I think we are basing our assumptions on stereotypes. I have never considered what I would do in that situation because I just don't see myself being there.

But it makes absolute sense that the Edwards should travel with their kids and have them homeschooled. Money can solve a lot of problems.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 11:07 AM

Leslie said: "Go for it, Elizabeth -- I just hope John is holding your hand during every second of the campaign."

I did not see him holding her hand during the press conference nor during his "60 Minutes" interview last night.

John should be spending time with his wife, whatever time she has left, not out of town campaigning for President.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:07 AM

As someone with a Stage IV metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, I applaud Elizabeth for not letting cancer rule her life. Why should she? Is she sick right now? Obviously not. There is a good chance that she can beat back her bone metastases and live a good number of years.

I also chose to continue my career and live my life. Should I have done as Leslie suggests and quit my job to sit in the house and wait for cancer to take me? No thank you. I cherish every moment with my family, but I also want to go about my normal life for as long as I can.

For you to suggest that Elizabeth Edwards should just fold up her tent and go home, instead of fighting to make this country a better place, shows an ignorance of metastatic cancer and how many people are living with it. I know people who have beat back bone mets and are still alive and kicking, 10 years after their diagnosis.

Good for Elizabeth.

Posted by: Lee | March 26, 2007 11:08 AM

* ...This does make me feel better about her commitment to her kids. * Emily.

What a relief! Emily feels better. We can now all proceed with our lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:09 AM

What a relief! Emily feels better. We can now all proceed with our lives.

Yes, please, proceed. Now that I feel better, I grant you permission.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 11:16 AM

Although I think I would make a different decision, I can respect Mrs. Edwards. She is looking at the big picture and it takes a lot of guts to continue with the campaign. I would rather spend that time with my daughter and husband. But that is me.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 26, 2007 11:17 AM

How about NCSU's women's basketball coach Kay Yow? She was diagnosed with a reoccurrence of breast cancer this season, but managed to continue to coach her team through her treatments and into the NCAA Tournament, even though the disease and treatments are taking their toll.

Even though the team lost this weekend, her players all said that they learned a lot about sacrifice, perseverence and courage by seeing her on the sidelines every day. Some here apparently think she should have just gone home to wait for death to knock on her door.

Posted by: John L | March 26, 2007 11:19 AM

With all due respect, you have no idea how you would feel if you, god forbid, received the terrible news Elizabeth Edwards got. No one really knows how she/he would react in any given life changing event. I wish Elizabeth Edwards and her family the best.

Posted by: worker, wife & mother | March 26, 2007 11:20 AM

Put me in the camp with those who are once again impressed and inspired by Elizabeth Edwards. If you understand where life has taken her and her husband, their decision to continue the campaign is not surprising.

After the tragic death of their teenage son, they entered public service in tribute to their son and to make their work to improve the world Wade's legacy. Edwards' trial work was always on behalf of those who were vulnerable or victimized by larger forces. After Wade's death, they thought political action would allow them to make a greater, positive impact because they could influence the public policies that left people vulnerable in the first place. If you read Elizabeth's book, Wade was an especially thoughtful and compassionate young man. She talks about him coming home from school one day and telling her how he noticed that kids whose papers were written on a computer and printed seemed to get better grades. He recognized that the kids who couldn't afford computers at home were being penalized simply by the look, not the substance, of their work. After he died, the Edwards' created a computer center at the school so that all the kids would have an equal chance to excel and be recognized at school for their work.

In short, the Edwards' poliitical life is driven by more than just the usual desire to good in the world-- it's their way of honoring their son, the kind of person he was, and creating the kind of world he and his parents believed in.

Posted by: Nancy Drew | March 26, 2007 11:22 AM

I look at my aunt, who, when her DH was diagnosed with what we thought was a stroke, and then found out was a brain tumor, basically told the people at work that she was going to stay with her husband until he was better - or, as happened, he passed away (after only a few months). She went right back to work after that (for only a couple of years), but she wanted him to be comfortable and be the one to take care of her.
It would just seem that they don't know what will happen, and it would seem to me, more likely that he would have to have the phone call with her that went something like this: oh, sorry honey, can't be there tonight for you after today's chemo cause i have an important speech.
Certainly ,it's their decision to make, but if he can't be 100% committed to it (and I don't think I could, knowing a loved one might be going through something like what his DW is), then there's little possiblity he would ever win. Even if he had a good chance now, which he doesn't.
I certainly understand both sides (he thinks he has something to say, they want to 'keep on living') but the likelihood is there that he would have to make incredibly difficult choices (like people saying: i gave you a lot of money, we're counting on you!). and then not being able to be there if she needs him - it is almost 2 years before the election.
And if by some miracle he DOES win - she wouldn't see him much for four years - what happens then if it comes back and she has a need for him?

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 11:25 AM

I too have breast cancer and have lost a son.To all you neo cons you were never going to vote for Edwards anyway so why make this a political debate? AND Guliani has cancer too so what is your advice to him?Just drop dead or is it different for a man?

Posted by: Concerned | March 26, 2007 11:26 AM

I wonder if today's comments would be the same if she were campaigning for herself rather than for her husband.

Would people still be saying that she should be home with family, or would she be praised for continuing under less than ideal conditions?

Posted by: Anon today | March 26, 2007 11:26 AM

I can't imagine how depressing it would be to give in, shut down and wait to die--and to do that in the company of my loving family. Better to spend as much time as possible, with them, but doing positive, forward-looking things. We have no idea what will happen in Elizabeth's life but I'm thrilled that she wants to live until she dies. What a wonderful message she is sending to her children--and to us.

Posted by: Vermont | March 26, 2007 11:27 AM

Isn't Edwards one of the only candidates running who is still married to his first wife? I think there's only one (Romney) on the Republican side who is.

And then there's Gingrich, who told his wife he wanted a divorce as she was in the hospital for cancer treatment...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:30 AM

Hi everyone -

I agree with Working Mom X -- "this is Elizabeth Edwards' dream, too." I also agree, in many ways, that EE is very courageous and has a huge heart.

I don't judge her decision...but her decision raises a bigger, more profound question for women everywhere making choices about how much we sacrifice for others: why do women have such a hard time putting ourselves first? Why is this so easy for men to do? Why do we feel "selfish" when we say -- hey, this is what I need right now? This is the piece that is totally unbalanced here.

Posted by: Leslie | March 26, 2007 11:30 AM

Boy I'm glad to see there are a lot of people respectfully disagreeing with Leslie here. And I do too. This has nothing to do with a man-woman relationship or the roles either play in a marriage. It is far simpler than that. The Edwards have learned through their previous battle with Elizabeth's cancer (and probably throught he death of their son) that imminent death changes nothing about the decisions you make as to how you should "live your life" if you are honest with yourself about how you are living your life in the first place. They've both chosen this goal and a life on the campaign trail as their life. Dying in 6 months or six years doesn't change that. I don't think either of them would want the disease to change the course of what they spent their lives trying to accomplish. Too many of us live in hope of the life we would like to live instead of just living it.

Posted by: gotta coment | March 26, 2007 11:32 AM

to anon today:

actually, if it were *her* campaigning, I think I might have a different idea.
BUT it is *his* campaign, and ultimately, *he* is making the decision, which, certainly, is a decision that affects his whole family.
But it seems like a very different decision. I'm going to push on, no matter what the obstacles. Even if I have to leave my dying wife cause I have a campaign speech that night. Even if she is just not feeling well, and I have a fundraiser. Even if - a zillion things come up, and I can't be by her side cause she is in the hospital.
It's more, I think, to me, that he can't give 100% to both things. Running for president is a HUGE committment, in addition to for the candidate, for the candidate's family - and many many people who work for you, volunteer for you, etc. And the stakes are HUGE. and now the probability for him is that he might have to drop out cause his wife gets sicker.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 11:33 AM

Elizabeth will probably die within the next few years. Who wants that going into the White House? John will come to his senses soon enough. I think Leslie is a little ahead of her time with her opinion, but that's what I expect from a Harvard grad.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:33 AM

I'm surprised at Leslie's comments. Personally, I cannot imagine what they are going through but I think their choice sounds like a good one for them and their family and I hope it is what I would chose to do if I were in their shoes. Life is for living.

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 26, 2007 11:36 AM

But Leslie, maybe EE said, "I need to make this campaign happen. This is my life's work, and I won't let cancer get the best of me." Imagine for a second that it's not a sacrifice--because that's what EE has told us. It's not a sacrifice; it's her life's work. I'm so proud of EE. She's terrific and she's changing the world.

Posted by: gretchen | March 26, 2007 11:37 AM

No one seems to take into account that this is the second time they are facing this disease. Elizabeth Edwards had breast cancer. Her husband stayed with her, was there for the children. He did not work, he did not campaign. He took her to chemo, he was there afterschool, when she was tired. Her book and interviews are a testament to how present her husband was.

Now, it is back and they are trying something different. They are in a different situtation. The treatments are differnt, the chance to campaign, influence the debate in the country is different. This makes sense to me. For all long cna they let this disease dictate their lives?

Posted by: Sally | March 26, 2007 11:37 AM

Leslie, I think that's the point many of us disagree with you about: that Elizabeth Edwards's decision raises any of those questions at all. Those might be important questions for us to ask in a general sense, but not as a result of Elizabeth's decision, because all indications are that *this* is what she asked her husband to do for her. It's simply not true to imply that Elizabeth is failing to put herself first.

Posted by: to Leslie | March 26, 2007 11:38 AM

The problem with the family making what decision "is best for them" and supporting Elizabeth Edwards in her bravery, is that their actions have the potential to impact 300 million people, and many, many more.

I can't believe that Edwards could be a completely focused president if he were mourning his deceased wife or watching her decline. While neither of these possibilities are guaranteed, either one is certainly very possible, or even likely. Therefore, I think he should withdraw his candidacy - not to be a good husband, but because of his responsibility to his potential constituents.

Posted by: Jennifer | March 26, 2007 11:38 AM

Why do we feel "selfish" when we say -- hey, this is what I need right now?

LEslie, EE is not being some kind of self-sacrificing martyr. She's being "selfish" in the best sense of the word, continuing to do what she really truly believes in for as long as she possibly can. And who's to say that if her DH has a campaign event on an evening when she's not well enough to attend, that she might not actualkly *prefer* to rest up by herself for a few hours instead of having him stay home and hover over her? Sometimes, when a person's sick, the last thing they feel like doing is having to entertain a well-intentioned relative or friend.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:41 AM

Chris, crawl back under that rock, boy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:44 AM

I find Leslie's questions to be very compelling. I have a neighbor who is a sahm. She has three little ones (all 6 and under) and one on the way. She is a very accomplished and intelligent women, as well as a great mom. Her husband on the other hand is, ahem, a different story. He makes an almost decent living for them, ie, they have to be incredibly frugal to get by, and I think they are just barely making it. And even with his not so well paid government job, he insists that he must work long hours, so he is out of the house from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm (I wonder what he does those long hours. I know most fed jobs don't make you work so hard at a grade 9 salary). He does not cook, do laundry, or help with the kids (AT ALL). He refuses to look for a better job, so that they can be less stressed financially. I know all this because my neigbor complains about him. From what she tells me about the guy, I can't figure out why she continues to have children with him, or why she does not put her foot down and insist that he help her more at home. For example, he does not take any time off when the children are born (other then for the actual couple days after the birth). So she goes home straight to taking care of the children and all if its related duties straight after the hospital. No reprieve.

I just don't get it. I know that there is a religious aspect to their decision for her to stay at home and bear children. They are very observant Catholics. Maybe my faith in God isn't strong enough, but there is no way I would be having more children with that guy, even if I felt obligated to stay with him for the sake of the kids. She is smart, and educated, and I have no doubt that if she were in the workforce, she could make a pretty decent living. But she can't work with so many little ones at home. I see her as pretty strong willed, but I don't understand why she can't stand up to her husband and make him do his part. Or at least stop having children with him.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 11:45 AM

I didn't read all the comments, but many of them seem to say the same thing: her prognosis is not a permission slip to chill at home in bed. She's a grown woman, and I'm sure she knows how to listen to her body. If she feels well and can be a credit to whatever cause or occupation she chooses, how about NOT second-guessing her? This is why women have a hard time banding together; we spend too much time tearing each other down. It's true that Edwards has children, but it's safe to say they are grown and don't need her at their side constantly; instead, they are mature enough to respect and admire her for the strong woman she is.

If I were dying, I'd want to see the world, not lay at home in bed. To each her own!

Posted by: Mona | March 26, 2007 11:46 AM

atlmom wrote "But it seems like a very different decision. I'm going to push on, no matter what the obstacles. Even if I have to leave my dying wife cause I have a campaign speech that night. Even if she is just not feeling well, and I have a fundraiser. Even if - a zillion things come up, and I can't be by her side cause she is in the hospital"

from wapo 03/23:

'Though Edwards said he expects his wife to be with him on the campaign trail when she can, he also added, "Any time any place that I need to be with Elizabeth, I will be there, period."'

Note that she will be with him on the campaign trail 'when she can' and he will be with her when he needs to. I have not seen anything to suggest that he is abandoning her for the sake of the campaign.

Posted by: Anon today | March 26, 2007 11:46 AM

You're voting for somebody JUST BECAUSE their wife has cancer? Excuse me? That's the dumbest excuse I've ever heard. Sure, go on and send more and more money to multi-millionaire Edwards. I'm sure he really needs the money. Ever see that palatial compound he lives in?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:47 AM

* The last place on Earth I would want to be would be on the campaign trail, smiling, doing my best to look healthy and vibrant for television cameras. * That's you, not her. * However, I can't help but comment that if I found out I were dying, I'd want to spend every second I had with my children and husband. And I'd surely hope he felt the same way about me. That would be my only balance in what would inevitably be a dreadful, chaotic, painful, medicated decline. No matter how much I adored my husband or how passionately I supported his dreams. * This only reveals how selfish and self-absorbed you are: me, poor little sick me first! And by the way, no one has asked you for your opinion on Elizabeth Edwards* decision. Nor should anyone do so. Whatever motivates her is none of your business.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:48 AM

We are not walking in her moccasins. Mrs. Edwards and her husband have made their decision about running for office. It is a given that they will not let the children feel neglected, they had the two little ones after losing one of the older two, so evidently, being parents is a high priority. Sen. Edwards feels he has some things to offer our country in the way of leadership. His wife has offered her complete support to his aspirations. None of us really knows how we would react in a similar situation. I wish her
the very best of luck in her fight against her illness

Posted by: Steubenville, OH | March 26, 2007 11:50 AM

To all those people who don't want to know people's opinions on EE or whatever the subject may be. Yoohoo!! This is a blog. People opine here. That's what it's for. If you don't want to hear the opinions, go somewhere else. No one is forcing you to be here.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Emily - My thought on your friend, because I have some of those too, is that a lot happens between 6pm and 11 pm that either makes or breaks a marriage that we don't see.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 26, 2007 11:53 AM

And his supposed sticking up for the little guy doesn't seem to me to be genuine. His billions were made by ruining doctor's livelihoods based on pseudo science, I.e. Nothing provable.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 10:42 AM

Have you read the court transcripts of all the cases resulting in plaintiff judgements and jury awards for his cliets? Or you can read his telling of some of them in his book. They will break any reasonable persons heart. In some of his cases the defendants were physicians, in many the defendant was a business/corporation.

Every person who has ever been injured deserves his or her day in court. And the system is both fair enough and run well enough to keep the most of the frivolous lawsuits out of the courts. Unfortunately, you cannot get a good picture of what is happening inside of our courts with respect to personal injury sby reading only about the cases that are reported on in the media.

Posted by: past plaintiff | March 26, 2007 11:53 AM

The problem with the family making what decision "is best for them" and supporting Elizabeth Edwards in her bravery, is that their actions have the potential to impact 300 million people, and many, many more.

By your logic, President Ford should have resigned (or been impeached?) when Betty was diagnosed with BC in 1974, back when there were far fewer treatment options and a much higher mortality rate. Fortunately, Mrs. Ford got what was state-of-the-art treatment back then, recovered and is still alive 32+ years later. ANY President's spouse or child can get sick or die. Lincoln had a son die while he was in office. So did Coolidge. In living memory for some of us, the Kennedys had an infant son die, which presumably depressed them. All were terrible personal tragedies, but they didn't disqualify any of these presidents from remaining in office. Life is simply like this sometimes. And the Edwardses know this more than most families, owing to the death of their teenaged son. If anyone doesn't like their decision to proceed that much, thenjust don't vote for him. But don't try to stop others. Even conservative commentator and BC survivor Laura Ingraham (who suffered similar snark during her illness) has come out in support of EE's decision, and we all know it's not because of agreeing with EE politically. Some things just transcend partisanship.

