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Elizabeth Edwards Joins Center for American Progress

Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) remains on the political sidelines but that isn't stopping his wife, Elizabeth, from rejoining the fray as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Elizabeth Edwards will be dealing with health care issues at the progressive think tank founded by John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. In her new role, Edwards, who has gained a considerable following in the liberal blogosphere thanks to her willingness to vocally oppose conservative politicos from Sen. John McCain to commentator Ann Coulter, will also be contributing to CAP's blog.

"As many can attest, I have an opinion on everything," Edwards said tonight about her new role. "But I am particularly concerned about the state of health care in America and I am grateful to CAP for giving me the chance to continue to advocate for universal and quality health care coverage for all."

Podesta, for his part, praised Elizabeth Edwards as one of the "most effective, tenacious, and caring spokespeople for progressive policies in the country."

During the 2008 campaign of her husband, Elizabeth Edwards emerged as a leading voice -- thrust into the role in many ways due to the public spotlight shone on her when it was revealed that the breast cancer she had battled in the wake of the 2004 campaign had returned in an incurable form.

Despite reports that John Edwards would drop from the race to care for his wife, the couple pledged to continue the campaign and Elizabeth remained an active participant both publicly and privately in her husband's bid. Elizabeth was widely credited with pushing her husband to propose big (and costly) solutions to long-term problems facing the country -- most notably fixing the health care system and addressing the issue of poverty.

She also regularly made news in the campaign with her willingness to speak frankly. Among Edwards' greatest hits: telling Salon that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) was not as strong an advocate for women as she could be, her call into a live edition of "Hardball with Chris Matthews" to reprimand Coulter for making "personal attacks" against her husband, and, most recently, her stark criticism of McCain's health care proposal.

In addition to her role at CAP, Edwards will also be a visiting fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, delivering a speech on Wednesday and meeting with students and professors.

No word yet on whether (or when) her husband will decide to endorse in the contest between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.).

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 7, 2008; 8:50 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party  
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Next: Obama Prepares for Fight With McCain


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Posted by: almcdwp qvnhepr | May 7, 2008 4:14 AM | Report abuse

There are reports that Colin Powell may soon endorse Sen. Obama. Powell is a decent man but his testimony before the UN as to mobile weapons of mass destruction was shameful.

Curious how Obama supporters would view that endorsement: as never mine or no thanks.

Personally I would not want the HC campaign to be in any way associated with his deception or association with W's failed Iraq policies and Powell's testimony as a precursor to the quagmire in Iraq. Would Senator Obama now trust Powell's flawed military judgment or reject it out of hand?

Looking for an honest, objective opinion by an Obama supporter.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 10, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

FYI on EE and her expert opinion:

Elizabeth Edwards, who discovered last year that the cancer she thought she had beaten had returned, said she prefers Clinton's health care plan, which would require everyone to have health insurance and offers assistance to those who can't afford to buy coverage.

Obama's plan requires all parents to have health insurance for their children, but doesn't mandate that all adults buy coverage.

"I do think that in order to ensure that we have universal coverage we need to say that everybody has to join, so for that reason the mandates that Senator Clinton is talking about I think will actually be more successful in achieving the goal," Elizabeth Edwards said.

Posted by: Dave! | April 9, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

marratha - "If you think that you can get more people to pay attention to you while speaking on the same subject, then by all means, feel free to do so. The more voices out there calling for "health care for all Americans", the better chance we'll have of getting it."

I didn't say she shouldn't or couldn't speak out on that subject. My point was that her opinions mean no more than mine - she is not "uniquely qualified" [the point I was addressing from drindl] to speak on the subject. Because of her celebrity status (completely via her husband), you are correct that she can certainly draw more attention to issues than I could (currently, although I hope to be famous some day!). But that does not mean that her ideas are better or even good. Or that they are somehow immune from criticism. Because Edwards says there should be "health care for all Americans" does not mean that idea is a given and there can be no debate about it. There are many people, me included, that defintely do not believe in a "right to healthcare". That does not mean that we think only the rich should have it or that the current system is flawless or even acceptable.

You imply she is not promoting a particular plan or approach and I think that is incorrect. Her husband has/had a definite idea on what he wanted and she was instrumental in his campaign and they both campaigned on it. If you are telling me that she has deviated from what they both were saying on the campaign trail, please cite it. Otherwise, my take is that she is promoting and pushing the "Edwards" healthcare plan.

Posted by: Dave! | April 9, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Dave -- she's not looking to present herself as an expert. She's lending her "celebrity" to the cause. Face it -- people are more likely to listen to a well-known person over Joe Nobody off the street. That's the way our culture is wired, after all.

If a well-known person (like Mrs. Edwards) steps forward and draws more attention to the fact that millions of Americans have no health care coverage -- and the fact that many of those same people, with previously-diagnosed conditions, will not be able to get that coverage they require to treat their conditions, should McCain's plan become reality -- I say, more power to her.

