Published October 05, 2004
Title: N.C. senator elected 1998, 1st term up 2004
Born: June 10, 1953, Seneca, SC
Education: NC St. U., B.S. 1974, U. of NC at Chapel Hill, J.D. 1977
Marital Status: married (Elizabeth)
Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1977-98.
· Edwards grew up in the small North Carolina town of Robbins, where his father worked in a textile mill and his mother ran a small store.
· Edwards was the first in his family to go to college.
· In college, he opposed the Vietnam War and Nixon.
· Edwards registered for the draft in 1971, received a high lottery number for induction, and was never called to serve.
· After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in textile sciences, he went to law school at the University of North Carolina.
· There at the University of North Carolina he met his wife-to-be, a law student four years his senior. They pursued legal careers and had two children, Catharine and Wade.
· Upon graduating, he moved to Tennessee to join former Republican Governor Lamar Alexander's law firm.
· In 1981, he returned to North Carolina, to the politically well-connected Raleigh law firm of Wade Smith, a former Democratic Party state chairman.
· He won his first multi-million dollar verdict in 1984, which he followed the next year with a $6.5 million verdict for a 6-year-old girl who'd suffered brain damage at Pitt Memorial Hospital — at the time, the largest verdict in state history.
· In 1990, he was the youngest member inducted into The Inner Circle of Advocates, an invitation-only group of the nation's top 100 trial lawyers.
· Edwards left in 1993 to start his own firm with David Kirby.
· Edwards’ son Wade died in 1996 when the car he was driving flipped.
· Setting a record for North Carolina, Edwards won a $25-million jury award in 1997.
· Edwards accrued more than 45 million-dollar judgments or settlements during his career.
· In 1998, at the age of 48, Elizabeth Edwards gave birth to Emma Claire; she was 50 when their son was born two years later.
· Edwards' 1998 Senate campaign against Republican incumbent Lauch Faircloth was his first venture into politics. Before he was elected to the Senate in 1998, he had never held office. Edwards won with 51.2% of the vote.
· Edwards spent $6 million of their fortune to unseat Faircloth in 1998.
· On September 7, 2003, Edwards made the most momentous decision of his presidential campaign: to drop out of his 2004 Senate reelection race.
· Edwards comes from a swing state the Democrats haven't carried since 1976.
· John Edwards (D) 1,029,237 51%
· Lauch Faircloth (R) 945,943 47%
· Other 36,963 2%
· John Edwards (D) 277,468 51%
· D. G. Martin (D) 149,049 28%
· Ella Scarborough (D) 55,486 10%
· Robert Ayers Jr. (D) 22,477 4%
· Other 35,551 7%
· Lauch Faircloth (R) 1,297,892 50%
· Terry Sanford (D) 1,194,015 46%
· Other 85,984 3%
ON THE ISSUES
· Edwards supports a woman's right to choose, but also supports a ban on late-term abortions if there is an exception for the life and health of the mother.
· He opposed the partial-birth abortion ban signed by President Bush.
· He opposes prohibitions on abortion funding for federal employees, DC residents and women overseas at international family-planning centers.
· He is against the global gag rule, and he opposes preventing organizations from receiving federal funding or UN funding if they provide abortions or counsel patients about abortions.
· He has opposed anti-choice judicial nominations.
QUOTES ON ABORTION
· "You and I know that since the Supreme Court handed down this landmark decision (Roe v. Wade), forces have been hard at work trying to overturn it. When it comes to a woman's right to choose, there is no choice: I support it and will protect it one hundred percent." 01/22/2004
· "When I am president, I will protect a woman's right to choose and put her privacy and health ahead of political ideology." 11/05/2003
· "[I would] help lead a fight to pass a federal freedom of choice act so that [a woman's] right to choose is guaranteed and protected no matter what the court does." 09/19/1998
· "I think partial-birth abortions should be banned ... These are terribly gruesome procedures. I think the only exception is where there is a grave, serious threat to the health of the mother." 09/19/1998
· Edwards signed an amicus brief that that urged the Supreme Court to uphold affirmative action at the University of Michigan.
· He wants to eliminate legacy favoritism in college and university admissions policies.
QUOTES ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
· "I believe it's really important for people from the South to lead, not follow, on civil rights, that I think it's important for us to have judges that we know will enforce our civil rights laws. I believe the president is wrong about [opposing] the affirmative action program at the University of Michigan." 05/03/2003
· Edwards believes we should invest in paying teachers better and increasing pay for teachers who take on the toughest jobs. He would support a measure doubling the $3 billion that the federal government invests in teacher training, and believes the federal government should pay the educational costs for students who make a five-year commitment to teach in schools where teachers are in short supply.
· He would seek to establish afterschool programs at every school.
· Would promote a $3 billion "College for Everyone" plan. Students could receive one year of free tuition to public universities and community colleges if they work or serve their communities for an average of 10 hours each week. He also believes that colleges and universities should eliminate legacy preferences in admissions.
QUOTES ON EDUCATION
· "We shouldn't have two public school systems in America, one for the most affluent communities, one for everybody else." 01/27/2004
· "You don't have to wonder what I am for because I have a detailed plan to change America. The only plan that will not only fix No Child Left Behind, but lift up our teachers, shrink our largest high schools, and make sure every child who is willing to work can get their first year of college tuition at a public university for free!" 01/05/2004
· "When I am president, I will fix and fund No Child Left Behind. But I will go beyond anger at President Bush's failures. I will address the most fundamental problems in our schools today — by making a new commitment to teachers, by fixing our high schools, and by committing to after-school programs near every school." 01/05/2004
· "Let's end the shame of two public school systems in America where the quality of your education too often depends on the affluence of your neighborhood. And let's provide every person the chance to go to college by making the first-year tuition free if they're willing to work for it. I worked my way through college, and it didn't hurt me a bit." 09/16/2003
· "I wouldn't be where I am today without a great public school education." 10/13/2003
· Edwards does not support gay marriage. He opposes Bush's attempt to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage.