Posted by: To jennifer | March 26, 2007 11:54 AM

Hey Emily, don't you have anything better to do than nosing around other people's lives? What makes you think that anyone is interested in your rantings about your neighbor*s husband? Who cares? You must be the gossipy neighbor from hell. Do you spend your days hiding behind your curtains so you can monitor everything that goes on in your neighborhood? Do you forage into your neighbors* garbage to get your hands on some of their personal information?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:55 AM

Re: the relative research effort for pancreatic and breast cancer. Increasingly, the findings in one area of cancer research have implications for another.

Posted by: rosebud | March 26, 2007 11:57 AM

Shut up already. We get that you don't like her. Can you add anything worthwhile to this blog or are you just going to keep running you mouth.

Posted by: to March 26, 2007 11:55 AM | March 26, 2007 11:58 AM

Emily - My thought on your friend, because I have some of those too, is that a lot happens between 6pm and 11 pm that either makes or breaks a marriage that we don't see.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 26, 2007 11:53 AM


Yes, moxiemom, I understand that. I don't think that anyone outside a marriage really knows what it's like. It's just that she complains so much. I don't know what to say to her. I don't voice my real opinion because what possible good would it do? I just nod and sympathize and try to be supportive. But a part of me just wants to tell her to stop being such a doormat.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 11:58 AM

You're voting for somebody JUST BECAUSE their wife has cancer?

And you're voting AGAINST somebody for the same reason?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 11:58 AM

I think I see Leslie's point....at some point don't we all have to slow down and stop and smell the roses? And getting cancer, and in this case her second round of it, should make you pause and evaluate what do you really want to do with your days. When I saw the Edwards' press conference I thought their positive outlook was great and showed much strength but something made me think are they being too optimistic about this? I imagine they are putting up a brave front and dealing with all the difficult emotions that come with this privately. I would have been even more impressed by them if they said "you know, we don't know what's going to happened and we're scared." That's human and there's nothing wrong with saying that.

If you reach a certain point where the cancer has spread significantly, the treatment focus shifts from curing the cancer to simply making you as comfortable as possible. You don't just give up and die but you have become at peace with your life and what you are dealing with. In this competitive world we live in, how bad does an illness have to get before you can drop out of the rat race and just enjoy the rest of your life in peace?

Posted by: BTmama | March 26, 2007 12:00 PM

John Edwards was my senator awhile back and I must say I liked him better than the man he replaced or the woman who replaced him. I was disappointed when he left the Senate to run for President, but I "got over it." My admiration for Edwards has grown over the years.

Elizabeth Edwards has said she wants him to continue his campaign because she believes he would make an honest President who has the concerns of the American people, rather than lobbyists and other multi-millionaires, foremost in his thoughts. She wants her legacy to be whatever contribution she can make to better government. I don't think she is cynical; I think she's a true believer.

For those of you saying Edwards can't beat out Clinton or Obama, I'd counsel you to go back and read American history. No one thought Abraham Lincoln had a chance either.


Posted by: B. K. Bird | March 26, 2007 12:00 PM

11:44 wtf? Just providing some balance here. I would hope that if anything my post helped people realize that some people, not just women, are too overly critical of the decisions of others. Their whole lives pass them by and all they have done is critique someone else. Perhaps if we lived a bit more instead of analyzing everything, some things would find balance on their own.

For instance, it was just determined that ANS died of accidental drug overdose. Now let it go and move on. There are currently 15 british sailors being interrogated by hostile Iranians- something that surprisingly does not get as much attention as I would have thought. Focus on public things that need focused on, and let people get on with their private lives.

Let Mrs. Edwards go in dignity how she wants- I do not think questioning her choice brings any balance, or empowerment to women, when so often this column is about giving women a right to choose how to conduct themselves. The irony is that the same champion of breast-feeding at the head of a board meeting is against the choice of a woman to live a public life and set an example to her children and others to not give up despite termal cancer. Maybe a question would be- how would you balance your life when faced with a terminal disease?

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 12:03 PM

I don't have much respect for a man who runs around playing hero while his wife dies from cancer.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:03 PM

Emily - I don't think you should tell her that - it could ruin the friendship once she feels like you are judging her husband. Weird husband loyalty will kick in or she may feel like you are judging her. Either way, unless you are a really good, old friend - nod and be sympathtic. We can't fix everything.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 26, 2007 12:07 PM

Hey Meesh...back at you!

I was out walking the dog and all these reporters and news cameras were practically screaming into the neighborhood. Now that may be situation normal in some DC areas, but usually not here in Chapel Hill. That was how I discovered the news about Elizabeth. Along with Kay Yow, Elizabeth (plus John) is showing us how to live, not die, with a diagnosis of cancer. I have no doubt she first went home and hugged her kids. She then decided to live. What a wonderful role model!

Posted by: dotted | March 26, 2007 12:07 PM

I don't have much respect for a man who runs around playing hero while his wife dies from cancer.

She's not *dying* in the sense you mean. Her cancer is being managed. With luck and good medical care, she might live for years (not just weeks or months). So should both Edwardses just give up on life and their dearly-held views just because she has a chronic condition? By your logic, we should ban diabetics from politics too.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:08 PM

B.K. Bird. True, but if they had American Idol and Reality TV back then, nobody would have cared enough to vote for Lincoln to make sure he was elected. Today is more about buying what they feed you and doing what your party says (when you can be bothered), more than individual awareness or any desire for accountability and change.

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 12:08 PM

You don't just give up and die but you have become at peace with your life and what you are dealing with. In this competitive world we live in, how bad does an illness have to get before you can drop out of the rat race and just enjoy the rest of your life in peace?


Posted by: BTmama | March 26, 2007 12:00 PM

BTmama, They endures the loss of a teenaged son, reputedly one of the toughest events humans can experience, and not only kept their marriage together but became stronger in the process. It's fair to say that they already are at peace with their lives.

What you call enjoying your life, dropping out and laying around, isn't the same as EE enjoying EE's life -- her life is about her children, her husband, her interests and passions. She wants to enjoy her life. Let her, without imposing your vision of what her life should be.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:09 PM

So I'm gonna go a little OT - what would you do if you had 5 years to live? Go to Cairo, write a book, eat a lot, take a lover, meet Patrick Dempsey, take Patrick Dempsey as your lover?.... I'm going to have to think about my own answer to that - but I'd love to hear what others plans would be.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 26, 2007 12:15 PM

Leslie,
Mr and Mrs Edwards have some work to do. They want to accomplish something together before she must go. I admire them for going for what they want.
In 3 years, we might be able to cure her cancer. What do we know?

Posted by: D | March 26, 2007 12:15 PM

Moxiemom -- I wish a long and healthy life!

Posted by: Patrick Dempsey | March 26, 2007 12:17 PM

Hey Leslie, this is Elizabeth's life not yours. What you would want has nothing to do with what she wants so you are not justified in assuming that she hasn't been "appropriately demanding." Maybe the presidential campaign is her version of a blowout vacation or dream kitchen -- two projects that acquaintances of mine have undertaken during a terminal illness. Who needs a new kitchen or to see the world when you'll be dead anyway? Duh. It's not about waiting for death it's about making the most of life.

Posted by: Barbara | March 26, 2007 12:20 PM

Every person who has ever been injured deserves his or her day in court. And the system is both fair enough and run well enough to keep the most of the frivolous lawsuits out of the courts.

Posted by: past plaintiff | March 26, 2007 11:53 AM

oh, puulllllllease. Every plaintiff who perceives he is injured does not deserve his day in court. The system is not fair. We all pay for it through increased insurance costs which primarily go to increased litigation costs for doctors and hospitals. The defendant has to spend big $$$ to prove a frivolous lawsuit is frivolous.

past plaintiff, you can't be as naive as your post indicates. Plaintiff-side med mal lawyers are not known to be sensitive, caring types. They like class actions because they can earn much dinero and the actual class members get pennies.

Disclaimer: The above is not intended to apply to John Edwards, per se. I don't know anything about his law practice.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:21 PM

Patrick c'mon, I'm prety cute for a mom plus I've got loads of moxie!!

Posted by: moxiemom | March 26, 2007 12:21 PM

Lots of thoughts here. I hope you all won't mind if I post several messages to respond to some of the earlier thoughts.


Student Mom said: [However, as an eternal cynic, I wondered how long it would take former Sen. Edwards to contort the situation into an argument for universal health care (answer: 36 hours).]


You wouldn't have to have been paying a great deal of attention to know that Edwards was talking about universal health care--and making specific proposals about how to pay for it--long before this latest announcement re Elizabeth's breast cancer.

Most of the Democratic candidates, in fact, are talking about improving access to health care, reducing cost, and improving quality. The United States is not at the top of the heap when it comes to the availability and quality of health care--or in the health of its citizens. We need the discussion that these proposals are stimulating. Of course, to know enough about them to participate in the discussion, you have to pay attention to what's going on.

Posted by: THS | March 26, 2007 12:22 PM

If I were given 5 years to live, I would have to try to continue my life as I know it. I would work for as long as was possible (because the bills have to be paid). I would spend time with my family. I would probably not sweat the small stuff as much. I would probably be kinder and more forgiving. And like Art Buchwald, I would eat all the goodies I desired. I would some thoughts down for my son to read afterwards. I would make make a scrapbook for him (I guess I should do that then now). I would make my own funeral arrangements ahead of time. I would be very wise about the money I spent (which I try to do anyway). I would wake up early and watch the sun rise a few more times.

Another thing to add to my list of to do items. Thanks, moxiemom!!

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 12:23 PM

SOOO many comments.

We are all dying. We've all been dying since the day we were born. Life is a terminal disease afterall. I am struck that this is how she wants to spend the next few months. And, that she spends plenty of quality time with her kids and her husband. Life goes on, with or without us. Sure, she could sit at home waiting for death to take her. Or she could go on and live her life to the fullest with the time she has left, which by all accounts may be many years in full health.

Posted by: LM in WI | March 26, 2007 12:28 PM

Moxiemom -- you sound totally cute, even cuter than Ellen or Katherine, but I've really got my hands full with the twins! It's not you, it's me.

Posted by: Patrick Dempsey | March 26, 2007 12:29 PM

Elizabeth and John Edwards are political figures. They made the decision to keep on the campaign trail because it's the PC thing to do. What do you expect from a politician?

When it is no longer politically correct to stay on the campaign trail, they will bow out. They are just politicians trying to make the correct political decisions, nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:32 PM

If humor is permitted today, and if I start contemplating making a scrapbook for my son or daughter, I hope someone will put me out of my misery sooner rather than later, LOL.

I would stay up all night, with my kids, and watch the sun rise a few more times.

What the kids want most is time. I can't give them any more than fate will provide.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:32 PM

As someone who gets up at 4:40 everyday (well before the sun rises) I can tell you watching it is highly over rated. Give me an extra hour of sleep anytime. :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 26, 2007 12:34 PM

Mitt Romney's wife has been diagnosed with MS... should we disqualify him because she may require more support than other spouses. (Stress & fatigue can cause trouble for MS).

More seriously, do we know the recurrence rate for prostrate cancer? Should we look at what a recurrence for Guiliani would mean?

Ditto McCain on the recurrence potential + add the age issue. Does older than Reagan really warm any hearts?

I guess Gingrich is a good choice - since he dumped wife #1 with cancer & wife #2 with MS.

Bill has already had heart surgery...

Let's go Obama - last man standing???

Posted by: to Jennifer | March 26, 2007 12:34 PM

I think John Edwards should sue his wife's doctor, or at least her insurance company!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:35 PM

Patrick Dempsey - uh, oh, I know what that means. It's totally me. I'm going to go weep into my coffee and read O magazine to find my new direction. Is Vince Vuaughn or Jon Stewart here by chance???

Emily - I liked your post. Sometimes the good that comes from the bad is that we all get a chance to examine how we are living.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 26, 2007 12:36 PM

To moxiemom: You're setting the bar too high today ;-)

Posted by: catlady | March 26, 2007 12:38 PM

Today is more about buying what they feed you and doing what your party says (when you can be bothered), more than individual awareness or any desire for accountability and change.

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 12:08 PM

Chris, your comment says alot more about how you approach voting than it does about the American voting public. I don't know anyone buying what any party feeds her. I am sorry for you if you are beholden to the talking heads running the party to which you are registered.

Most voters vote for change and accountability. Whether or not that's prudent, and whether or not the candidate they select will actually provide change and be more accountable, is open to question.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:38 PM

In retelling the story of Keith Olbermann's conversation w/ Elizabeth Edwards, Jack reports that Olbermann said, "Olbermann said, straight out, "Who would have the grace and generosity to call someone and tell them that?"

Elizabeth Edwards has actually given a lot of thought to the issue of how the small things people do for each other make a difference in the world. Here's a link to a video of EE on the CBS Free Speech segment that was, briefly, part of the evening news after Katie Couric took over as anchor. Check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV_QKrSEves

She also wrote about this idea in her book, "Saving Graces". In particular, she talked about how the small, everyday interactions with people in her life---the mailman, the grocery store clerk, and others--and the kindness those people showed helped pull her back into life after the death of her soon.

Here's a link to several interviews with EE. Unfortunately, I didn't find a link to the hour-long interview that Tim Russert did on his Saturday evening show, but the other interviews give a good sense of her as a person.

http://blog.johnedwards.com/story/2006/10/22/2518/4325

Posted by: THS | March 26, 2007 12:38 PM

Emily,

I just think, personally, it is selfish when you know there are problems to keep having kids. I keep this thought to myself, though.

Because verbalizing it doesn't do anything.

BUT I am kind of annoyed by people who keep complaining and complaining about something and never DO anything about it. Yes, a friend is there to listen, but if all they want to do is complain, then I get tired very quickly. Either do something about it or don't, but don't wallow in it.
You could ask your friend things like: how does that make you fell? Or, you seem to be discussing the same issues over and over, do you need help finding a way to get some resolution? Do you want help to figure things out? If you're unhappy, do something about it.

I know it sounds cold - but some people want to just complain and complain and have you feel sorry for them. But I just feel sorry for the kids and look at people like that and think: well, if you're unhappy, stop complaining - and if you're happy being unhappy, then just be unhappy, don't bring me down.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 12:41 PM

Moxiemom -- you are rebound from me with Vince Vaughn or Jon Stewart? You can do better; please show a bit more respect to what we had...

(Sorry if this exchange is silly, but the whole Elizabeth Edwards situation is so devastatingly sad.)

Posted by: Patrick Dempsey | March 26, 2007 12:41 PM

"she talked about how the small, everyday interactions with people in her life---the
mailman"...

Let's not go there today.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:42 PM

Just a piece of personal history: One of my aunts had a double mastectomy in her 50s. She died in her early 80s.

She suffered, in her later years, from the effects of the radiation she received at the time of her treatment, but, goodness, that was the 1960s. Nobody gets that much radiation anymore, and there are lots of other better treatments available.

Posted by: THS | March 26, 2007 12:43 PM

As someone who watched her sister, a mother of 2 and only 25, die from terminal cancer, I have to say that you can NEVER know what you would do in such a situation and therefore can never and SHOULD NEVER judge someone else in such a situation. To be told by a doctor that your day is coming sooner than you would have ever thought is to have your world change completely and, therefore, you cannot know what you would.

If this is how Elizabeth wants to deal with her prognosis, it is obviously what is best for her. You can speculate all you want about how you would handle it, but you can't even comprehend what it is like to recieve that information, let alone deal with it. This is one situation where you really should not pass judgement.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:43 PM

Posted by: Steubenville, OH | March 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Hometown of Dean Martin!

Posted by: cmac | March 26, 2007 12:43 PM

Catlady - meow - thanks. If I can get the floors cleaned today too, then my dh will agree with you!

Patrick Dempsey - YOU let me go. I don't think you have a say anymore. Are you threated by the funnymen?

Posted by: moxiemom | March 26, 2007 12:45 PM

past plaintiff, you can't be as naive as your post indicates. Plaintiff-side med mal lawyers are not known to be sensitive, caring types. They like class actions because they can earn much dinero and the actual class members get pennies.

Disclaimer: The above is not intended to apply to John Edwards, per se. I don't know anything about his law practice.

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 12:21 PM


Not a word was said about class action suits. Edwards' cases to the best of my knowledge were not class action law suits. Neither was mine.


