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Edwards and Wife Upbeat in Face of Tough Medical News

Former Sen. John Edwards dispelled any speculation Thursday that he would curtail his presidential campaign activities after he and his wife, Elizabeth, revealed at a press conference in Chapel Hill that her cancer has returned.

After spending several harrowing days waiting for the results of medical exams, the couple seemed remarkably upbeat and positive in asserting that the return of the cancer would not seriously alter the schedules of either of them.

"The campaign goes on," said Edwards. "We've been confronted with these kind of traumas already in our life." Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after the 2004 election. The couple's teenage son, Wade, was killed in a car accident in 1996.

Elizabeth Edwards said the it is "unbelievably important that we get this election right." She added: "It's not about John Edwards. If it were it would be easy to give it up."

By Eric Pianin  |  March 22, 2007; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wag The Blog: Will Gore Run?
Next: The Edwards Factor: What We Know and Don't Know

Comments

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | March 24, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Why don't we all just say: "There but for the grace of God go I"? May the Lord bless Mrs. Edwards as she goes on her journey. Everyone else, just chill. Wish her well, please. It is not fun, for her or her family. Thank you.

Posted by: d.deedy | March 23, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

11:08, 09, 10, and 12pm Posts ARE NOT by me, lylepink. Same on Should Gore Run. Have Fun whover you are.

Posted by: lylepink | March 23, 2007 1:43 AM | Report abuse

This whole story is really sad, but it can't keep me from mentioning Hillary, IMO our next POTUS.

Why, just last night I had the strangest dream. Hillary and I were on the Starship Enterprise, and she was Captain Kirk. I was Spock. The stretchy uniform really did wonders for her sagging figure, and it was only logical for me to gaze longingly at her as I was sharpening my ears.

Soon enough, I thought to myself. Soon enough you'll be on T.J. Hooker, and I will concentrate on my art. But tonight, Captain, tonight is for us. I must have been thinking out loud, because Hillary / Kirk turned to me and brayed lovingly, "Let's continue the conversation." Most logical, I thought to myself, and my pulse quickened as my eyes followed the wrinkles in her throat down past her adam's apple to where they disappeared in her sensible Starfleet blouse.

Suddenly, she turned, as the loudspeaker blared "Cap'n! Cap'n! The voting blocks! Thar brreakin' oop! I canna hold 'em no more!" She stood quickly, practically, bleating something about a "vast intergalactic conspiracy" and disappeared down the hatchway.

When I woke up, my sheets were all sticky.

This is why I support Hillary so strongly. She floatus my POTUS.

Posted by: lylepink | March 22, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

This whole story is really sad, but it can't keep me from mentioning Hillary, IMO our next POTUS. Why, just last night I had the strangest dream. Hillary and I were on the Starship Enterprise, and she was Captain Kirk. I was Spock. The stretchy uniform really did wonders for her sagging figure, and it was only logical for me to gaze longingly at her as I was sharpening my ears. Soon enough, I thought to myself. Soon enough you'll be on T.J. Hooker, and I will concentrate on my art. But tonight, Captain, tonight is for us. I must have been thinking out loud, because Hillary / Kirk turned to me and brayed lovingly, "Let's continue the conversation." Most logical, I thought to myself, and my pulse quickened as my eyes followed the wrinkles in her throat down past her adam's apple to where they disappeared in her sensible Starfleet blouse. Suddenly, she turned, as the loudspeaker blared "Cap'n! Cap'n! The voting blocks! Thar brreakin' oop! I canna hold 'em no more!" She stood quickly, practically, bleating something about a "vast intergalactic conspiracy" and disappeared down the hatchway.

When I woke up, my sheets were all sticky.

This is why I support Hillary so strongly. She floatus my POTUS.

