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John Edwards Bio

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Many Americans recognize John Edwards as the second coming of Jimmy Carter; the soft-spoken Democratic Senator from the south. They know him as the running mate of John Kerry in his 2004 Presidential campaign. But before the North Carolina Senator entertained aspirations of President or Vice-President of the United States, John Edwards made a name for himself as a successful trial lawyer, a strong husband and father, and charismatic politician.

Born in Seneca, South Carolina on June 10th 1953, Johnny Reid Edwards was raised a Methodist and learned the values of hard work and perseverance from his father, Wallace and mother, Bobbie, while growing up in Robbins, North Carolina. Working alongside his father in the textile mill, John was taught that all Americans should be treated equally and that the voice of every man and woman in the United States should be heard. He grew up without the benefit of a private school education, something of which Edwards is, to this day, extremely proud. He was the first of his family to go to college. John attended North Carolina State University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1974 with a BS in textile technology, an impressive accomplishment by any standard. But given the values of hard work and perseverance learned by his parents, John Edwards did not quit his schooling after a BS from NC State. He continued on to the University of North Carolina (at Chapel Hill) where he graduated their law program Cum Laude in 1977. While attending law school at UNC, he met his wife, Elizabeth Anania, whom he married in 1977.

John Edwards dedicated his professional life to helping those who couldn't help themselves. Following his graduation from law school, John Edwards spent a year clerking for the office of Judge Franklin Dupree, Jr. of the United States District Court (Eastern District). In 1978, he accepted an associate position working for the firm of Dearborn and Ewing, where he practiced law for three years. He jumped ship to work for another firm, Tharrington, Smith and Hargrove, a position he held for two years before being promoted to partner at that firm. He continued as a partner at Tharrington, Smith and Hargrove until 1992, when he left to start his own law practice with fellow lawyer, David Kirby. Edwards and Kirby practiced together for five years, until Edwards decided to try his hand at politics and give the people he'd spent twenty years fighting for a louder voice.

On November 3rd 1998, John Edwards was elected to the office of United States Senate, defeating Republican incumbent, Lauch Faircloth. In Congress, Senator Edwards quickly emerged as a champion for the issues that make a difference to American families: quality health care, better schools, protecting civil liberties, preserving the environment, saving Social Security and Medicare, and reforming the ways campaigns are financed. As a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Edwards worked tirelessly for a strong national defense, and strengthening the security of our homeland. He authored key pieces of legislation on Internet and port security, as well as biological terrorism. During the latter part of 2001 and throughout 2002, Edwards engaged in serious politicking, and on January 2, 2003, he announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, declaring himself a champion for regular folks. On September 16th 2003, in front of the old Milliken Mill (his father's workplace of thirty-six years) in Robbins, North Carolina, Sen. Edwards formally announced his candidacy for President during the 2004 elections. Although there was no rule or law against his inhabitance of a Senate seat while running for President, John Edwards announced that he would not seek re-election, so that he could focus all of his efforts toward his Presidential campaign.

Some viewed Edwards as a very viable candidate, given his success as a Senator in North Carolina. He also had a strong African-American constituency, which he began building during his 1998 Senate campaign. He was a respected Democrat from the south, who, if receiving his party's nomination, could pose problems for the Bush administration's hopes for a second term in office. Regarding national security, Edwards had built a record as a moderate. He voted in favor of the Patriot Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Iraq war resolution, but did not maintain as high a profile in pushing those through to passage as did fellow candidates Sen. Joseph Lieberman, and Rep. Richard Gephardt. Edwards' subsequent criticisms of Attorney General John Ashcroft and President Bush caused the most serious flaps of his campaign; since he supported the initiatives he now criticizes the two men for handling. Sen. Edwards also faced repeated questions about the inconsistency between his vow to "vote for what needs to be there to support our troops" at the time of the Iraq war resolution and his vote against President Bush's emergency supplemental request of $87 billion. Edwards claims that the spending bill was "a blank check," and that denying it would force the president to present Congress with a clarified strategy.

After a successful campaign against fellow Democrats Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Howard Dean and several others contending for the nomination, Sen. Edwards, gracefully bowed out of the race in early March 2004, after it became evident that Sen. Kerry would win their party's nomination. Following Sen. Kerry's victory in the primaries, he needed to select a Vice-Presidential candidate. Given the success of Edwards' campaign, his record in office, his respect among particular delegations and his tremendously high likeability, Sen. Kerry, selected Sen. John Edwards as his running mate.

John Edwards emphasized several key positions throughout his candidacy for both President, and ultimately, Vice-President as the running mate for John Kerry. In the realm of National Service, he believed in increasing military compensation; supporting the increase of servicemen's refundable child tax credit and improving the pay, housing and healthcare for American troops. Edwards' economic plan included short-term stimulation, while restoring long-term fiscal discipline and leveling the playing field for American businesses. Strengthening the public school systems in the United States was also a high priority for Edwards and had been throughout his political career. The public school educated senator openly opposed private school voucher plans.

Senator Edwards and Sen. Kerry were a dynamic duo running against the incumbent Bush administration. Kerry, a well respected, highly decorated Vietnam vet, and Edwards, a polished trial lawyer and self-made American success story, campaigned heavily in 'swing states' throughout



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