"The defendant has to spend big $$$ to prove a frivolous lawsuit is frivolous."

Any personal injury lawyer worth his salt will tell you that it is bad business to take a "frivolous" case, that is, one without merit, without an injury. Why would a good attorney want to waste time on a case where there is no money to be made (and, yeah, they don't want to work for free either). Defendants spend big $$$ not just to prove that a frivolous charge is frivolous. Unfortunately defendants often also spend big $$$ in an attempt to intimidate and scare off an injured party with a legitimate complaint.

Posted by: past plaintiff | March 26, 2007 12:45 PM

I'm curious how one's feelings about John Edwards influence one's feelings about Elizabeth Edwards' decision. If you're a Democrat who supports her decision, then suppose they were a Republican couple: do you think you would be any more inclined to think of her as a Stepford wife, willingly but robotically subordinating her health needs to her husband's career ambitions?

Opposite question to Edwards opponents (although there seem to be fewer of them in the comments today).

Posted by: Tom T. | March 26, 2007 12:45 PM

Posted by: Steubenville, OH | March 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Hometown of Dean Martin!

Hey that is like a half hour from where I grew up.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 12:45 PM

to 12:21

And, from what I understand, many of the lawsuits that Edwards has worked on blamed the doctors for conditions (such as autism, etc) and suggested that had the dr's performed c-sections rather than vaginal deliveries, the children wouldn't have had those conditions.

So there ya go - fewer and fewer drs are going into OB because the insurance rates are too high and many women are finding it difficult to find one at all.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 12:47 PM

What we the people think about their personal, family decision is irrelevant. They made it, and in all likelihood, they made it together. After all, in this case it is they, not we, who are the best judges of their own determination and capacity to continue the campaign. Regarding what it says about their ability to lead the country, at the minimum it shows they have the courage to put the public interest below their own personal interests. That says a lot in their favor.

Posted by: Tony | March 26, 2007 12:50 PM

moxiemom wrote: "So I'm gonna go a little OT - what would you do if you had 5 years to live? Go to Cairo, write a book..."

Seriously, this time: Last year I had a life-threatening physical illness from which I'm still recuperating, so (ironically) I've had far more time to think about this than I'd have liked.

I'm writing a lot more now (though don't know if anything will ever turn into my own full-fledged book). I'm still too weak to travel -- ironically, I was in Europe principally on business at the time I unexpectedly fell ill -- but if I recover sufficiently, I want to return to pursue my research further. Thanks to the medium of email, I've been able to maintain contact in the interim with people around the world whom I'm still unwell enough to go see, and -- best of all -- I've even made new professional contacts! I'm optimistic that I'll continue to recover gradually. My life won't be the same as before, but maybe in some ways it'll be even better.

BTW, DH has done the best he could to take care of me during my illness. But if he'd tried to pull back on his career -- well, let's just say I'd be a self-made widow or divorcée by now ;-) Fortunately his career has not entailed any overnight travel in the past year, but I'm glad he's continued to pursue his career rather than copping out because of my illness. I respect the values he propounds in his career too much to take that away from him.

Posted by: catlady | March 26, 2007 12:50 PM

"She isn't dying, she's got a treatable condition"

No, a "treatable condition" is one that's not deteriorating at the pace of widely metastasized cancer -- especially that which has spread to the bone.

Equating cancer to diabetes is a huge oversimplification -- once that John Edwards shouldn't have made.

Regardless of who in the family made the decision to carry on, I only hope that Elizabeth Edwards's doctors are being honest with her. Oncologists have a little problem with truthfulness, as they hate to lose their battles. I hope they're not giving her unrealistic expectations.

Posted by: pittypat | March 26, 2007 12:51 PM

Posted by: Concerned | March 26, 2007 11:26 AM
Strangley the "neo-cons" or presumed neo-cons on this blog (I'll add myself in there for good measure) are the ones saying exactly the opposite of what you are accusing. The anonymous poster is up to his old tricks again and trying to stir the pot - so ignore those comments as no one knows who they are, let alone their political leanings.

Posted by: cmac | March 26, 2007 12:51 PM

"Why would a good attorney want to waste time on a case where there is no money to be made (and, yeah, they don't want to work for free either)."

past plaintiff, whether they are good attorneys is a battle for another day. Most claims settle regardless of liability. Most defendants settle because the cost of going to trial is so high. Plaintiffs' lawyers live on intimidation and threats. I'm sorry for your experience, whatever it was, but to paint plaintiffs lawyers as good people protecting the little guy is to ignore the cost to society for each of these suits - more a$$ covering behavior by doctors and hospitals, and fewer ob-gyns.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 12:54 PM

Posted by: Steubenville, OH | March 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Hometown of Dean Martin!

Hey that is like a half hour from where I grew up.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 12:45 PM


We have family in Wheeling and Wellsburg, WV and Pitsburgh, PA. We swing through that area once or twice a year and have family reunions in various locations up there.

Posted by: cmac | March 26, 2007 12:54 PM

"We are all dying. We've all been dying since the day we were born. Life is a terminal disease afterall."

A few years ago, I was in the middle of a heated abortion debate, and someone threw out a (bogus) statistic: "Abortion increases your risk of breast cancer 20%." Another debater, without skipping a beat, quipped, "Being born increases your risk of dying 100%." I still find that amusing. ;-)

If I found out I were dying, like I said, I'd travel the world, do lots of volunteer work, and try to spread a lot of love to people, so I could try to leave the world in a little better condition than I found it. Though why wait? As LM in WI said, we're all dying. I should be doing that stuff NOW. :-)

(Way, way OT: for those of you keeping score, Santa Clara is the big winner. California or bust!)

Posted by: Mona | March 26, 2007 12:55 PM

I agree with Chris. If you guys don't understand how propaganda influences your voting outcomes, I'm sorry for you. That's the game: YOU are not supposed to notice. And judging by the subjects discussed on this blog, your language, and grammar -- you are exactly the population that is competent enough to vote, but not smart enough to make independent choices.

Posted by: support Chris | March 26, 2007 12:56 PM

Moxiemom -- those other guys are funny, sure, but but let's talk about what's makes a man -- let's talk hair...

Posted by: Patrick Dempsey | March 26, 2007 12:56 PM

Whether to keep going or sit back and let the world go by in the face of a devasting illness is an incredibly individual and personal choice. My cousin's daughter died two years ago this month at 14 after fighting melanoma (rare for children) for three years. She rarely missed school and took trips with the band until she was too ill to get out of bed.
Two months after she died my aunt, her grandmother, lost her battle with breast cancer after having been in remission for years. She too had metastasis to the bone. Thankfully, she did not suffer long. Two months after that my dad passed away after a long battle with emphysema. The one who fought the hardest was the 14 year old girl.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 26, 2007 12:58 PM

"Leslie, I think that's the point many of us disagree with you about: that Elizabeth Edwards's decision raises any of those questions at all. Those might be important questions for us to ask in a general sense, but not as a result of Elizabeth's decision, because all indications are that *this* is what she asked her husband to do for her. It's simply not true to imply that Elizabeth is failing to put herself first. "

I completely agree with this comment - my problem with Leslie's blog is not her comments that she would do something different in EE's shoes, but the link she's she sees between the Edwards' decision and the issue of "why do women have a hard time being demanding/why do women have a hard time saying do something for me." I've seen no evidence that EE is sacrificing what she'd really rather do so that her husband can continue his campaign. Because Leslie thinks she would have made a different decision, she's seems to assume that EE must have really wanted - or needed - to end her husband's campaign, and is not being demanding enough or is sacrificing her true needs by continuing. I actually think it's a little insulting to EE not to take what she says at face value - that she herself wants the campaign to continue because she personally believes it is important.

Posted by: Anne NJ | March 26, 2007 12:59 PM

"Why would a good attorney want to waste time on a case where there is no money to be made (and, yeah, they don't want to work for free either)."

Lots of attorneys take on pro bono cases. They do it for a multitude of reasons: favors, professional courtesy, publicity, peer pressure, and sometimes, OCCASIONALLY, you realize that not all attorneys are sharks, and some people do actually care about the world we live in. Every once in awhile you realize that life is not always a reflection of the lawyer jokes you read in Maxim, and you get a lawyer who actually gives a damn and contributes positively to the world around him/her without financial compensation.

For example, I'm going into patent law for the money. Lots and lots of big, big money. I want to grab all that money with both hands. But I also plan on donating my time--absolutely free--to defending animal causes and changing legislation to protect animals. With my scientific background, I'll be able to more intelligently challenge certain practices taking place in laboratories that conduct tests on animals.

Oh, my god! Is that a warm, beating heart in my chest?! Maybe I'm NOT cut out for law school after all...

Posted by: Mona | March 26, 2007 1:03 PM

"Abortion increases your risk of breast cancer20%."

So Elizabeth Edwards got breast cancer from an abortion she had?

Wow! I didn't know that. I guess you learn something every day!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 1:03 PM

I agree with "put a fork in it".

The money machine will dictate the end of this campaign. Clearly both J & E Edwards are very invested in their campaign. Let them ride it out.

I think this is a really good topic.

Sometimes things you've worked for your entire life are important enough that time with your family can wait. It doesn't mean that you don't care about your family.

Posted by: RoseG | March 26, 2007 1:04 PM

Leslie, it's fine that if you had cancer, you'd want to stay home and have your husband with you as much as possible. EE has made a different choice. WHY can't you just accept that it IS her choice?

I thought feminism was about empowering each woman to do what's best for herself, her family, and her society.

Posted by: Lawyermom | March 26, 2007 1:09 PM

WorkingMomX said: I made similar comments to my husband after the Edwards' made their announcement last week. He said "They've been married for 30 years. This is her dream, too." And that shut me right up.

This is a really important point. In contrast to Laura Bush (who I think is just fine), EE is substantively engaged in her husband's campaign. She is not just there to support him; they seem to have developed their ideas and goals about what they would do with the presidency together.

To me, it appears that EE wants to stay in for what she believes she can contribute. That's not quite the same as the kind of involvement that the term "political wife" generally suggests.

Posted by: THS | March 26, 2007 1:12 PM

(Way, way OT: for those of you keeping score, Santa Clara is the big winner. California or bust!)

Posted by: Mona | March 26, 2007 12:55 PM

Mona, WHY?????

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 1:12 PM

Re: Judging their decision. The Edwardses are not private individuals; he's running for public office. I think we're entitled to judge their decision to the extent that it affects our voting decision, just as we're entitled to judge anything else about his (and, to a lesser extent, her) character, judgment, intelligence, and fitness for office.

Certainly, many people here seem to be suggesting that it reflects favorably upon their strength of character, and I think that's quite true.

Still, if the science is correct that her expected five-year survival rate is only 20%, then it's hard for me to ignore the fact that there is an 80% likelihood that she will not live out his term. Of course, any of us can die at any time, but those odds can't just be ignored. Losing a spouse is obviously among the worst personal traumas that a person can face, particularly in such a loving couple as the Edwardses. I find it difficult to believe that John Edwards could live through such a terrible experience without having it detract from his ability to carry out the all-consuming job of President. Indeed, it seems cruel to suggest that he wouldn't be affected.

Posted by: Tom T. | March 26, 2007 1:13 PM

1:12, the decision was due in large part to the atmosphere of the campus. While I was visiting the other school I was considering, the students and professors were both very standoffish, whereas at SCU there is a very tight-knit, collaborative atmosphere. I'm a very competitive person, but I don't want to be around a bunch of jerks. Besides, the networking at SCU far surpasses that of AU. I liked the campus better, the commute would be better, and I'm looking forward to the relocation. There is so much to distract me here, and living in a new place where I don't know many people will help me keep my focus.

Posted by: Mona | March 26, 2007 1:16 PM

Just curious what your assessments are of Giuliani's cancer history, and McCain's cancer history + age.

Posted by: to Tom T. | March 26, 2007 1:16 PM

I must add that DH also has been tremendously supportive of my efforts to try to continue my career during my illness and recuperation, including by contributing his own time and professional efforts, where he's been able. When I was in the hospital and then first back at home, he had to handle even the most basic correspondence for me, because I was too ill. He still facilitates my work in other ways, recognizing that by doing so he can bring greater meaning and happiness into my life as well as his own.

Of course, other times we just sit around and shoot the breeze, or watch TV together -- because "quantity" time can be "quality" time, too!

Posted by: catlady | March 26, 2007 1:16 PM

Plaintiffs' lawyers live on intimidation and threats. I'm sorry for your experience, whatever it was, but to paint plaintiffs lawyers as good people protecting the little guy is to ignore the cost to society for each of these suits - more a$$ covering behavior by doctors and hospitals, and fewer ob-gyns.

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 12:54 PM

Plaintiffs lawyers have the burden of proof and in the case of medical malpractice - which by the way is not confined to ob gyn - they ultimately live on having to prove that the doctor did not provide/meet the current standard of care.

Read the statistics on medical mistakes and then try to evaluate the cost of the thousands of mistakes that are made each year to both society and individuals. Based on the number of mistakes made each year it's surprising that we don't see many more medical malpractice lawsuits.

Once doctors and hospitals truly acknowledge that problem, and start doing something to fix it, then they will find the incidence of lawsuits decreasing.

A related discussion for another day would have to be the medical malpractice insurers and their very often inflated premiums and rate increases. It's an industry that is long overdue for regulation. They are laughing all the way to the bank while the argument about "frivolous" cases continues in another ring.

Posted by: past plaintiff | March 26, 2007 1:17 PM

Isn't it true, though, that if one is a man, that, if one lives long enough, the risk of prostate cancer is 100%?

There are a huge number of treatments out there for that and the prognosis is incredible. My FIL just went through it all and is back to work...

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 1:19 PM

atlmom said: And his supposed sticking up for the little guy doesn't seem to me to be genuine. His billions were made by ruining doctor's livelihoods based on pseudo science, I.e. Nothing provable.


Well, he did prove his cases to the satisfaction of a jury, and the case for which he is, perhaps, best known was not a medical malpractice case but a product liability case. In that case, a little girl had her insides literally sucked out because of a missing cover on a swimming pool drain.

There's a discussion of it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Edwards

Of course, both this case and others in which Edwards participated are controversial in some ways, but, as far as I know, there's no evidence of unethical conduct on his part.

Posted by: THS | March 26, 2007 1:21 PM

We come into this world and take a breath. And at some point that breath leaves us. In between we should appreciate every breath that comes. No one knows which breath will be our last. Live each moment to its fullest and you won't be disappointed.

Posted by: marge | March 26, 2007 1:22 PM

LOL Patrick Dempsy - stop being so dashing. I've only just gotten over you - don't make me fall again!

Catlady - I'm so sorry about your illness and I wish you a most speedy recovery. Sounds like you are making the best of it.

Here's what I think I'd do given 5 years. I'd travel extensively and with my children so I could open the world to them and see their faces as they discoverd new things and places. I'd write (still poorly) mostly to give my children a sense of who I was. I'd make videos for the kids for the things I'd miss - I wouldn't want to miss my opportunity to share my often hard earned wisdom. I'd make sure that I was in more of the pictures we take - I ususally back out of pictures - so my children will have visual memories of us together (this is something I think I'll change right away). Like Emily, I'd try to be kinder, but I also would not waste my time with people who weren't worth it. I'd try to find something I could do to leave the world a little better than it was when I got here (something I'm kind of working on everyday). I'd make sure that everyone I valued knew how much and why, especially my husband (another thing I can work on daily). Oh, and I'd eat a lot!

Posted by: Moxiemom | March 26, 2007 1:23 PM

Actually, I think most doctors work very hard and don't really get rewarded for it. If you're in it for the money, might as well go to law school or get an MBA.
They work hard, they have to go to school forever, it's very expensive. We are losing people every day who decide not to go to medicine because there are other jobs that are more lucrative and that aren't as subjected to second guessing.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 1:23 PM

blogs allow us to identify which commenters always have to have the last word, a tiresome personality characteristic if ever there was one.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 1:24 PM

Well, I must say the comments today do not surprise me. FWIW, I already respected Elizabeth Edwards. But now, I am truly inspired by her. I think what she is doing is wonderful. I know it would be so tempting to me if I had her diagnosis, to just go home and wait to die. To wallow in self pity. She is showing everyone how important it is to live life on your own terms, to do what you want, b/c at some point we will all die.