Posted by: lyle | March 22, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

This whole story is really sad, but it can't keep me from mentioning Hillary, our next POTUS. Why, just last night I had the strangest dream. Hillary and I were on the Starship Enterprise, and she was Captain Kirk. I was Spock. The stretchy uniform really did wonders for her sagging figure, and it was only logical for me to gaze longingly at her as I was sharpening my ears. Soon enough, I thought to myself. Soon enough you'll be on T.J. Hooker, and I will concentrate on my art. But tonight, Captain, tonight is for us. I must have been thinking out loud, because Hillary / Kirk turned to me and brayed lovingly, "Let's continue the conversation." Most logical, I thought to myself, and my pulse quickened as my eyes followed the wrinkles in her throat down past her adam's apple to where they disappeared in her sensible Starfleet blouse. Suddenly, she turned, as the loudspeaker blared "Cap'n! Cap'n! The voting blocks! Thar brreakin' oop! I canna hold 'em no more!" She stood quickly, practically, bleating something about a "vast intergalactic conspiracy" and disappeared down the hatchway.

When I woke up, my sheets were all sticky.

This is why I support Hillary so strongly. She floatus my POTUS.

Posted by: lyle_pink | March 22, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

This whole story is really sad, but it can't keep me from mentioning Hillary, our next POTUS. Why, just last night I had the strangest dream. Hillary and I were on the Starship Enterprise, and she was Captain Kirk. I was Spock. The stretchy uniform really did wonders for her sagging figure, and it was only logical for me to gaze longingly at her as I was sharpening my ears. Soon enough, I thought to myself. Soon enough you'll be on T.J. Hooker, and I will concentrate on my art. But tonight, Captain, tonight is for us. I must have been thinking out loud, because Hillary / Kirk turned to me and brayed lovingly, "Let's continue the conversation." Most logical, I thought to myself, and my pulse quickened as my eyes followed the wrinkles in her throat down past her adam's apple to where they disappeared in her sensible Starfleet blouse. Suddenly, she turned, as the loudspeaker blared "Cap'n! Cap'n! The voting blocks! Thar brreakin' oop! I canna hold 'em no more!" She stood quickly, practically, bleating something about a "vast intergalactic conspiracy" and disappeared down the hatchway.

When I woke up, my sheets were all sticky.

This is why I support Hillary so strongly. She floatus my POTUS.

Posted by: lylepink. | March 22, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

RL: I am the prime backer of Hillary on this blog and your comments are expected. The only thing for you to do is get over your hate for this wonderful woman, Hillary. Hate is a disease of the mind, and completely different from what Mrs. Edwards suffers, a disease of the body. My prayers go out to the Edwards family.

Posted by: lylepink | March 22, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Repub, and I wouldn't dream of doing anything other than wishing the best for the Edwards. I suspect the vast majority of negative posters, as is true of the vast majority of WaPo commenters are Dems, albeit backers of Hillary, Obama, etc. Most Repubs -- I am not one of them -- would prefer Edwards as an opponent. I will comment that if this was Hillary, people WOULD believe it is a stunt, because she has zero credibility. But when Edwards does it, the vast majority take it at face value, because he hasn't exausted his good will with wild eyed claims about conspiracies.

Posted by: RL | March 22, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Traditional U.S. alleopathic medical care never healed anyone of anything. If Elizabeth Edwards wants to be rid of her cancer for good, she must seek alternative means of healing. The U.S. has the most advanced medical care in the world, yet our life expectancy ranks lower than over forty-five countries. The top three countries have almost primitive health care. Thus proving the AMA is nothing but a bunch of over paid quacks and prescription drugs are nothing but poison.

Posted by: KEVIN SCHMIDT, STERLING VA | March 22, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"It's important that the American people have the opportunity to have a president like him and I cannot deprive him of that because I want to sit home perfectly well but wanting his company," a smiling Elizabeth Edwards, 57, said.


"As far as we're concerned, this is just another day to raise money," fundraiser Lee Hamilton said before the announcement.

Posted by: sad but true | March 22, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

God bless the Edwards family during this very difficult time.

What I saw today was a couple madly in love with each other and willing to fight the good fight together. I wish their values were more prevalent both in marriages in America today.

Posted by: values matter in the QCs | March 22, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

What a shame that so many feel the need to bash Mr. and Mrs. Edwards. He is not my first choice for President, but I respect the love they have for one another and would never doubt their sincerity in making their announcement. You would think that repugs would not post negative comments about them in a show of respect for her illness--but I guess nothing is too low for you people. You make me sick. Would you prefer that Edwards press conference be an announcement to his wife that he was divorcing her--like Rudy's was? Or maybe John Edwards could divorce his wife while she is in the hospital getting cancer treatment like Newt Gingrich did to wife #2? The fact that you could spew your hate at two people who are suffering is really sickening.