She's not claiming that she should be covered under McCain's (or whoever's) health plan. Her concern is for people *like her* (ie, those unfortunates who have been diagnosed with cancer and the like, a/k/a "previously-diagnosed conditions"), who are uninsured and uninsurable or subject to being dropped under current insurance plans, and McCain's proposed plan does nothing to address that.

If you think that you can get more people to pay attention to you while speaking on the same subject, then by all means, feel free to do so. The more voices out there calling for "health care for all Americans", the better chance we'll have of getting it.

Posted by: marratha | April 9, 2008 2:22 AM | Report abuse

drindl - "And her experience of the health care system makes her uniquely qualified to speak on behalf of health care consumers and medical patients."

A very rich woman who has access to virtually any medical need does not qualify her for anything to do with health care consumers and medical patients, at least any more than me who has also participated in being sick (and given her financial position, I think I am more qualified). I hate having to agree with Ann Coulter sentiment but being a sympathetic figure does not an expert make. If you get sick, you do not suddenly become an expert on healthcare or diseases. If a family member is killed by a drunk driver, that does not make you uniquely qualified on driving, being drunk, drunk driving, death or anti-drunk driving legislation. Pain and hardship does not equal expertise.

Posted by: Dave! | April 8, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Would someone pls tell me what EE's new position implies about anything related to the campaign or to the democratic party. She is a strong and capable person, despite of or perhaps because of that being a cancer survivor does to you, and hopefully this new association gives her the opportunity to make more of an impact. As regards to healthcare more generally, why do we bicker over which health care plan is "better," when the key issue is which health care plan, or what type of healthcare plan, has the real possibility of getting through Congress. HIllary's mandates are almost sure no-go unless there is a big Dem. majority. /why pretend to the American people that the competing political proposals may not be a winnable fight.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I know so many Obama followers spend a lot of time bullying people into endorsing Obama, but Edwards should hook up with Hillary because she is the only candidate who has talked directly to the issues important to John and Elizabeth- poverty, health care, education.

Obama says very little about those issues, except in grandiose speeches that have no substance.

Hillary has kept her promise to John, Obama has not. I'd prefer Edwards not endorse anyone right now. It will not to his advantage right now.

Posted by: stefanie | April 8, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Elizabeth Edwards is one terrific woman -- an example of pure courage. Anyone with an understanding of Stage 4 cancer can attest that it's quite miraculous that she gives what she does.

And her experience of the health care system makes her uniquely qualified to speak on behalf of health care consumers and medical patients.

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

gbook once again you repeat an old story that has been resolved.
Interesting that yesterday we read repeated posts about the Ohio woman who was refused hospital care. Seems like the HC slams here are hit and run. Even when the media (MSNBCs) and Mika Brazinsky retracted her slam from yesterday regarding that story,we don't read those same corrections here CZ.

When it comes to slamming HC here anything goes even when the news media corrects its story and the damage is done. The slam is on page 1 the correction buried without even a never mind. When I warned yesterday not so fast about that story I was met with liar,liar.
Where is the correcting story this morning or do we not do corrections here?

mark I can t believe Memphis blowing it on foul shooting after Memphis destroyed UT but sid Kansas.Will Augustine leave?

Logan you were the one pushing the Ohio story and that Elizabeth Edwards should be endorsing Sen Obama. You were wrong on both stories should we expect a correction or apology, or do you feel that any HC slam even when incorrect is acceptable?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Edwards should endorse Obama because with the Clintons, it is politics as usual.

Media reports: Mark Penn steps down -- which gives the false impression that he is no longer affiliated with the Clinton campaign. False. It is Missleading, a disservice and Dishonest for the Media to claim that Mark Penn has been fired or has stepped down or that he will not be affilated with the campaign. Maggie Williams' statement is "After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign. " From the following statement it is accurate for the Media to say he has been DEMOTED!

In a lack of their duty to inform, some in the media do not question Hillary, when they do an interview of her or her campaign staff, why he is still on the conference calls, and if he has stepped down what exactly is Penn's role in the campaign since he is still on morning conference calls, but rather dismiss this question, as if he has really gone. This is a derelict of the Media's duty to the Public!

There are some true reporters, however, like Candy Crowley and Linda Douglas and others, who report this Sharade for what it is -- a minor Demotion, in title only, yet his duties will still be the same. If they say he has stepped down, then he should step down for Real, not be on Morning Conference Calls. However, THAT IS NOT WHAT MAGGIE WILLIAMS SAID, "he has been asked to" GIVE UP HIS TITLE, BUT HE WILL STILL ADVISE!