I also just have to comment on the idea that Edwards has a 1% chance of winning. (I think it was Annapolis mom). Are you serious? The election is OVER a year away. I know someone else already mentioned Lincoln, but what about Bill Clinton???!!! Had anyone really heard of him in March of 1991? A LOT can happen in a year, it's early days. And honestly, as a democrat, I sincerely hope that Edwards gets the nomination, b/c I am really not enthused by HRC or Obama.

One more thing, Atlmom really has to stop getting all of her news/views from conservative talk radio. Rush and Hannity are entertaining, I'll admit, but please consider the source!

Posted by: Emmy | March 26, 2007 1:27 PM

Lots of attorneys take on pro bono cases. They do it for a multitude of reasons: favors, professional courtesy, publicity, peer pressure, and sometimes, OCCASIONALLY, you realize that not all attorneys are sharks, and some people do actually care about the world we live in. Every once in awhile you realize that life is not always a reflection of the lawyer jokes you read in Maxim, and you get a lawyer who actually gives a damn and contributes positively to the world around him/her without financial compensation.


Oh, my god! Is that a warm, beating heart in my chest?! Maybe I'm NOT cut out for law school after all...

Posted by: Mona | March 26, 2007 01:03 PM

Absolutely agree with you Mona. But no one worth his salt wants to take on a loser, regardless if it's pro bono or for gobs of money! And there's nothing wrong with earning gobs of money doing good, honest work. The implication regarding medical malpractice is, of course, they're all sharks because they're making lots of money. The merits of the case ... what case?? ... it kind of falls by the wayside. It's interesting too, that in the field of medical malpractice, many attorneys have in the span of their careers worked both sides - plaintiff's attorney, as well as defendant's attorney. It is an honorable profession.

So, Mona, you go girl! Lawyering is your call!!

Funny how both lawyering and the media - two wonderful professions that are practiced by so many good and honest folks, as well as some of your proverbial bad apples - manage to attract so much flak.

Posted by: past plaintiff | March 26, 2007 1:32 PM

Leslie, by reading between the lines, I feel that you are unhappy with most aspects of your life. Your marriage is not a true partnership and you don't get to spend the time with your children that you'd like to. You're probably bored and burned out on writing -- it often seems you take the easy way out. I'm saying this because perhaps YOU should reconsider how you're living your life rather than criticize Elizabeth Edwards.

Why do people always think a decision is "forever"? Decisions can be made and changed as circumstances change. I have my doubts that Elizabeth will continue traveling if she becomes very ill.

If John Edwards does not win the Democratic nomination next summer, he may or may not be asked to join the ticket as a VP candidate. If he is not asked, then his campaign is over. So, perhaps their days on the campaign trail will be numbered to about 14 months. Elizabeth Edwards could live five more years. Right now, perhaps she feels healthy enough to campaign with her husband. If he doesn't win the nomination, THEN she can decide how to live out the REST of her days.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 1:33 PM

Emmy: Nope, don't listen to Rush AT ALL. Did a little in the beginning (a decade ago?), just so that when I criticized him, I could do so with the facts, rather than pretending I knew what he said on his show by what I had heard and read about him.
I find him repulsive, actually, and he distorts facts left and right (no pun intended).

When I am forced to listen to Hannity (which, thankfully, I am no longer forced to do since we have better radio on now), I sit there and yell at him because he has vastly different opinions than I do on most everything. And he seems to distort facts for his own views as well.

Please don't think you know anything, one way or another, about my views on anything you haven't heard me 'say.' You only know what you have read. And I don't jump to conclusions that I know anything about any of you (except for what I have read).

I am not a Republican or a Democrat, by the way. I find both parties not representative of my views.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 1:34 PM

To 1:16: Of course McCain's age and health is an issue. Suppose he were 92 instead of 72; are you saying that shouldn't be a factor? The effect of aging on a man in his 70s is harder to predict, but I'm not going to overlook it.

As for Giuliani, I haven't paid enough attention to know what the statistics are for his continued health, but yes, it may be something to take into account as well. It just doesn't strike me as controversial to consider the health of a candidate (and his close loved ones) when deciding how to vote.

Look, I lost my father to metastatic cancer. He fought it for years, but the fight took a huge amount of his and my mom's energy and attention. To try to serve as President during such a situation just seems unrealistic.

Posted by: Tom T. | March 26, 2007 1:38 PM

1:24, what exquisite irony.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 1:38 PM

As a college prof I can assure that getting into med school is as difficult as ever (only vet school is more competetive & that pays much less). I will admit it is difficult to pay off med school loans without practicing medicine... but that is true of law school as well. The six-figure salaries of medicine are still the best guarantee of a ticket to the upper reaches of the middle class that straight As can afford. The biggest $ will always be in entrepreneurship, but it is usually the risk takers more than the straight A types.

Posted by: to atlmom | March 26, 2007 1:39 PM

O.k. Atlmom, I just assumed that's where you were getting your misinformation about Edwards' court cases. To suggest that John Edwards was unethical, and then have no sources to back it up, was reminiscent of conservative talk radio/O'Reilly to me. He does fight for the little guy, FWIW.

Posted by: Emmy | March 26, 2007 1:40 PM

I haven't read all the comments, as I don't have time, but I am positive this will not be a unique post. My mother passed away from terminal lung cancer two years ago, after a two year battle, remission and relapse. She never skipped a beat. She kept teaching until a month before her death. She traveled to Spain. She got mad at my dad when he refused to go golfing so that he could spend time with her. We argued. We made up. Cancer did not change our lives, or our life goals. I still went away to law school. I moved to Spain for a few months. To do anything else, for our family, would be to admit defeat. Elizabeth Edwards sounds a lot like my mom. I fully believe that the Edwards made a decision that was appropriate for their family and the people that they are.

Posted by: Erin M. | March 26, 2007 1:40 PM

She's game for it, and I would imagine that if she does have bad days, she'll deal with them.

Can't say as I'd want to be a politician or a politician's spouse, with or without cancer, but it sounds like the woman has made a decision she feels good with.

She can always change her mind, after all.

I'm not inclined to beat on Leslie. I doubt she's the ONLY person who was taken aback (at least at first) by Mrs. Edwards' decision. She simply stuck her neck out for expressing her thoughts.

If someone really feels that she is a waste of WP's space, shouldn't you be writing letters to the editor instead of this blog?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 1:41 PM

Guiliani hasn't got a prayer, people. He's been married THREE times. Ain't no way the conservative base is going to come out in droves for the man. His ex-wives haven't started talking yet, but believe me, they will if he starts looking like a viable candidate.

Posted by: Chiclet | March 26, 2007 1:41 PM

I don't think Leslie was suggesting that EE sit home and wait to die. I think she was pointing out that the extreme demands of a presidential campaign don't represent balance.

I think EE is doing what she wants to do. It doesn't appear to me that JE is dragging her kicking and screaming.

I do object to the anthropomorphization of cancer. I don't view EE as doing battle with some evil entity. She sadly is faced with the treatment of an incurable illness. Of course, if she wants to continue the campaign, I hope she will feel well enough to do that. That doesn't make her a better person than if she had decided that the demands of the campaign were more than she wanted though. It's not about EE being a winner or a loser to cancer.

All of this has reminded me of an article Barbara Ehrenreich published in Harper's in 2001 after undergoing cancer treatment. It was difficult to choose a passage to quote. The entire article is well worth reading.

http://www.bcaction.org/Pages/LearnAboutUs/WelcomeToCancerland.html

"To the extent that current methods of detection and treatment fail or fall short, America's breast-cancer cult can be judged as an outbreak of mass delusion, celebrating survivorhood by downplaying mortality and promoting obedience to medical protocols known to have limited efficacy. And although we may imagine ourselves to be well past the era of patriarchal medicine, obedience is the message behind the infantilizing theme in breast-cancer culture, as represented by the teddy bears, the crayons, and the prevailing pinkness. You are encouraged to regress to a little-girl state, to suspend critical judgment, and to accept whatever measures the doctors, as parent surrogates, choose to impose. . .the mindless triumphalism of "survivorhood" denigrates the dead and the dying. Did we who live "fight" harder than those who've died? Can we claim to be "braver," better, people than the dead?"

Posted by: Marian | March 26, 2007 1:41 PM

Guess who died of a drug overdose? So much more important that EE. If you don't believe this, just look at CNN on the net or the tube.

Posted by: news flash | March 26, 2007 1:41 PM

Go figure. But I did not need an autopsy to tell me that.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 1:46 PM

http://www.physicianssearch.com/physician/salary2.html

I hope $ is never the main reason to go into medicine, but these salaries, don't seem to be a deterrent.

The raise in malpractice fees was more strongly correlated to the losses the insurance industry took in the stock market than it was to lawsuits.

http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=1303

Posted by: to atlmom | March 26, 2007 1:47 PM

Did we who live "fight" harder than those who've died? Can we claim to be "braver," better, people than the dead?"

I agree with this poster. I think this idea that there is a right and noble way to do dying is often hurtful. So many times we hear about how brave someone was, how they never cried etc... and I always wonder how others who did not have that fortitude felt. were they somehow less brave because they curled up and wept for days at the news they were dying, or because they were in pain etc... I'm glad someone raised this point. I don't think there is any "right" way - you just gotta get through this life and death the best you can and sometimes it isn't pretty.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 26, 2007 1:49 PM

Actually, I think most doctors work very hard and don't really get rewarded for it. If you're in it for the money, might as well go to law school or get an MBA.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 01:23 PM

There are as many lawyers engaged in non-lucrative, community-advocacy work as there are doctors with pure hearts saving the poor. And plenty of selfish, money-grubbing slimeballs in both occupations as well. Lawyers as well as doctors are subject to malpractice suits and, as always, some practices and practice areas are more suit-prone than others.

Where are all these doctors who are not getting rewarded for their efforts, LOL? In most communities, doctors have substantial personal resources and their children lack for nothing material.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 1:49 PM

Emmy - from what I read about a few of the lawsuits he was involved in, they had to do with the kids ending up with something such as autism and/or cerebral palsy?. And the lawsuit implied that had the doctor just performed a c-section, all would have been well with the child.

I would say, not having been through it, that such conditions in your child must be difficult to find out and come to terms with. Then if you have a lawyer who is willing to 'fight' the doctor about and give you a 'reason' for it happening to your child, you'd be completely on board, as a parent.
Even though I believe there is no science behind those particular lawsuits. I'm not saying that any others that he might have been involved with were bad or unethical, it's just those few (maybe more?) that I indicated above.

Posted by: Atlmom | March 26, 2007 1:51 PM

I find the whole thing disgusting. Edwards is so driven to power that even the nearly imminent death of his wife will not deter him. When she grows deathly ill where will he be? kissing babies and at chicken dinner fund raising? Just about what I would expect from an ambulance chasing personal injury lawyer.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 1:55 PM

I just know a friend of mine who pioneered some new type of surgery who had to close his practice because he couldn't afford the malpractice insurance - so the world 'lost' a good doctor, cause he didn't want to deal with the insurance companies anymore.
I can't believe he is the only one who closed up practice for those reasons.

Oh, trust me, I'm not judging MBAs or lawyers (tho I''m not either). They are entitled to all the money they can grab. But neither of them (typically) have as much schooling as do doctors - so the doctors typically have WAY more loans than MBAs or lawyers (there is some law firm in Atlanta, I just read, that is giving lawyers something like $125k out of law school - three years of schooling after college - residents make, what, $25/30k out of med school - with several hundred thousand dollars worth of loans?).

Certainly, there are plenty of good and bad in all professions, no question. But although (no offense, Mona) we could survive without lawyers (though, I wouldn't want to as most of them perform a worthwhile service) we could hardly want to live without doctors. I hope that came out right - I do believe that everyone performs worthwhile services in their life...

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 1:56 PM

Never EVER thought I'd say this:

*thank you* pATRICK. ;)

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 1:58 PM

Okay, Patrick, why don't you tell us how you really feel?

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 1:58 PM

I guess I really never have (and never will) understand why lawyers can conscience charging $300/hour. Our experience with a "good" lawyer (real estate law) who charged $400/hr is that he was so bad, WE had to triple check everything and find his errors and omissions and was completely out maneuvered by the other side's attorney. Ludicrous. He ended up dropping us as clients out of embarassment.

Why not charge a more reasonable fee?

Posted by: lurker today | March 26, 2007 1:59 PM

"although (no offense, Mona) we could survive without lawyers"

No, some people could not survive with out lawyers. Mainly, the woman who was allowed to lay in labor for three days only to have a retarded baby because of a stupid doctor. Who is going to take care of that baby when she is dead? Sometimes doctors need sued.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 1:59 PM

"Okay, Patrick, why don't you tell us how you really feel? "

You know I never hold back. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 2:00 PM

moxiemom wrote: "I think this idea that there is a right and noble way to do dying is often hurtful. So many times we hear about how brave someone was, how they never cried etc... and I always wonder how others who did not have that fortitude felt. were they somehow less brave because they curled up and wept for days at the news they were dying, or because they were in pain etc... I'm glad someone raised this point. I don't think there is any "right" way - you just gotta get through this life and death the best you can and sometimes it isn't pretty."

I second moxiemom. There was nothing particularly ennobling about my illness last year. Mostly, it just plain sucked -- a medical term of art, as far as I'm concerned ;-) It's so frustrating to be physically unable to do things you really want or need to be doing.

The best thing to come out of such an experience, though, is having the time to reexamine one's life, reordering one's priorities if need be. The illness became my useful alibi for jettisoning stuff in life that no longer mattered to me. It left me with time not only for rest and recuperation, but also to reallocate time and energy to areas of my work and private life that I concluded mattered most to me.

I would never have chosen to get sick -- it definitely did NOT make me a better person! -- but it happened, we've had to deal with the fact of it, and at least we can try to keep it from making us worse people. At least I survived, and I try to move on with my life as best I can manage. THAT'S LIFE.

Posted by: catlady | March 26, 2007 2:01 PM

And of course, now we have the expectation that all babies who are born should be perfect, and that if they are not, it is somehow the doctor's fault.

And sometimes it might be. But childbirth can still be a very complicated and dangerous process. And doctors are not gods, and despite their best efforts, sh*t happens. I have utmost respect for my ob/gyn. He's great. But I would not want to do what he does. Too many sue happy people out there.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 2:03 PM

"Why not charge a more reasonable fee?"


The fee will be what the market will bear.

Posted by: econ 101 | March 26, 2007 2:03 PM

You know I never hold back. ;)

Yup. I get that:) And I respect an honest opinion, even if I disagree vehemently with it.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 2:04 PM

Just want to clarify, in the last paragraph of my post I was quoting Barbara Ehrenreich.

Both she an moxiemom are more eloquent than me. :-)

Posted by: Marian | March 26, 2007 2:04 PM

Just want to clarify, in the last paragraph of my post I was quoting Barbara Ehrenreich.

Both she an moxiemom are more eloquent than me. :-)

Posted by: Marian | March 26, 2007 2:04 PM

Maybe he will tour the country with her gurney in tow and wheel her out to give him a big thataboy to the crowd?

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 2:05 PM

Too many sue happy people out there.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 02:03 PM

Read the statistics on medical mistakes and then try to evaluate the cost of the thousands of mistakes that are made each year to both society and individuals. Based on the number of mistakes made each year it's surprising that we don't see many more medical malpractice lawsuits.

From my 1:17 post

Posted by: past plaintiff | March 26, 2007 2:06 PM

12:38, I do not usually say this, but YOU ARE AN IDIOT. :-)

"Chris, your comment says alot more about how you approach voting than it does about the American voting public..."

WTF? I never said I vote a party line. Both parties are corrupt beyond measure and most people just don't care any more because no matter what party is "in" they will only do what is best for their pockets. I have been saying we have to stop going along with whoever is the "popular" ones the media feeds us and we have to find people who put the best interests of the country first! But, in the age of Reality TV, when the attention of the average American is less than... Oh LOOK, a new article on ANS!

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 2:09 PM

As a Dad, I let Elizabeth's decision go without judgement, but I judge John's and I'm just unspeakably dissapointed in him. I have no doubt that, if I were sick, I wouldn't want my illness to keep my wife from her dreams, so I'd ask her to go on. But this man's first responsibility is to his children, even beyond that to his country. They are currently ages 7 and 9. Their mom is dying. They know that. It's all anyone is talking about. Thier dad? He's where today, Iowa? New Hampshire? Not by their side, anyway, not helping them through this. Not providing them with a safe space to feel what they need to feel and not helping them to have all the time they can with their mother while she is still here.