Posted by: Jackie Eschbach | March 22, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

there is cause for guarded optimism. but it is still tough sledding, and i don't feel they gave the situation its due. that's their choice and they have their reasons, but i don't think they should be immune from those who wish to comment upon it.

Posted by: exactly right | March 22, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

are you in kindergarten?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

coward, always manages to stoop to the lowest lib common denominator when it comes to President Bush or the current administration's motives . carrion eaters, vultures, hyenas -- ugly ugly ugly

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 22, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

proud to be stupid - always manages to stoop to the lowest gop common denominator. carrion eaters, vultures, hyenas -- ugly ugly ugly

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree, some pretty poor form shown by some posters, but I expected this. Shameless political stunt hey? Yeah, maybe they made it up, maybe the cancer hasn't returned at all! Moron.
Should they have made no announcement at all, and wait for the press to spread the rumours themselves? No. They did what they thought was right, and given what they've been through it's up to them to decide how they deal with this news and how to release it, not some gutless internet geek.

My thoughts go out to the Edwards family.

Posted by: Aussie view | March 22, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

actually, i've had numerous loved ones who have survived cancers (my father, x3), and been taken by them (one of my dearest and oldest friends, over two years ago by a ravaging colon cancer).

i find it not such a good thing to have someone of edwards' stature say that a loved one's recurrent, incurable cancer is "contained in the bone, which is a good thing." i believe that is a precise quote, and i am flummoxed by it. i commend their bravery, and i commend her strong feelings about her husband's great heart for leading this country - but i fear we will find that the information we got this day was inconsistent at best, misleading at worst. people are living longer in this situation, it's true. there is cause for guarded optimism. but it is still tough sledding, and i don't feel they gave the situation its due. that's their choice and they have their reasons, but i don't think they should be immune from those who wish to comment upon it.

Posted by: kap | March 22, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

To the people posting some of the shameful comments here today - if you ever had a loved one suffer from cancer, you'd realize how callous your comments are. Some things are actually above political calculation, believe it or not. Shame on you, truly.

Posted by: rs | March 22, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

If I'm wrong, correct me, but metastatic breast cancer that has spread to the bones is a Stage IV cancer - I don't believe you can parse it any other way. So I heard two very different things today. I heard of optimism, which is always necessary in the face of illness, but I also heard that this presidential campaign is going to go full steam despite the very recent discovery that the candidate's wife has Stage IV metastatic breast cancer that can only be treated in a palliative manner. There is no cure, and there will be no remission. They will keep the pain minimal and stave off expansion as best they can. Some meds seem to have an effect in depressing the development of further mets, so that's great. But statistics seem to indicate that only something like 25% of women in this category survive for five years or longer -nowhere near a majority. I fear I heard unrealistic optimism today, and I'm not sure why that was the path chosen.

It is also known that pathologic bone fracture is a key sign of bone metastases, the ribs being a typical site for breast cancer to spread. Yet Mrs. Edwards made a point of blessing her broken rib, and even indicated it was absolutely apart from the cancer, which was on the opposite side of the body. I don't think most doctors would support that assumption regarding a rib fracture. Maybe all the tests had been done to lock down that determination, but I'm curious about the overarching dichotomies in what we heard today. I am simply startled to hear anyone describe stage IV cancer "contained in the bone" as a good thing, or better than cancer in soft tissue. For the purposes of describing cancer, the skeleton itself is an organ, like the liver or lungs. Again - if I'm wrong, I'm sorry, and God knows I wish her all the best. I just think the better course might have been a very terse written announcement, and about a month off the campaign trail while this stuff was all completely determined by doctors.

Posted by: kap | March 22, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

This is the utmost preposterous and myopic low-level that politicians can get to garner public attention and win sympathy for political mileage. Edwards is the most calculating politician after Hillary. He co-sponsored the Iraq war bill that's killed thousands of lives even with his wife's insistency not to....so as to appear strong. He lost badly...so next time he comes apologizing...as though that apology returns to Iraqis their normal lives and dead relatives-so as to appeal to the anti-war movement. The public has not bought his apology so now this stunt? Despicable!