Posted by: Angellight | April 8, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Mark, I was watching. Think I'm going to need extra coffee today, but that's all right. What a game. What a finish. Just wish I could have been on Mass. Ave. or Westport Rd. last night for the party. Rock chalk to all my Big Blue compatriots.

Also, I'm glad to see EE back in it. Good for her. CAP is doing yeoman work for all the right causes, and EE should fit right in. (Although it needs to be said that the plans pushed by EE and HRC and BHO all are all insufficient -- we need single-payer, period, and I hope EE starts pushing for that.)

Posted by: novamatt | April 8, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, I would like to hear your take on Bob Barr's likely run for president. How much will this affect McCain? Will there be another candidate from the right?

Posted by: Ram | April 8, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps, if Hillary and Barack continue to tear each other apart, we the voters should take another look at her husband. This could happen if A) Super delegates stop endorsing a particular candidate B) Edwards gets nominated at the convention. He has delegates so that should not be a problem, and C)After the first vote at the convention delegates are no longer bound to the candidate they came to support. On the second ballot, nominate Edwards. Win the election rather than watch McCain win it.

Posted by: Opa | April 8, 2008 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps, if Hillary and Barack continue to tear each other appart, we the voters should take another look at her husband. This could happen if A) Super delegates stop endorsing a particular candidate B) Edwards gets nominated at the convention. He has delegates so that should not be a problem, and C)After the first vote at the convention delegates are no longer bound to the candidate they came to support. On the second ballot, nominate Edwards. Win the election rather than watch McCain win it.

Posted by: Opa | April 8, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Hey Claudine, nice how you pepper your pernicious post with false statements. Clinton supporters would like Edwards' endorsement as much as we Obama supporters. At this point, Clinton needs any endorsement she can get.

I must say though, if Edwards waits much longer, his endorsement will be a moot point. Clinton is behind by 25% in the NC polls and falling every day. If Obama makes it close in PA and blows Clinton away in NC, nobody will care who he endorses.


Posted by: PeixeGato | April 8, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Dear CC:

Recently you have treated us to video of Barack Obama being cross at a rude man who pestered him for a photo. You even insinuated that there was virtually no news value to this.

Politico reported a week ago that HRC hasn't paid $250K for her staff's health care premium -- at the same time that she's running around PA telling a (false) sob story about a woman being turned away from the ER because she didn't have health care AND a few days before the Clintons revealed they'd earned $109 million over the past few years. She's got $5 million to lend her campaign -- don't you think the apparent hypocrisy between her stated ambition for health care and her practice of leaving her staff -- her most loyal supporters -- in the cold should be examined? Or are these blogs just going to focus on gossip?

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 8, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Heckuva game. Two best teams UT played this year, and Memphis finally came back to earth on their foul shooting.

Novamatt, hope you were watching.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 8, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

well mark in Austin the Big 12 champ Kansas just pulled the big upset to win the natl chapionship. U.T. should be proud to have finished second in the big 12 to the Jayhawks. Hook Em mark.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

So why should John Edwards have to endorse
anyone? I get so damn sick of these arrogant pushy Toxic Obama Kool Aid Drinkers Obamabots Trying To Force Everyone
To Endorse Barack Hussein Obama,that cocaine addict,pathological liar phony!

Posted by: Claudine | April 7, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

interesting you would say tht Logan since Elizabeth Edwrds said a week ago on the Today Show that she prefers Hillary's healthcare plsn but hey you know better then Ms. Edwards.I am sure we can give you that link Logan.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

John Edward should ensorse Obama... Hillary Clinton has nothing to do with the blue collars. She has not worked with them on the street to help them finding jobs as Barack Obama did! She had loaned her own campaign millions of dollars (much more than a regular blue collar will make in his life time) coming from the lobbyists she is working for (and who do not have generally the interest of working people in mind) while Barack Obama's campaign is fully financed by small donors. Barack Obama is the man of the people, while Hillary Clinton is part of a dynasty and who would not be in this race without the name of her husband and the support from the establishment and lobbyists. Her staff is lobbying for foreign organizations like Mark Penn's lobby for trade agrreement with Colombia, etc.

Posted by: Logan | April 7, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

The Center for American Progress is a joke, but a joke of the good variety: they keep getting things wrong or making childlike arguments, thereby helping discredit themselves. See, for example, the recent false claim of plagiarism they leveled against McCain and then had to retract. They might also have made another major error more recently, but I haven't verified that (the "two-bit security guard" quote)

One of their Senior Fellows - who's married to someone who used to head a group that assisted the MexicanGovernment pass out IDCards to those who are here illegally - recently appeared to libel not just one but two politicians over at ThinkProgress:

They recently came up with a dishonest scheme to sell amnesty:

I could go on, but if you want to see several other examples search for their name at my site. They're a joke that just keeps giving.

And, for just one of the many examples I could provide of John and/or Elizabeth not telling the whole truth, see this:

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | April 7, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

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