I was looking forward to voting for John Edwards because I thought he was prepared to talk about issues the other candidates aren't. But I've lost all respect for him through this because he's chosen not to be a Dad right now, when he's needed most. It's unforgiveable. A real man would have told her he was just humbled by her love for him that she wanted him to go on, but the simple truth was that they both had one responsibility over all others, to Jack and Emma Claire, and it was time for him to set aside campaigning to go be a Dad now. He's young and bright and will have another chance, even after she is gone. There won't be another chance to be there for his kids, to be a family for them and put them first. I hope he isn't telling himself that the best thing he could do for them is get himself elected President. I'm just so disappointed and disillusioned with him right now.

Posted by: sct | March 26, 2007 2:10 PM

sct, that was terribly elegant and beautifully put.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 2:12 PM

"Read the statistics on medical mistakes and then try to evaluate the cost of the thousands of mistakes that are made each year to both society and individuals. Based on the number of mistakes made each year it's surprising that we don't see many more medical malpractice lawsuits."

I am sure doctors do make mistakes. Some of them more egregious than others." But is it really reasonable to expect them not to? They are human. Sometimes, mistakes happen because of blatant negligence. I think those kinds of mistakes are lawsuit worthy. But what happens when a doctor makes an error in judgement because the symptoms were not obvious, or some other complication where one particular course of action was considered reasonable but was ultimately wrong? Should they be sued there? I think doctors do more good than harm in our society, in spite of the many medical mistakes that happen. And I think they they should not be expected to be miracle workers or gods who can treat or cure or overcome every single illness or disease out there. And some mistakes are understandable. We expect too much from them.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 2:15 PM

Just wanted to make sure that pittypat is aware that people can live many years with metastatic breast cancer that has spread only to the bone. It is just the nature of the disease and how it spreads. There are also better treatments every day (Thanks to all the ongoing research). No one can exactly predict how EE will do, but her oncologist is quoting known statistics of people in similar situations. EE is probably planning on continuing to live her life. I tell my patients that everyday is important, so spend it on doing something of value for you. For EE that probably means supporting a dream she and her husband have had for years. I think it is a great choice, More power to her.

Posted by: Academic Oncologist | March 26, 2007 2:16 PM

On medical lawsuits: Military can not sue the gov't for poor medical care- even should the poor medical care include gross negligance to the point of care or lack thereof result in injury or worsening of an illness or injury.

Sometimes those who need to sue the most, can not.

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 2:17 PM

"He's where today, Iowa? New Hampshire? Not by their side, anyway, not helping them through this. Not providing them with a safe space to feel what they need to feel and not helping them to have all the time they can with their mother while she is still here."

Well, sct, someone mentioned that the Edwards children travel with their parents, are tutored, and see their parents as often as any child would see a working parent. If this is true, then Edwards is with his children every day, even as he travels to Iowa and New Hampshire. I had the same reaction as you, initially though.


Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 2:18 PM

I've lost all respect for him through this because he's chosen not to be a Dad right now, when he's needed most.

By this logic, no one with young children should run for president.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 2:20 PM

Abraham Lincoln once said "When the presidential fever hits them NOTHING will deter them from their quest" So true, So true. We have a personal injury lawyer worth nearly 15-30 million talking about "two americas". Perfect hypocrisy, by a perfect hypocrite whose wife's deathly illness won't stand in his way. I bet he would step over her dead body and take the oath if he had a chance.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 2:21 PM

Ex: a female patient with a neurological disorder is on a dangerous medication that is not improving symptoms. Doctors increase medication levels over the course of two years to over twice the maximum male dosage.

Ex: Dr. dismisses patient with hole in lung as asthmatic after making him wait 2 hours. patient's spouse, a former med-tech fights for chest x-ray. Patient nearly dies from air bubble in IV tube- not condition.

Ex: Unconscious patient given spinal tap and eventually is discharged from hospital while dry heaving and complaining of headaches- without them or sponsor being notified procedure was performed! Patient collapsed the next day and was rushed to hospital again- a trip that could easily have been avoided.

Some things are beyond accidents and need punished.

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 2:24 PM

pATRICK they all have money, but only some of them choose to help others. John Edwards helps others, it doesn't matter how much money he has.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 2:26 PM

Just want to get a fact out there, if (as is becoming apparent) we're going to have this discussion:

The problem with doctors and malpractice isn't as much the lawsuits as it is the malpractice insurers. The AMA and the insurance companies like to claim otherwise, but Texas provides a good case study. The leg pushed through "litigation reform" that capped jury verdicts, in the name of making it easier for doctors to practice by lowering the rates for malpractice insurers. Despite that, the rates stayed almost as high as before. The people making the most money here are the insurance companies, and they aren't inclined to stop.

Posted by: Re lawyers | March 26, 2007 2:28 PM

Patrick,
I don't see it as a sin to be rich. By your standards, not many decent people would be able to run for president, because it takes money to win.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 2:28 PM

Chris, re Military can't sue: same applies for dependents. Like, say a civilian pediatrician contracted to work at an Army hospital in Germany sees an 11-year old with a fever of 105 and all the other symptoms of appendicitis, and sends that child home to see what happens. When that child's appendix ruptures that night, leading to peritonitis and a total of 33 days in the hospital over a 6-week period, there's nothing the family can do.

Even when it's the third time that same pediatrician has done the same thing.

Now, of course, if the fourth incident of this situation just happened to be the commanding officer's daughter, well then the pediatrician might be released from his contract and told to find some other place to practice his quackery. But that's all hypothetical, isn't it?

Posted by: Army Brat | March 26, 2007 2:30 PM

"pATRICK they all have money, but only some of them choose to help others. John Edwards helps others, it doesn't matter how much money he has."

I call this a case of limousine liberalism.
It matters quite a bit if they have extreme amounts of money or not. Class warfare and rabble rousing by a millionaire is beyond hypocritical. I on the other hand would not bait an eye if he was more common like Harry Truman or someone in his mold using those themes.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 2:31 PM

To pATRICK: Elizabeth Edwards doesn't exactly look like she has one foot in the grave and the other one on a banana peel, at least not yet! And, according to Academic Oncologist above (as well as anecdotal comments earlier), EE could well live for years with her illness under control (maybe even longer, if better medical protocols continue to be develioped).

True, there was once a time when BC was practically a short-term death-sentence, but that's often not so nowadays. Thus, it doesn't make sense to put one's life on hold for potentially years just in case an illness might take a turn for the worse. And if EE should worsen any time soon, it's for her and her husband to decide what's best for their entire family.

Posted by: catlady | March 26, 2007 2:31 PM

I am sure doctors do make mistakes. Some of them more egregious than others." But is it really reasonable to expect them not to? They are human. Sometimes, mistakes happen because of blatant negligence. I think those kinds of mistakes are lawsuit worthy. But what happens when a doctor makes an error in judgement because the symptoms were not obvious, or some other complication where one particular course of action was considered reasonable but was ultimately wrong?

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 02:15 PM


Some lawsuits have merit, some don't. The types of questions that you posit are for a jury to decide in those cases that go to trial. The burden is on the plaintiff to show that the doctor did not provide/meet the current standard of care. Since the standard of care is defined by the medical community, it is certainly not that doctors "be miracle workers or gods who can treat or cure or overcome every single illness or disease out there"

Posted by: past plaintiff | March 26, 2007 2:31 PM

ex: woman given medicine after she said she was allergic to it. Woman was told it was not the same thing. Woman had allergic reaction and still suffers some side effects of that medicine.

That woman is me! I didn't sue because I lived, but if I would have died you can bet your a-- my husband would have sued. The same staff at that hospital did numerous other things as well. I had a doctor from another hospital tell me I should sue.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 2:31 PM

Many oncologists will tell you that when people are dx'd with cancer, they plan to make major changes in their lives - but often within a few months realize that they are not dead yet and that they still have lives to live.

Leslie, you haven't been dx'd with cancer and you don't know much about bone mets with breast cancer, so I think you should do some research and talk to some who are in that position before pronouncing what you'd do in their place.

The truth is that she really could live for many years with excellent quality of life - bone mets are extremely treatable and the treatment often doesn't involve serious chemo.

I agree with the others - if you really would change your life if you were dx'd with a terminal condition, then you are not living life on your own terms.

Someone I love very much is living with the same disease and is thriving with a full time job and 2 small kids. Good for her.

Posted by: Virginia | March 26, 2007 2:35 PM

Hey Scarry, where have you been? Missed you at the end of last week.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 2:35 PM

Having had my second child before midnight, I was dismissed from the hospital less than 48 hours after the birth, not having had near enough rest.

RIGHT AFTER I had the epidural, I KNEW something was wrong (I said as much to the doctors/nurses/my husband in the room). The anesthesiologist (sp?) was leaving, and turned around to tell me : hey, you may have these symptoms, so if you do, you need a procedure. Implying no big deal.
No one told me the same information after the first epidural I had had (with no.1) - so I assume SHE knew something was wrong as well.

So for the 36 hours that I was in the hospital, I told my doctor and the many nurses that I was having these symptoms and what the anesthesiologist had said - and they all told me that it was no big deal - that I had just had a baby, etc.

SO, FOUR days later, still having symptoms, I had to go BACK to the hospital to get said procedure done (really no big deal, but frightening when doc says: you have to sign this saying hey, you acknowledge that you could be paralyzed or die - I think it might be rare for that to happen, tho...).

SO, I *guess* I could have sued the hospital, because I *know* that the anesthesiologist did something wrong enough for me to have to have this procedure that *could* have paralyzed or killed me. But I let it go - why? I presume that the doc was doing her best.

Oh, wait, another story...my husband was misdiagnosed with pneumonia when he had gallstones, so instead of having had the surgery (the first time we went to the emergency room they sent him home), we waited several days to go back to the emergency room and then he was admitted - but wait - he couldn't get the surgery right away (like he could have had he been admitted several days earlier), because he was by now jaundiced, so he had to wait around, only getting IV fluids for several days before having the surgery.

So I think I could possibly have sued each time (and probably other times as well for other 'mistakes'), but did not. There is not always someone to blame, people make mistakes but do what they have with all the information they have at the time. That's all we can ask of doctors, I think.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 2:35 PM

Just in the interest of fairness, because it looks like you probably didn't know this: John Edwards was born pretty close to dirt poor. He put himself through school and law school, and made a fortune as a lawyer. So his whole "two Americas" theme is based on where and how he grew up.

Edwards didn't take on the questionable cases - the ones where doctors made an honest mistake. He didn't need to. He's a brilliant attorney, and he didn't receive the awards and accolades he has today by ambulance chasing. He had his choice of the very best of the medmal cases out there, and he was incredibly selective about the cases he took on. In every case I've read about, the company or doctor had knowingly engaged in reckless behavior that killed or seriously maimed another human being.

If you believe that companies and doctors in that situation should not be held accountable, that's your opinion. But it's misleading to rely on falsehoods to suggest that Edwards pursued questionable or otherwise shady cases just to make a buck.

Posted by: to pATRICK | March 26, 2007 2:36 PM

Back on-topic now: I disagree strongly with the tone of Leslie's original post. It seems to me that Elizabeth Edwards is making this choice of her own volition, and thus there's nothing to criticize and no reason to complain about "women don't have opportunities". She has the choice, she's making it. The fact that some people in her situation would make a different choice has nothing to do with a lack of choice or a need to balance.

(FWIW, my mother is a strong fan of John Edwards. She moved from Louisiana to North Carolina after retiring from teaching; she bought the house next door to my brother because he's a single father of two daughters and he could use the help. I asked her why she was such a strong fan of a multi-millionaire trial lawyer who claimed to be a "populist". Her response was to compare him to Huey Long. Edwards really does fight for the poor - of course, he also makes himself very wealthy at the same time, but so be it. Similarly, even though Huey Long established a virtual dictatorship and enriched himself and his friends beyond belief, he really did build the best road system in the nation, give all students free textbooks and school supplies, and tax the oil and gas companies that had been robbing the state blind. He's still revered in many parts of Louisiana.)

Posted by: Army Brat | March 26, 2007 2:36 PM

I call this a case of limousine liberalism.

John Edwards came from the working class, pursued the American Dream and succeeded. Is he now a traitor to his new social class because he remembers where he came from? Rich folks called FDR a traitor to his (old money) class too because of the New Deal, but he improved the lives of tens of millions of impoverished Americans.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 2:36 PM

Patrick said: "We have a personal injury lawyer worth nearly 15-30 million talking about "two americas". Perfect hypocrisy, by a perfect hypocrite . . ."


So only the poor are entitled to speak on behalf of the poor? Those of us who are more fortunate should leave it to them to solve their problems? Very nice. You might want to send a note to Bill Gates about that. He seems to be giving away quite a lot of money these days. No doubt, he is a hypocrite for trying to make things better for the poorest people in the world when he could be enjoying life at home with his family in his extremely expensive house. After all, he has young children too--two of them, I believe.

Posted by: THS | March 26, 2007 2:37 PM

Read the statistics on medical mistakes and then try to evaluate the cost of the thousands of mistakes that are made each year to both society and individuals. Based on the number of mistakes made each year it's surprising that we don't see many more medical malpractice lawsuits.

From my 1:17 post

Posted by: past plaintiff | March 26, 2007 02:06 PM

now one post is not enough, past plaintiff is quoting himself. spare us your politics of lawsuits changing the world for the better.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 2:38 PM

Doctors routinely go 200,000 in debt to go to medical school. When you're done, you go into a residency program, where you are required to work 80 hours a week (yay new maximums!), and hear your superiors claim to that 80 hour work week is ruining residency education (it used to be many more hours per week). You get paid around 40k at good programs. This works out to $10/hour, with no overtime. Babysitters get paid more! So next time you take your child to the emergency room, just remember that the resident caring for him is making less than your babysitter, while he sits on hundreds of thousands of loans....

Posted by: med student | March 26, 2007 2:38 PM

No one with earning more than $60,000 per year or a net worth of $100,000 should be allowed to run for President of the USA! Rich people who earned their own money just don't know a thing about WORK.

Right. I'm tired of everyone thinking that once you "make it" in this country, you somehow have no concern for the people out there who are not doing as well. We set up the American Dream and then we knock down those who achieve it.

Posted by: Penny | March 26, 2007 2:40 PM

Dear Leslie,

I think that - if we found ourselves in the same situation as Elizabeth Edwards now finds herself, we have to make the best decision that we can - based on who we are as individuals and not as how other people would want us to behave. .. so Leslie, your decision would be your own... and Elizabeth Edwards has made her choice. Perhaps we should all put aside our own opinions and just be thankful that we are not in her situation... and ... be gracious enough to include her in our thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: Precy | March 26, 2007 2:41 PM

Obviously, all medical mistakes are intentional.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 2:42 PM

Let's cut the crap. He was a personal injury attorney who has made, it's estimated 15-60 million. This does not make him rich, it makes him in the top 1/2 of 1 percent in this country. So his I was born poor blah blah blah, ring hollow. YOU and I pay a lot every year for his success and those like him.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 2:44 PM

The question is would you have sued if you DID end up paralyzed & the cost of caring for you and your baby then overwhelmed your family.

... I am not sure that you would have a case since there is some risk to any anasthesia that you presumably did sign for when you agreed to it the first place. The question is if the symptoms are a normal (but rare effect) or if there was some obvious negligence on the doctors post. What makes you sure the doc screwed up?

anesthesia is is an area where the malpractice led to systematic change in order to decrease mistakes.

Posted by: to atlmom | March 26, 2007 2:45 PM

pATRICK, what are you paying for his success?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 2:45 PM

THS: Please don't get me started on Bill Gates. The man was born with a silver spoon in his mouth (his father was one of the most successful lawyers on the west coast and co-founded one of the most successful law firms in the country; his mother was also wealthy and extremely well-connected - just happened to be close friends with the Chairman of the Board of IBM, among others), and built his business by brains and hard work - also, corruption, monopolistic practices, greed, backstabbing, etc. (Check out the number of convictions Microsoft has, largely for illegal monopolistic conduct. Check out Gates' testimony at the infamous federal anti-trust trial.)

Now that he's been the richest man in the world for a while, and has a family, he starts giving away gigabucks and suddenly is Time's "Man of the Year" and a humanitarian? Sorry, if he'd gotten all of his money honestly I might feel differently.

Posted by: Anon for now | March 26, 2007 2:46 PM

Altmom,

You couldn't have sued under the circumstances you mention - in the vast majority of circumstances there has to be an actual harm not just the possibility of harm and I'm hard pressed to believe that anyone wouldn't have sued in those circumstances if they had been paralyzed.

