Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Washington Post Profile On John Edwards
Finally, the media is starting to pay attention to John Edwards, especially as polls show Hillary's campaign imploding and questions about Barack's inexperience still dogging his campaign (Oprah notwithstanding). Here's an excerpt from this lengthy Washington Post profile on Edwards today titled, Beyond the Run of the Mill:
Always describing himself as "the son of a millworker," he tells stories of family hardships -- the one about his father having to borrow $50, at 100 percent interest, to bring his newborn son home from the hospital is a favorite -- and says he identifies with "the little guy." But he does so with such glibness, and frequency, and it contrasts so greatly with who he is today -- a polished former trial lawyer worth millions -- that the truth of his biography is sometimes lost. These days, Edwards's $400 haircuts and $6 million house garner the lion's share of attention, and he is testimony to the fact that youthful good looks aren't necessarily a political asset.
In an interview, Edwards dismisses the accusations of phoniness as "just politics." The rich-lawyer label rankles a little, though not enough for him to abandon the trappings that he has worked so hard to obtain. "What I want to say to people is 'Well, if I hadn't been successful, would that make me better qualified to be president?' " he asks.
On the campaign trail, however, he doesn't mind poking fun at himself. "My parents actually brought me home to a little house in Seneca, South Carolina," he told an appreciative crowd in last month in Bow, N.H. "Today, as many of you have heard, I don't live in a little house."
But there is another John Edwards, the one who tooled around tiny Robbins, N.C., in a red Plymouth Duster as a teenager, who took the greasiest summer jobs at the mill to earn money for college, who still often forces his staff to eat at Cracker Barrel because it reminds him oh-so-faintly of the big meals his mother used to cook. "You can never forget where you came from," he says more than once, and friends from the old days insist he is, at his core, still one of them.
"I've known that man over 40 years, and he's the real deal," says the Rev. John L. Frye Jr., pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, N.C., and one of Edwards's best boyhood friends. "I don't hear him saying anything different than the interests he truly has in his heart. I don't have any kind of disconnect."