Posted by: kemi | March 22, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

mountain man, you are to be congratulated. In only three words, you reveal yourself to be a remarkably insensitive and uncharitable person.

Your colleagues--Isaiah and proudtobeGOP and, to a lesser extent, freeDom--were much less efficient, requiring whole paragraphs to establish themselves in this way.

Did you even listen to what they said in the press conference re why they chose to hold the press conference or to what they said about her prognosis, the (non)effects of her continued participation in the campaign, and their shared beliefs in the importance of continuing the campaign.

Posted by: THS | March 22, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Shameless political stunt!

Posted by: mountain man | March 22, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Whatever you think of his candidacy, the notion that Edwards staged this for publicity is moronic. They've been upfront about her condition from the beginning and trying to hide it now would be futile anyway. Moreover, her disease now is one that can only be managed, not cured, and noone knows for how long. It could be many years. Should they just shut down their lives waiting for her to die?

Posted by: gladyourGOP | March 22, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe people think this is a attention grabbing stunt. I think the Edward's explained what happened in a graceful way. Of course they needed to tell people what was going on -- that way if she is feeling tired or doesn't come to an event people will realize what is going on instead of speculating that there is trouble in their marriage. It is not their fault that the media jumped to conclusions (led by the crowd over at Politico.)

Posted by: Teresa | March 22, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Why a press conference? It is pointless to try to keep things such as this private; it simply wouldn't work. Given that, the question is how to discuss it in public.

Mrs. Edwards said that they chose a press conference rather than a press release because they wanted people to see that she is feeling fit and well and has the energy and optimism to confront what she must confront. The press conference did, indeed, make that clear.

Posted by: THS | March 22, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree, freeDom. My opinion of Edwards just went lower, if that's possible.

I can't believe he is saying this 'would not seriously alter the schedules of either of them'.

What next...his wife stumping with him with a scarf on her head? This is a new low even for him, especially after repeatedly stating he would run only after she got a 'clean bill of health' from her doctors.

I guess it's a brilliant political move for this dem.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 22, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

An "attention grabbing ploy"? I doubt it .. it was a chance to get things out in the open, before rumors started .. it had to be an intensely difficult and personal decision, one they both made .. and they handled it with class. I wish Mrs. Edwards strength, and I'm happy that a candidate remains in the race, to push and generate debate on the issues.

Posted by: Mark H | March 22, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

First and foremost, I hope and pray that Elizabeth will be alright. She is a wonderful and inspirational woman.

Now cutting to the chase, it is remarkable what some people will do to get ahead in tough campaigns. Team Edwards has been stuck in third place and getting zero media attention. So they call a press conference to say that Elizabeth is sick (and that they are both heading immediately after to Boston and NY for fundraisers).

There is no doubt in my mind that this campaign decided to use Elizabeth's illness to garner political attention. And even that does not surprise me.

What's surprising is that everybody calls Hillary calculating, while the other campaigns pull stunt after stunt.

Posted by: Isaiah | March 22, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

This was kind of odd - an attention-grabbing ploy for Edwards. Obviously, I wish the best for Mrs. Edwards. However, why make such a big fuss out of it if it's not changing his campaign? I think we all would like to know about Mrs. Edwards condition, but this seems deliberately staged as a political announcement, garnering all of the attention and with the formality of a major campaign announcement. It seems like they used it to get some much-needed attention.

With Easly term-limited in NC, why doesn't Edwards run for governor there? It seems like a better bet than president.

Posted by: freeDom | March 22, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Let me assure you, the most underestimated political asset that any candidate can have is an Elizabeth Edwards. She appeals universally to women, both traditionalists and modernists. She totally belies the image that Edwards' detractors would like to create of Edwards being a rich guy who is disconnected with the working stiffs he presumes to champion.

My wife will fight you if you say anything bad about Elizabeth, and by extension, anything derogatory about her husband, who is perceived as loving and devoted husband to a smart and talented "non-trophy" non-size 3 wife.

Posted by: Henly, Tx | March 22, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

With Hillary and Obama tearing each other apart -- nice rundown at http://www.solidpolitics.com -- Edwards has a great opportunity to pull ahead of both of them.

Posted by: William | March 22, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

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