Sure there are attorneys that take bad cases - and many are disbarred over it -but why assume John Edwards is one of those attorneys when there is nothing to suggest that he was taking frivilos(sp?) claims.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 26, 2007 2:46 PM

I think he will regret wasting what little time they have left together on a campaign trail.

Posted by: Michele D | March 26, 2007 2:47 PM

Atlmom,

You said, "So I think I could possibly have sued each time (and probably other times as well for other 'mistakes'), but did not."

You have said you are not a lawyer. This post makes it clear. In a civil lawsuit for negligence, you need to have suffered damages, and by damages, I am referring strictly to monetary damages. It seems from the scenarios you discussed, you did not suffer any significant monetary damages. You had no reason to sue. Perhaps plaintiffs in other lawsuits you are deriding did suffer actual monetary damages. Ya think?

Posted by: Emmy | March 26, 2007 2:47 PM

atlmom, far be it for me to suggest that lawyers are more important than anyone--many of us COULD survive without one. In my short life I have only had the need for two (aside from the advisement I've gotten in terms of law school). I must agree with you in terms of the difficulty of some careers over others. For the reasons you listed, I decided not to pursue an MD (I was on that track in college) or a thankless PhD. Law school is three short years; only the first one is really truly difficult (from what I hear, feel free to correct). And while the range of salary varies widely, there is a huge potential for big money. And we don't save lives. But neither do baristas, waitresses or writers. We all have a place in this world, though. :-)

Posted by: Mona | March 26, 2007 2:48 PM

pATRICK, are you saying that anyone who grows up working class, then makes millions, cannot possibly remember his/her roots?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 2:49 PM

Because a friend of mine is dying from cancer, and may only have another year at most, I have been thinking a lot about what I would do in that situation. I would quit work and travel. My friend, unfortunately, lacks the resources and funds to "take time off" and enjoy his last days. He has to try to earn something so his wife won't wind up with huge medical bills to pay once he's gone. Keep in mind that not everyone who has a terminal illness can afford to let go and live large.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 2:49 PM

Just want to get a fact out there, if (as is becoming apparent) we're going to have this discussion:

The problem with doctors and malpractice isn't as much the lawsuits as it is the malpractice insurers. The AMA and the insurance companies like to claim otherwise, but Texas provides a good case study. The leg pushed through "litigation reform" that capped jury verdicts, in the name of making it easier for doctors to practice by lowering the rates for malpractice insurers. Despite that, the rates stayed almost as high as before. The people making the most money here are the insurance companies, and they aren't inclined to stop.

Posted by: Re lawyers | March 26, 2007 02:28 PM


And somehow, that hardly ever makes the news. Like I said in an earlier posting, the insurance companies are "quietly" (ie outside of the public discussion) laughing it all the way to the bank while the rest of everyone spends a lot of time talking about "frivolous" lawsuits, even in face of good stats on the number of medical mistakes made each year. It's the medical mistakes and the malpractice insurers that merit discussion.

Getting back though to the post that originally brought this into the discussion, I think that we can all agree, as Emily pointed out earlier, that there is nothing on the record to indicate that John Edwards ever acted in an unethical manner during his years as a personal injury lawyer.

Posted by: past plaintiffs | March 26, 2007 2:49 PM

My point is he derides the american way that has brought him extreme wealth. Hypocritical I think. By the way , Bill Gates is giving a way his fortune to help others, he is not ruuning for office preaching class warfare. Big Difference. Edwards is just Clinton wannabee

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 2:52 PM

See, Patrick, if you think that comparing Edwards to Clinton was an insult, you might be surprised. I liked Clinton a lot, and would vote for him again if he could run again. And I am convinced that he would win.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 2:57 PM

I personally think that obgyn suits can be a tough call...

BUT now suppose your baby is deprived of oxygen for a significant amount of time due to a preventable and potentially systemic problem... You & your baby received monitoring that clearly did not meet appropriate medical standards.

- did you have enough $ stockpiled to take care of a baby with significant brain injury
- if it is a systematic problem the lawsuit will force the hospital to upgrade to the accepted standard level of care.

Now looking at some of edwards famous cases
- the pool company had 12 other notices of children being seriously injured by the filter problem & TOOK NO ACTION. At some point you need to have a method to make good behavior fiscally sensible. Would you prefer gov't regs.
- one was an aversion therapy case (the argument here is probably that some things should be criminal not civil even if it is a therapist)
- one was a case of a speeding trucker killing a kid - where again there was a systematic neglect for public safety by a company that paid by the mile.

All of these involved death or severe disability - not a near miss. I can't imagine an I was inconvienced for a day getting much with the jury.

Posted by: to atlmom | March 26, 2007 2:57 PM

"See, Patrick, if you think that comparing Edwards to Clinton was an insult, you might be surprised. I liked Clinton a lot, and would vote for him again if he could run again. And I am convinced that he would win. "

Well I would consider it an insult if someone called me Clinton, because he is a wife cheating, dishonest,amoral person. However in my post I meant that Clinton is who is trying to emulate politically.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 3:01 PM

By the way , Bill Gates is giving a way his fortune to help others, he is not ruuning for office preaching class warfare. Big Difference.

He is also trying to increase immigration of both highly skilled workers and low skilled workers. If he cared so much about this country, why doesn't he try to invest in the lives of people here.

Posted by: to patrick | March 26, 2007 3:03 PM

Doctors routinely go 200,000 in debt to go to medical school. When you're done, you go into a residency program, where you are required to work 80 hours a week (yay new maximums!), and hear your superiors claim to that 80 hour work week is ruining residency education (it used to be many more hours per week). You get paid around 40k at good programs. This works out to $10/hour, with no overtime. Babysitters get paid more! So next time you take your child to the emergency room, just remember that the resident caring for him is making less than your babysitter, while he sits on hundreds of thousands of loans....

Posted by: med student | March 26, 2007 02:38 PM

oh those poooooooooooor bay - bies.

what does hosting a pity party for med school students and doctor fan club presidents like atlmom have to do with balance?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:04 PM

Army Brat, yep a couple of those were dependent issues as well... purely hypothetical though... of course... ahem.

Military medical training 101 has a few laws:

1. If it can't be treated with 800mg of ibuprofin it can not be treated.

2. Head wound- apply turniquet to the neck.

3. No matter what the manual says, try increasing the dosage.

4. If symptoms persist, lose patient's records. While this may not directly make the symptoms go away, the patient might...

5. See rule #1

6. Diagnose and discharge patient, then refer to VA. Contact Personnel to make sure they send DD-214 to wrong address.

VA 101: Have patient fill this out and wait 1-2 years for another diagnosis and improper rating... Fill this out and wait a year to change your claim number that your representative made a typo on...Fill this out and wait a year or five for an appeal. If patient is STILL alive, lose records.


Ok, I admit. I made number 2 up.

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 3:06 PM

spare us your politics of lawsuits changing the world for the better.

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 02:38 PM


Actually, I don't think that medical lawsuits change the world for the better. Right now, though, it's all we've got.

Posted by: past plaintiff | March 26, 2007 3:06 PM

I love Edwards and I will be out for him if he continues on. We could also all hope that someone will be like Bill clinton and save the country.

I don't care if he cheats/cheated on Hillary that is her problem.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 3:08 PM

Anonymous at 11:33 AM writes:

"Elizabeth will probably die within the next few years. Who wants that going into the White House?"

Wanna help out families trying to balance work and family? Wanna give parents the choice to live on one income, like they used to have before the bosses started exporting jobs to the Third World, where India and Red China boast an "absolute advantage" with their dirt-cheap labor costs, and will soon boast the additional advantage of being exempt from crushing Kyoto carbon-emissions standards?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, you ought to be questioning the policy of unlimited "Free Trade" that all the Republican candidates and all of the major Democratic candidates (with one exception) support. The exception is John Edwards. He's the first one since the first Mormon U. S. Senator, Reed Smoot, to challenge the massive draining of jobs out of the U. S. Meanwhile, his principal rival's husband pushed NAFTA through Congress and gave Most Favored Nation status to Red China, so if you want to see those jobs continuing to flow down the drain, vote for her.

There is no indication that Mrs. Edwards's sickness will affect the way Mr. Edwards thinks about policy if he is elected. There is every indication that Mr. Clinton's policies will affect the way Mrs. Clinton thinks about policy if she is (R"L!) elected. I would rather see a sick First Lady than a free-trader First Gentleman in the White House.

"I think Leslie is a little ahead of her time with her opinion, but that's what I expect from a Harvard grad."

Oh, so? Henry Kissinger '50 was ahead of his time, too. Unlike West Pointers like Dwight Eisenhower who tried to fight the Cold War against Communism, Dr. Kissinger, being a Harvard grad, was ahead of his time, in that he *knew* that Communism (like cancer) would triumph in the end, and that the best the West could do was to stave off our inevitable defeat as long as we could. Give them South Vietnam, and maybe they'll leave us alone for awhile before grabbing more territory. So he got his Nobel Peace Prize, and sure enough, the Commies left us alone -- all the way until 1979, when they grabbed Afergrandstand. It took a non-Harvard graduate like Ronald Reagan to disprove Dr. Kissinger's assumption.

There are tens of thousands of people whose names fill the Big Red Book of Harvard alumni: They come in all sizes and shapes: large and small; lanky, lean, fat and tall. Some of them are doctors who have successfully operated on me. Some of them are lawyers who have taught me a lot about life and the law. One of them was a scientist -- in fact, a classmate of Henry Kissinger's and Frank Fiske's -- who worked in our laboratory for many years. So, let's not go stereotyping Harvard grads.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 26, 2007 3:10 PM

Leslie -- I had the same reaction, but like you, I respect that it's her decision to make. I can't imagine being as sacrificial as she is choosing to me, but politics mystify me.

Posted by: not a mom | March 26, 2007 3:10 PM

On medical lawsuits: Military can not sue the gov't for poor medical care- even should the poor medical care include gross negligance to the point of care or lack thereof result in injury or worsening of an illness or injury.

Sometimes those who need to sue the most, can not.

Posted by: Chris | March 26, 2007 02:17 PM

Perhaps this is our future with 'universal (ahem, socialized) medical care?

Posted by: anon | March 26, 2007 3:11 PM

You do go into great debt to go to med school, but the six-figure salaries are much higher than other fields. I don't worry as much about those who get through wanting to practice (they do end up well off), but rather those forced to practice, don't like it, and are probably bad docs.

I don't like the hours required of residents BUT you lose me at the salary complaint. postdocs put in long hours without the promise of a big payday to come.

Posted by: to med student | March 26, 2007 3:12 PM

Numbers, are you there?

Tell us how many times past plaintiff has posted today.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:12 PM

I love Edwards and I will be out for him if he continues on. We could also all hope that someone will be like Bill clinton and save the country.
"I don't care if he cheats/cheated on Hillary that is her problem."

Not in my book, he cheated on those closest to him, once a man does that he is capable of anything. He put his family, career and reputation into the gutter for a quickie BJ. Poor judgement plus amorality is lethal combination.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 3:12 PM

I agree with Scarry. If I had been Hilary, I might have divorced Bill, but since I'm not, I don't feel the need to worry about that.

If every man that cheated on their spouse were ineligible for the presidency, we would have a very small pool of eligible men. Plus, did anyone see the article about Newt having an affair during the time that he was trying to have Clinton impeached? Talk about hypocrite.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 3:13 PM

blogs allow us to identify which commenters always have to have the last word, a tiresome personality characteristic if ever there was one.

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 01:24 PM

1:24, what exquisite irony.

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 01:38 PM

"irony" means the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning. The original statement is not ironic. It does not appears to be a response to any comment or commentator.

there are several posters today, though, who support 1:24's point.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:15 PM

"Plus, did anyone see the article about Newt having an affair during the time that he was trying to have Clinton impeached? Talk about hypocrite. "

Newt would not get my vote either, same dishonorable stain on him too. There are plenty of men who do not cheat on their wives.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 3:16 PM

Emily,

I was in Ohio. Sick and tired and in bed for the whole week.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 3:17 PM

I think he will regret wasting what little time they have left together on a campaign trail.

Posted by: Michele D | March 26, 2007 02:47 PM


What makes you think that Elizabeth Edwards will be dead before the campaign is over? There's no evidence to support this conclusion as the most likely outcome.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:20 PM

Scarry,
Did you have some strange upper respiratory thing that made you hoarse. Something is going around at work and my voice is totally gone (but my fingers still work ;)). I trust you are otherwise healthy?

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 3:20 PM

Matt - I don't really know of many families in history who were able to live on one income - maybe those who owned plantations in the south, but, wait, they weren't tilling the fields.
Really, the 50s are idealized, but not the way things were throughout most of our history.
Women maybe were subjugated to the home, but there they were, making food from scratch (no TV dinners...) and sewing the clothes (no Macy's). And doing jobs at home, maybe, usually, but still working.
So in reality, after WWII, our country was very wealthy, and therefore women, for one of the first times in history, were 'staying home.' Of course, they were spending a lot of time in the kitchen and cleaning, but still...
And, economically, we do better when trade is open and 'free,' regardless of what others do. Over time. And many years ago, cell phones/cable/etc were LUXURIES and now people treat them as NECESSITIES.

One of my points to my earlier post was that dr's make mistakes all the time (yes, monetary damages were done to me/my insurance company, who had to pay for an extra week for my DH to be in the hospital and had to pay for me to have the extra procedure), but not *everyone* is looking to blame others for everything in their lives. I don't begrudge ANYONE from trying to point out that mistakes were made (Certainly, the almighty dollar is on many people's minds, even corporations, lawyers, doctors, laypeople, etc). But sometimes, mistakes WEREN"T made and people still want someone to blame.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 3:22 PM

Patrick I respect your morals, but there are two things I care about in a president:

Keeping the peace if he can, and
Keeping the economy going.

Blow jobs don't fit into my area of worry.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 3:22 PM

And, unfortunately, many of our best leaders turn out to have terrible personal lives...

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 3:24 PM

What 1:38 was referring to, I believe, was the fact that 1:24 posted anonymously. By doing so, 1:24 showed the perfect contradiction to his own statement.

Posted by: heh | March 26, 2007 3:24 PM

I can't imagine being as sacrificial as she is choosing to me

So you and Leslie think that a husband going into politics is a sacrifice for the family. Some families actually SHARE the same views, rather than being adversarial toward one another's callings.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:26 PM

Emily,
I had a horrible cold. I couldn't breath was congested and had an old man cough. My dad said I sounded like I had black lung, which don't get me started on that because someone on here surely has to love ronald regan. :) Anyway, I am back home and better today than I was. I think it is really bad because I am pregnant.

Which speaking of that the doctor in the ER gave me a medicine that the pharmacist wouldn't fill for that reason. So, you always have to double check everyone.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 3:26 PM

"Newt would not get my vote either, same dishonorable stain on him too. There are plenty of men who do not cheat on their wives."

I am much more interested in a politician's commitment to fiscal responsibility, border security, and civil liberties, than I am on his or her gender or sexual restraint. There are plenty of women who do not cheat on their husbands, as well. We don't have the luxury of voting for the presidency based on faithfulness to a spouse, when we are in the middle of a war, our schools are going down the tubes with the greatest unfunded mandate in history, the FBI is largely unsupervised, and the Al Gores of the world have never seen a regulation they didn't like.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:28 PM

pATRICK, how much do you wanna bet the the happiest person in the world over Elizabet Edwards cancer diagnosis in Hillary Clinton.

Http://www.newsspotterint.com/article12388872/HillarySmiles.html

Posted by: Lawyers, Politicians | March 26, 2007 3:28 PM

Patrick,
Franklin Roosevelt had a long lasting affair with Lucy Mercer while he was married to Eleanor. And yet, by most standards, I think he can be considered to have been a fine president.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 3:30 PM

On a different note, my wife had a friend who seemed to date only married men. I asked my wife why she never disapproved of it to her friend. She just shrugged her shoulders. The friend got married and I asked now what would she think if another women started screwing her friend's husband. She got mad and walked away. I thought it was rank hypocrisy. I guess that cheating has more of a sting now that she got married. I never respected her friend afte she told me she slept with married men, and I didn't respect the men either.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 3:30 PM

to Scarry:

glad to hear you're feeling better. Whenever I got a prescription not from my OB during pregnancy, I would then call the OBs office, so I had confirmation (after the dr. already had 'looked it up') then I would talk with the pharmacist about said prescription. It made me feel MUCH better.

Doing research on the web for stuff like that is always TOO scary for me (My wife's second cousin's aunt took that and something bad happened....).

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 3:31 PM

How did this thread become about med mal? In any event, folks debating medical malpractice should bear two things in mind:
1) less than 10% of filed med mal cases even end up in court, much less get heard by a full jury, much less get decided in massive amounts in favor of the plaintiff. Before cases even reach trial stage, they must be reviewed and be found to have merit - you can't just decide to sue your doctor and "have your day in court."
2) Perhaps the more important of the two points. While med mal premiums have risen more than 20% over the past few years, med mal PAYOUTS by insurers have remained rock steady (as both a number and dollar amount). In any other industry, we would be asking ourselves why the insurers charge so much more annually for costs that do not increase? It is my opinion that insurers have taken advantage of political and general ignorance about the process and existence of med mal cases to make enormous profits off of healthcare professionals. While there is certainly an exception to every rule, and I'm sure somewhere a doctor has been found guilty when perhaps they should not have been, the statistics about increasing premiums with stagnant payouts make me question the insurance industry's role in this.

Posted by: Insurance | March 26, 2007 3:31 PM

Everyone here ought to read the article in today's Post about online ugliness:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100587.html

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:31 PM

Emily, I think Scarry is sick, especially in the mornings.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:33 PM

Patrick,
Franklin Roosevelt had a long lasting affair with Lucy Mercer while he was married to Eleanor. And yet, by most standards, I think he can be considered to have been a fine president.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 03:30 PM

only if those standards are created by liberals.

many of us don't think the government should be in the business of creating jobs that don't need to be done in order to pay people to do jobs that don't need to be done. FDR is despised by many, trust me.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:35 PM

I know that. I just wanted to make sure that whatever ailed her was not pregnancy related.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 3:36 PM

"Patrick,
Franklin Roosevelt had a long lasting affair with Lucy Mercer while he was married to Eleanor. And yet, by most standards, I think he can be considered to have been a fine president. "

Yes he was a great president, it seems that I should articulate my position better. If the couple is married more for convenience or power, it would not concern me as there is not really a marital bond. In that situation I would concede my point.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 3:36 PM

"How did this thread become about med mal?"


Cuz John Edwards practiced personal injury law so that made him a rich sleaze bag for some/one of the posters. Your point on the insurance industry nicely stated.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:36 PM

Patrick I respect your morals, but there are two things I care about in a president:

Keeping the peace if he can, and
Keeping the economy going.

Blow jobs don't fit into my area of worry.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 03:22 PM

scarry, this post has to be one of your finest moments, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 26, 2007 3:37 PM

If the couple is married more for convenience or power, it would not concern me as there is not really a marital bond

and the Clintons aren't?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:37 PM

Patrick I respect your morals, but there are two things I care about in a president:

Keeping the peace if he can, and
Keeping the economy going.

Blow jobs don't fit into my area of worry.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 03:22 PM

Scarry, I absolutely snorted when I read this. Hysterical. And I agree completely, for what it's worth.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 26, 2007 3:37 PM

If the couple is married more for convenience or power, it would not concern me as there is not really a marital bond


and the Clintons aren't?

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 03:37 PM


Touche!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:38 PM

"If the couple is married more for convenience or power, it would not concern me as there is not really a marital bond. In that situation I would concede my point"

Well, some people contend that Bill and Hilary are together for convenience and power, much like the Roosevelts.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 3:39 PM

pATRICK, you shock me. I thought you of all people would be going on about the purpose of marriage . . . creation of children, etc. But to concede your point with FDR and Eleanor . . . Maybe there's hope for you yet.

Posted by: Chiclet | March 26, 2007 3:41 PM

Patrick,
Even though I disagree with you wholeheartedly, my best, disinterested advice to you is to CONCEDE NOTHING.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 3:43 PM

No, not really. I think that adultery and betrayal of your partner and children is a terrible act. I think that you cannot trust people who do that. I also am aware that some couples marriage is really just a sham, Clinton, Kennedy, Roosevelt etc. So while I find their actions offensive, I can put them into the context of the couple. Understanding is not approving, rather like holding my nose and walking past a big pile of poop.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 3:45 PM

now megan's neighbor and workingmomX ask me how I felt about the skinny little 24 year old hitting on my husband at the bar last weekend while I lay in bed sick and fat.

Did not like it at all. He told her that I wasn't nice when I wasn't hormonal and I am really not nice now. So, yeah, I only worry about keeping a hold of my man, which isn't hard to do. Bill Clinton though could probably have his way with lots and lots of women. I met him, he is just that grand.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 3:47 PM

Patrick I respect your morals, but there are two things I care about in a president:

Keeping the peace if he can, and
Keeping the economy going.

Blow jobs don't fit into my area of worry.

And somehow I don't think he was getting much help from Hilary on the last one!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 3:52 PM

Yes, Scarry. I have heard lots of people say the same thing about him. He does have that certain charisma which is so alluring and dangerous.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 3:52 PM

I've met Clinton as well, scarry, and he just LOVES women. He loves being near them, talking to them and oogling them. I mean the man lights up when a beautiful woman walks by. When he speaks to you, he has that way of making you feel like you are the only person in the room worth speaking to. And he just EXUDES sex appeal. I never found him interesting in that way in the slightest or even attractive physically until I met him, but I tell you that he has an affect on women that is palpable. It was like in Harry Potter book 4 when the veela come onto the field and the men act like they've been hypnotized. And believe me I'm not the only one little lowly campaign worker who had the impression.

Posted by: Anon this post | March 26, 2007 3:54 PM

now megan's neighbor and workingmomX ask me how I felt about the skinny little 24 year old hitting on my husband at the bar last weekend while I lay in bed sick and fat.

Did not like it at all. He told her that I wasn't nice when I wasn't hormonal and I am really not nice now. So, yeah, I only worry about keeping a hold of my man, which isn't hard to do. Bill Clinton though could probably have his way with lots and lots of women. I met him, he is just that grand.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 03:47 PM

he does you no favors by coming home and telling these tales, but I assume you've already conveyed that message :>)

my condolences on how lousy you feel.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 26, 2007 3:56 PM

I met him at his book signing and for once in my life I couldn't speak. The secret service had to help me move along.

I never shut up and I had something really nice to say to. I was a little sad with myself that day, but just like you said, he is something else.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 3:57 PM

Funny listening to "strong ,smart" women melt at the feet of a chronic adulterer and liar. The irony is delicious.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 3:59 PM

when Clinton lied, no one died!!

Posted by: experienced mom | March 26, 2007 4:01 PM

There is an old saying that if a presidential candidate could win by stringing up his own mother outside the White House, he would.

This isn't really about Elizabeth Edwards' decision or desire to proceed. It isn't about Edwards dragging his poor wife around the country on the campaign trail. This is about exploiting a tragic event that millions of Americans can relate to to win votes. Even if I liked John Edwards, which I don't, I would not support him in light of these theatrics.

Further, if I were running for office and my husband were ill, no amount of persuasion by him or anyone else would convince me to continue campaigning. I would be taking care of him and spending as much time with him as possible. Period.

Posted by: catmommy | March 26, 2007 4:01 PM

Patrick,
I am amused that you are so amused. Strong, smart men have forever been melting at the feet of less worthy women (in fact a good pair of boobs and nice legs is often quite enough to do the trick-- men are usually thinking with their little head rather than the big head). Why would you think that women are immune from sex appeal?

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 4:03 PM

During an interview or a press conference, I don't remember which, John and Elizabeth Edwards made a subtle reference to what I imagine helped shape their decision to continue on with the campaign. They lost a child. As a mother, I can't imagine anything worse. Certainly, facing my own death would be easier. Each of us might handle the situation the Edwards are facing differently. But, what all of us should do is wish the Edwards family well.

Posted by: Meredith Laird | March 26, 2007 4:03 PM

It is important for President's to be charismatic and alluring but not moral? Cheating on your wife is a symptom of bad judgement, so if all the women on this board that want to stand up for Bill Clinton want a President with bad judgement then I am truly scared for the future generations of this country.

I wouldn't wish Bill Clinton on a friend, foe or country. He is a liar and a cheat with "charisma."

Posted by: anon for today | March 26, 2007 4:04 PM

"when Clinton lied, no one died!!"

Is that on your car next to the "Save the whales", No blood for oil and LESBIANS AGAINST BUSH bumper stickers? I actually saw that last one on a car. A tear of laughter still comes to my face just thinking about it.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 4:04 PM

"It is important for President's to be charismatic and alluring but not moral?"

I'll take Bill's morality over Bush's. It does me no good that Bush is faithful to his wife, because he is screwing he country.

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 4:07 PM

Okay, I barely finished laughing about Scarry's post, and then Emily's and now pATRICK's (Lesbians against Bush) is sending me over the edge. My boss will be in here in a minute. I don't know that I'm usually on the blog this late but you guys are really funny at this hour!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 26, 2007 4:07 PM

Scarry - sorry you are sick. One of the worst parts of being pregnant and nursing is the absence of pharmaceuticals. When dd was 10 mos old and just nursing at bedtime I ended up begging my ped. to give me the go ahead to take Nyquil because I was so sick and needed some sleep. I loved nursing and highly recommend it, but the inability to even take a cold capsuel was tough. Feel better and don't forget to hydrate!

Posted by: moxiemom | March 26, 2007 4:08 PM

Clinton is a good looking man and he oozes sex appeal. However, I like him because before my aunt sunny's steel mill went down (after president Clinton left office) he toured it and he talked and talked to the people in the plant. Shook their hands acted like he gave a damn. There were no cameras in that plant and when the secret service told him it was time to go, he said he wasn't done talking to the people.

Now when Bush came, he only shook a few hands when the cameras were rolling and he didn't stay long, but neither did her plant.

Character is sometimes more about what you don't do, not just about what you do.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 4:09 PM

Thank you, WorkingMomX - glad to amuse you.!! :)

Posted by: Emily | March 26, 2007 4:09 PM

"Why would you think that women are immune from sex appeal?"

Because so many claim to be.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:10 PM

"Clinton is a good looking man and he oozes sex appeal. However, I like him because before my aunt sunny's steel mill went down (after president Clinton left office) he toured it and he talked and talked to the people in the plant. Shook their hands acted like he gave a damn. There were no cameras in that plant and when the secret service told him it was time to go, he said he wasn't done talking to the people."

He was just trolling for tail for the evening and had not found one yet, is my guess.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 4:10 PM

It is important for President's to be charismatic and alluring but not moral? Cheating on your wife is a symptom of bad judgement, so if all the women on this board that want to stand up for Bill Clinton want a President with bad judgement then I am truly scared for the future generations of this country.

I wouldn't wish Bill Clinton on a friend, foe or country. He is a liar and a cheat with "charisma."

Posted by: anon for today | March 26, 2007 04:04 PM

I'll see you one cheating on your wife and raise you a gtting into a war without appreciating the consequences or having an exit strategy. Tales of bad judgment abound in these two presidencies.

Here's a stat you can't argue with, though:

During the Clinton years, the US had a surplus.

During the Bush administration, we have an enormous deficit because he doesn't want to pay for his war out of today's budget.

The most important judgment any president needs is fiscal judgment, the understanding that running a government on borrowed money shows poor fiscal judgment.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:11 PM

"Why would you think that women are immune from sex appeal?"

Because so many claim to be.


Posted by: | March 26, 2007 04:10 PM

that's only when YOU ask them out.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:14 PM

"During the Clinton years, the US had a surplus.

During the Bush administration, we have an enormous deficit because he doesn't want to pay for his war out of today's budget. "

Let's dissect this a little. 1. I don't want politicians having big surpluses to pork themselves on. 2. Oil was nearly 10-15$ per barrel. Hard not to do well on such cheap energy 3. Our budget deficit on a GNP basis is somewhat higher than in the past but not unmanageble. 4. We have the same employment figures now as we did in the 90's despite massive obstacles, 911, katrina,iraq war,enron etc. I thank God we are where we are. It could be sooo much worse.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 4:17 PM

Why would you think that women are immune from sex appeal?"

Because so many claim to be.


Posted by: | March 26, 2007 04:10 PM

that's only when YOU ask them out.

Um, OK?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:17 PM

"No blood for oil"

I hope that all of you people who say this are walking or riding your bicycles.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:18 PM

Clinton is a good looking man and he oozes sex appeal. However, I like him because before my aunt sunny's steel mill went down (after president Clinton left office) he toured it and he talked and talked to the people in the plant. Shook their hands acted like he gave a damn. There were no cameras in that plant and when the secret service told him it was time to go, he said he wasn't done talking to the people.

Now when Bush came, he only shook a few hands when the cameras were rolling and he didn't stay long, but neither did her plant.

Character is sometimes more about what you don't do, not just about what you do.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 04:09 PM

How like his dad, George H.B. Bush, glancing at his watch during the Richmond debates.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:19 PM

"No blood for oil"

I hope that all of you people who say this are walking or riding your bicycles.

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 04:18 PM

Amen - my favorite is the Hummer with the support the troops ribbon/magnet. WTF???

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:20 PM

"No blood for oil"

I hope that all of you people who say this are walking or riding your bicycles.

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 04:18 PM

Amen - my favorite is the Hummer with the support the troops ribbon/magnet. WTF???

Posted by: | March 26, 2007 04:20 PM


More telecommuting!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:22 PM

Just think of the acronym if Lesbians Against Bush were stationed out of Alabama or Alaska!

Lesbians Against Bush In Alaska!

Okay, sorry, bad joke.

4:14, nice comeback! :-)

Posted by: Mona | March 26, 2007 4:23 PM

"I'll take Bill's morality over Bush's. It does me no good that Bush is faithful to his wife, because he is screwing he country" I am with you Emily and patrick have you ever been in a steel mill during the summer? Not exactly where you want to go to pick up a date.

Posted by: scarry | March 26, 2007 4:24 PM

More than 175,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. The vast majority of them will have no choice but to continue on with their everyday lives (i.e. work & responsibilities) no matter how much they might want to take some time off to be with friends and family. I think the Edwardses feel that they would in some ways be betraying the causes they support if they bowed out of the race now. John Edwards said "This isn't work. This is service."
The men and women of our military put country before life and family everyday in Iraq. Is it unfathomable that someone who aspires to hold the highest office of public service in our nation, might also be willing to put their country first? Is the American psyce that cynical? Obviously it is and perhaps rightfully so. But I believe that the Edwardses reasons for staying in the race are genuine. Their main themes (poverty, healthcare) have remained the same for years; even though they have rarely been the hot button issues du jour. I hope that Elizabeth Edwards lives for a long time and I hope that John Edwards wins the White House reunites our nation.

Posted by: caneiac01 | March 26, 2007 4:26 PM

You guys are killing me today.

Just out of curiosity, has anyone ever seen "Lesbians for Bush"?

Pardon the pun.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 26, 2007 4:30 PM

I must say I agree with Leslie, although not necessarily for the same reasons. If I were in Elizabeth Edwards' position I might well offer to continue campaigning, as a last gift to my husband. But a husband who accepts such a gift is without question holding an elected office as more valuable than time with his dying wife as well as their young children who are dealing with their mother dying. And that is a choice I cannot get behind.

Posted by: Leesburg | March 26, 2007 4:48 PM

Cultural Tidbit of the Day

Overlooked lines from classic movies.

ACTOR: "Now tell me honestly, my boy, don't you think it's rather unwise to continue this philanthropic enterprise, this Inquirer that's costing you a million dollars a year?"

ORSON WELLES: "You're right, Mr. Thatcher. I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in sixty years."

From Citizen Kane

"I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue."

Bogie in Casablanca on the Germans marching into Paris


McCrosky : "2 more minutes? They could be miles off course."
Kramer : "That's impossible they're on instruments!"

From Airplane

Tomorrow,

Tomorrow? there is no tomorrow!


Posted by: Fred | March 26, 2007 4:51 PM

Today's column has put me over the edge. If we support women having choices in how they balance their lives, we should support Elizabeth Edwards in her choice. She was a successful attorney before she was a political wife. She is accustomed to a busy life and career.

For those concerned about her leaving her small children, please consider the Edwards' enormous wealth. I suspect the children will be on the campaign trail regularly wtih tutors in tow. Elizabeth will get to be with her children and her husband throughout the campaign. This is her dream, too. She wants to leave a legacy she can feel good about, and for her, this means continuing to support the dreams she shares with her husband.

Posted by: Woman from NC | March 26, 2007 4:51 PM

I must say I agree with Leslie, although not necessarily for the same reasons. If I were in Elizabeth Edwards' position I might well offer to continue campaigning, as a last gift to my husband. But a husband who accepts such a gift is without question holding an elected office as more valuable than time with his dying wife as well as their young children who are dealing with their mother dying. And that is a choice I cannot get behind.

Posted by: Leesburg | March 26, 2007 04:48 PM

"without question". to think your clairvoyance is wasted on a danged blog. you should be playing the ponies, Leesburg.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:53 PM

Leesburg, There's no indication that Elizabeth Edwards is checking out anytime soon. She has an illness which with any luck can be managed for years with medical treatment. So the whole family should just put their lives on hold, waiting for her to die?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:53 PM

Leesburg et al,
See earlier posts. Been there. Done that.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:57 PM

I must say I agree with Leslie, although not necessarily for the same reasons. If I were in Elizabeth Edwards' position I might well offer to continue campaigning, as a last gift to my husband. But a husband who accepts such a gift is without question holding an elected office as more valuable than time with his dying wife as well as their young children who are dealing with their mother dying. And that is a choice I cannot get behind.

Posted by: Leesburg | March 26, 2007 04:48 PM

Edwards: OK, kids. Let's gather 'round. It's important that we all stay close to mommy for whatever time she has left.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Kids: Daddy, is it okay if we go out and play in the yard?

Edwards: Yes. But remember, every minute you spend playing the yard is a minute you could have spent with your mother.

[That's a healthy way to spend your last days, making every family member feel as though even time spent in the restroom should be avoided because it's time away from mom.]

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 5:02 PM

"So you and Leslie think that a husband going into politics is a sacrifice for the family. Some families actually SHARE the same views, rather than being adversarial toward one another's callings."

Isn't it though? A sacrifice, I mean? Look at all the people here today who viciously attack candidates' personal lives. There is no limit to the dirty laundry that gets out in the open. Even if the candidate him- or herself has clean hands, god help them if one of their staffers gets arrested with an underage prostitute.

I spent three years involved with a guy who has every intention of running for office, and one of the reasons I got out is because I didn't think I could handle the pressures. But I recognize that Elizabeth Edwards is made of a tougher material.

Posted by: not a mom | March 26, 2007 5:03 PM

Hey, not a mom, If you'd married your ex-guy and one of his staffers got caught with an underage prostitute, this wouldn't reflect adversely on YOU.

Going into politics is not a sacrifice unless you've made up your mind that it is.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 5:08 PM

Leslie,

Maybe you want to comment on this story. It's about a politician who scaled back his ambitions to achieve work/family balance.

http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=localnews&pnpID=573&NewsID=792300&CategoryID=742&on=1

What I find interesting is that you can't have it all (at the same time) even if you are a man instead of a woman.

Posted by: anon this time | March 26, 2007 5:09 PM

What I find interesting is that you can't have it all (at the same time) even if you are a man instead of a woman.

Posted by: anon this time | March 26, 2007 05:09 PM

this is so tired. The fact that anon this time can't doesn't speak to the capabilities of the rest of the universe.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 5:14 PM

Stick a fork in it, because it's done.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 26, 2007 5:17 PM

Fred, Loved the culture today. Are you now moving on to movies vs history and literature and the arts?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 26, 2007 5:19 PM

Tom was in his early 50's, retired and started a second career.
Unfortunately, he just couldn't seem to get to work on time. Every day
he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late. But he was a good worker, real sharp,
so
his boss was in a quandary about how to deal with his tardiness.
Finally, one day he called him into the office for a talk.
"Tom, I have to tell you that I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up
job, but your being late so often is quite bothersome."
"Yes, I know, sir, and I am working on it."
"Well, good, you are a team player. That's what I like to hear. It's
odd
though, your coming in late. I know you're retired from the Air Force.
What did they say if you came in late there?"
"They said, "Good morning, General."

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 26, 2007 5:21 PM

"Hey, not a mom, If you'd married your ex-guy and one of his staffers got caught with an underage prostitute, this wouldn't reflect adversely on YOU. Going into politics is not a sacrifice unless you've made up your mind that it is."

I disagree. Maybe it wouldn't reflect on me, but if it killed his chances of winning an election that we'd put our heart and soul into campaigning for, that would certainly affect me.

Ultimately I don't think Edwards has a real shot at winning the presidency. But I'm impressed that Elizabeth has enough faith in him to support his attempt, no matter how long the shot. All husbands should be so lucky.

Posted by: not a mom | March 26, 2007 5:36 PM

So when did having Cancer mean you are dying? Everyone pretty much has Mrs. Edwards dead already. Yes, having incurable cancer means her time is limited, but it doesn't mean she is going to die next week, next month or next year.

My dad is a Pancreatic and Lung cancer survivor and the last thing he wanted my mom and the rest of the family to do was come home to hold his hand and let him die. He wanted us to continue life just the way we were living. And he wanted to fight to live. It has been 6 years now and his fighting has paid off. And by the way, every Doctor told us my dad had a limited time to live. He still does, but he is living each day during the things he want to do. Not the things people tell him a cancer survivor should do.

Because Mrs. Edwards has chosen to fight cancer and do it in front of the public, we think she is putting her husband before her health. That is not the case here. Mrs. Edwards has chosen to live.

There will be tough days ahead for Mrs. Edwards, but I don't think her doctors have told anyone how long they expect her to live.

Before you buy your black dress and mourn the Mrs. Edwards, why not let her live a full life however long that might be.

Posted by: Can't Believe Your Post | March 26, 2007 6:04 PM

Does anyone know if a President has been widowed while in office?

I am a 45YO widow, and I for one would not want "the leader of the Free World" to be newly widowed. Unless you have experienced the death of a spouse, you can't imagine how irrational you become. People joke that they wouldn't want a premenopausal woman to president because they don't want PMS to be a factor in pushing the nuclear trigger. Trust me, grief is worse than PMS.

I wish the Edwardses all the best, and I would be inclined to vote for him. But if her cancer worsens and her death becomes an imminent reality (not just an existential one), I would choose a different candidate.

Posted by: WidowWoman | March 26, 2007 6:09 PM

To WidowWoman: No president has ever been widowed while in office, but Chester Arthur's wife died four years before he was elected vice president (taking over as president after James Garfield died in 1881).

On a separate note, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Posted by: not a mom | March 26, 2007 6:18 PM

Wasn't Woodrow Wilson widowed in office?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 6:42 PM

No, Woodrow Wilson had a stroke in office and his wife basically took over his duties

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 7:14 PM

When I first saw the Edwards's news on Friday, my initial reaction was that John should drop out of this race to be with Elizabeth. He is young, and will have other chances. However, the decision to continue or not is theirs, not ours, to make.

No one knows what they would decide in any situation until the circumstances present themselves.

Posted by: GS | March 26, 2007 7:26 PM

Actually, John Tyler was widowed in office. To paraphrase the whitehouse.gov biography, Letitia Tyler had been an invalid for two years when he took his oath in March 1841. Their daughter-in-law, Priscilla Cooper Tyler assumed the role of White House hostess at age 24. Letitia died September 1842.

Posted by: Marian | March 26, 2007 7:32 PM

Benjamin Harrison's wife, Caroline, also died while first lady. Their daughter, Mary Harrison McKee, acted as hostess for her father during his last months in office.

Posted by: Marian | March 26, 2007 7:37 PM

When Clinton lied, no one died.

Is that on your car next to the "Save the whales"?

actually, it's next to:

Support our Troops

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 7:53 PM

Isnt' this the Edwardses' decision to make? They seem like such a wonderful team, so devoted to each other and to our country. Let them live their lives as they wish. Hopefully, they will be our next president and first lady.

Posted by: Kathy | March 26, 2007 7:54 PM

I'm finding the history of the first ladies pretty interesting. It's also interesting that it seemed to be the practice for a younger woman relative to assume hostess duties. It's hard to imagine that happening these days, but certainly past presidents have set precedent for dealing with the loss of a spouse, both the personal and professional aspects.

From the White House Historical Association:

"Wearing the white dress she had purchased for her husband's inaugural ceremonies in March 1829, Rachel Donelson Jackson was buried at the Hermitage, her home near Nashville, Tennessee, on Christmas Eve,1828."

Rachel's niece took on the hostess duties at age 21.

Posted by: Marian | March 26, 2007 7:58 PM

Wilson's first wife, Ellen, died while he was in office. His wife, Edith, was the "Secret President."

Posted by: Marian | March 26, 2007 8:07 PM

To Ann S: my hat is off to you and your husband. You are both an inspiration.

Posted by: Kate | March 26, 2007 8:29 PM

"If you want to know why women aren't in positions of power, just come here. We'd rather pick at each other and pick apart their life choices. Why is my husband at the head of the pack? Because right now he is WORKING, not yapping about how Bob next door just got a lawn service or new crown moulding."

To whoever wrote the above: I really got a kick out of your statement. Have you ever worked in a mostly male environmnet? They are "catty," and constantly put each other down. The ones I worked with (6 figure sales earners) also whined a lot, too.

Of course, it doesn't mean that all men are that way, but they are human. They may look more "important" while they're engaging in this behavior, but it's all the same!

Posted by: Kate | March 26, 2007 8:35 PM

I met Clinton when I was 16 (he was not yet President). He did not give me any sexual feeling-- I don't think he was looking at any of us 16-year-olds sexually-- but, in about 3 seconds of shaking my hand, he looked deep into my eyes and managed to convey a message that was something like this: I see your true self and I utterly approve.

Other folks who shook his hand, male and female, said the same thing. It was like being in the room with a unicorn.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 26, 2007 8:53 PM

I met Clinton when I was 16 (he was not yet President).

Posted by: Neighbor | March 26, 2007 08:53 PM

ACK! I voted in not one but TWO elections that he was in...

But I do have to say, only seeing him giving a speech in a huge stadium, that he definitely *was* (and probably still is) electrifying. Truly had me at the edge of my seat. Quite eloquent.

Posted by: atlmom | March 26, 2007 9:18 PM

Yes, Clinton is a very accomplished liar and con man or is that woman?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 10:32 PM

Leslie- I think the Edwardses are committed to something that's BIGGER than themselves and their family. To me, this is proof that they are in this for all the right reasons (maybe the only ones). I thought your judgement of her choices was a bit self-centered. In all honesty, it doesn't matter what you would do. Is it possible that you feel the way you do because you're spending too much time away from home? I'm not presuming to know, but maybe you should give that some thought.

Posted by: runnermom | March 26, 2007 10:32 PM

I met Clinton when I was 16 (he was not yet President). He did not give me any sexual feeling-- I don't think he was looking at any of us 16-year-olds sexually-- but, in about 3 seconds of shaking my hand, he looked deep into my eyes and managed to convey a message that was something like this: I see your true self and I utterly approve.

Other folks who shook his hand, male and female, said the same thing. It was like being in the room with a unicorn.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 26, 2007 08:53 PM


This is one of the most absurd and silly things I have ever read.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 7:18 AM

This is one of the most absurd and silly things I have ever read.

Good, then we're tied, Dude.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 27, 2007 7:34 AM

What if Elizabeth Edwards was the US Senator/Presidential candidate and her husband John was terminally ill? Would she suspend her election hopes? Yes, very likely, otherwise she would be regarded as selfish, power hungry, and insensitive, regardless of the desires of her husband.

Posted by: Lansing, Michigan | March 27, 2007 8:36 AM

"When Clinton lied, nobody died." That is just so much crap! Clinton embarrassed the hell out of the entire country. He lied under oath. He publicly cheated on his wife, but apparently that OK with you folks. After all, The Wife is a *itch on wheels. He doesn't know the meaning of inappropriate behaviour. Big deal with that looking deep into your eyes while shaking your hand. He's a politician. They ALL do that. You expect a snake to crawl on its belly, then you expect a politician to lie, cheat, steal. This country is a great country in spite of its politicians, not because of them.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 9:17 AM

I couldn't let the last post be an anti-Clinton tirade. Clinton rocks!!!

Posted by: Emily | March 27, 2007 10:16 AM

Just a correction. Whoever said the youngest children of the Edwards travel with their parents and have tutors are wrong. They are in school in Chapel Hill and stay with a sitter at their home.

Posted by: Meg1 | March 27, 2007 10:34 AM

Meg1, you know this because you are . . . .?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2007 11:10 AM

Leslie, this is one of the silliest things you've written. The woman has lost a teenage son to a driving accident, been on the campaign trail for several years of her life, and has also battled cancer before. You show her a great disrespect in question her decision, one which she is much better prepared to make than you are. Why is it that women are always second-guessing each others personal decisions? Society just loves to infantilize women, look at the kind of advertising we put up with, and the way we constantly beat up on one another for the decisions we make. Men don't do this, and I look forward to the day when women know better.
Leslie, you should know better than this.

Posted by: rumicat | March 27, 2007 11:15 AM

"For those concerned about her leaving her small children, please consider the Edwards' enormous wealth. I suspect the children will be on the campaign trail regularly wtih tutors in tow. Elizabeth will get to be with her children and her husband throughout the campaign. This is her dream, too. She wants to leave a legacy she can feel good about, and for her, this means continuing to support the dreams she shares with her husband."

So because the Edwards family is wealthy and can afford nannies for their children that will balance out the fact that the parents are choosing to work unimaginably long hours, travel all over the country, and generally completely disrupt family life for the children? If they accompany their parents, the kids are uprooted from friends and school and routine, and if they stay at home as one reader suggested they do, they are without their parents.

Either way it is clear that the best interests of those children are not front and center here. I have yet to see a 6 or an 8 year old who care more about furthering a particular political ideology than they do about spending time with Mom and Dad. Especially during one of the most heartwrenchingly difficult times a child could endure--a mother who is dying.

The saddest part is that they don't have a shot at winning, but they are going to put their kids through this.

I like John Edwards' focus on improving the poverty situation in this country, and hope other candidates, both Republican and Democrat, pick it up. There are many people who can further particular political causes, but only two who can be parents to those kids.

Posted by: Leesburg | March 27, 2007 12:17 PM

Obviously Leslie would not choose to spend time on the campaign trail if she had cancer, as she does not spend time on the campaign trail now, being healthy. If politics were something Leslie had wanted to be involved with, she would have made different choices for her career. A better comparison might be this: If you had a diagnosis of treatable, but not curable, cancer, would you choose to continue living the life you have now, or would you choose to change your life.

Posted by: TEL | March 27, 2007 2:59 PM

I think the person who said the Edwards children traveled with John and Elizabeth and had tutors must have just made it up because she thought it made them sound more attentive. It's widely known here in NC that the kids attend public school. If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe John himself (from today's San Jose Mercury News):

Answering a reporter's question about whether he sees his children enough, Edwards answered: "I never feel I see my kids enough, completely independent of what's happening to Elizabeth." He said when he's away from home he talks to the youngsters many times a day and is planning to take them along on a campaign trip next week.

http://www.mercurynews.com/localnewsheadlines/ci_5529389

Posted by: Meg1 | March 27, 2007 5:39 PM

Incidentally, "next week" is spring break--schools are out in NC.

Posted by: Meg1 | March 27, 2007 5:44 PM

On meeting Bill Clinton: President Clinton also shook my hand once. It was early in his presidency and we was working the crowd after a session on Capitol Hill. I was lucky enough to be in the front row. That day I learned the definition of "charisma". He looked into my eyes, shook my hand, and I felt something powerful -- that feeling remained with me all day.

Sorry to those who think this is silly. It just has never happened to you.

Posted by: Jane | March 28, 2007 11:37 AM

Tony Snow's prognosis is pretty bad. I guess he should now leave his job and stay home holding hands with his wife and children while he waits to die.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 11:41 AM

Vienna mom said " If I knew my time on earth were limited, I would definitely want to spend it with my family..."

Hate to break it to you Vienna mom, your time on earth IS limited. Same for all of us. Elizabeth Edwards could live for ten years. Ms. Steiner seems to be judging her and her family for declining to give up all their goals and interests other than... what? Having a perpetual family picnic in the backyard for the next decade? Does that sufficiently meet Steiner's standard of how much time a woman with incurable cancer should spend with her family?

Maybe she enjoys what she's doing. Maybe she believes in her husband's campaign and wants to make a positive impact on the future of this country by helping him get elected before she passes away. It's not our place to judge or really even speculate. And I don't think any of us should act like we actually know what we would do in her situation. Not only do we not know the particulars of her condition and her life, those of us who have not been in this situation have no idea what effect this kind of life-altering news would have on us.

Posted by: Jen in Takoma Park | April 3, 2007 10:07 AM

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