· He thinks the issue of civil unions, however, should be decided by individual states.
· He supports partnership benefits and believes that civil rights need to be extended and insured for gays and lesbians.
· He says the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy should be looked at and revised.
QUOTES ON GAY MARRIAGE
· "I oppose gay marriage. I also oppose President Bush's attempt to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage." 02/24/2004
· "Washington has no business playing politics with this issue. Marriage is left to the states today and should remain with the states." 02/24/2004
· "I don't think you can require one state to — for example, you can't allow the state of Massachusetts, if they decide that they're going to recognize gay marriage, to impose that standard on the rest of the country." 01/25/2004
· "As I have long said, I believe gay and lesbian Americans are entitled to equal respect and dignity under our laws. While I personally do not support gay marriage, I recognize that different states will address this in different ways, and I will oppose any effort to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution ...." 11/18/2003
· "They (gay and lesbian couples) deserve, in my judgment, partnership benefits. They deserve to be treater fairly when it comes to adoption and immigration." 01/22/2004
· Edwards proposes offering $25 billion in tax credits for parents to buy insurance from their employers or the Children's Health Insurance Program. He would offer tax credits for parents to buy insurance from their employers or the Children's Health Insurance Program.
· He says that children could be automatically enrolled in CHIP or Medicaid when they are born, when they register for school, when they come to health clinics, or when a parent files a tax return.
· Under this plan, parents will have a responsibility to cover their children. Parents who do not provide coverage would face a reduction in tax benefits equal to the cost of CHIP.
· He also proposes providing full funding so that states could allow adults to buy into Medicaid or CHIP at subsidized rates.
· Edwards also thinks we should allow those age 55 and older to buy into Medicare.
QUOTES ON HEALTH CARE
· "When I'm president, I will stand up to the drug companies and HMOs and put the American people first. I will clamp down on skyrocketing drug costs by allowing reimportation of drugs from other countries and stopping misleading drug advertisements. I'll add 100,000 nurses into the system to bring down costs and reduce medical errors, and we'll have a real Patients' Bill of Rights, like the one Senators Kennedy, McCain and I fought for on the Senate floor." 01/08/2004
· "America's health care system is broken and everyone knows it." 07/28/2003
· "When it comes to universal coverage, my view is simple: children first. When parents bring a child into this world, they have a responsibility to provide a safe home, a good education, and a lot of love. Every parent wants to do the right thing for his or her child. I believe health insurance should be one of those responsibilities and I want to help parents meet that responsibility." 07/28/2003
· "We ought to follow through on an idea that was first proposed by President Clinton to allow people over the age of 55 who are not eligible for Medicare into the Medicare system at cost, and below cost for those who can't afford it." 01/30/2003
· "The bottom line is [Medicare drug reform] is a bad bill. It's not a first step, it's a misstep. It's very good for the drug companies, it's very good for the HMOs, but it's bad for seniors and bad for America." 11/26/2003
· Edwards believes we need to shift the authority for tracking down domestic terrorists from the FBI to a new agency.
· He would seek to establish a new Homeland Intelligence Agency focused entirely on intelligence gathering and analysis.
· He proposes providing a $10 billion infusion for homeland security. These funds could be used to hire, retain and equip police officers, firefighters and EMTs. First responders in different regions of every state will be carefully chosen to receive classified information on terrorist threats.
· He would support substantial increases in the ranks of the INS, Border Patrol and consular officials. In addition, he thinks we should use more sophisticated screening technology at our ports, and accelerate the move to an "EZ-Pass System" for shippers.
· He also proposes extending scholarships to students who commit to serving in shortage homeland security professions for at least five years after graduation.
QUOTES ON HOMELAND SECURITY
· "The first priority of any government is to protect its citizens from harm, and so far, Washington is just not getting the job done. This is not about politics. This is about our national security. We must do better." 09/10/2003
· "If President Bush were truly serious about homeland security, he would do more than increase the threat level; he would increase support for cops and firefighters in our communities. I introduced a $50 billion state fiscal relief package that included $10 billion specifically dedicated to state and local homeland security needs." 12/22/2003
· Edwards supported the war in Iraq. He voted in favor of the congressional resolution authorizing the use of force, and supports a strong US commitment to help the Iraqi people rebuild.
· But Edwards believes the U.S. cannot rebuild Iraq alone and must bring other countries and institutions into this important effort. He thinks we must convince the United Nations to take over the civilian authority in Iraq, and that Iraq should be under a NATO security force.
· He thinks that any tribunal prosecuting Saddam Hussein will have to meet world-class standards of fairness and be seen as legitimate by both the Iraqi people and the international community. Edwards opposes the Bush administration's plans to turn the entire process of justice over to the Iraqi Governing Council.
· He also would overturn the Bush administration's order excluding some countries from participating in Iraq's reconstruction.
QUOTES ON IRAQ
· "I think it's a good thing that Saddam Hussein is gone. I think we should be proud of what our young men and women in the military did. I think the result of the war is a very good thing." 01/26/2004
· "We have to have the help of our friends and allies around the world. [First], to help relieve the burden on American troops and be able to bring some of these troops home. Second, to reduce the burden on the American taxpayer. We need to lead in a way that brings others to us and creates respect for America, because at the end of the day [that will make] a safer world." 09/09/2003
· "Recognizing America's responsibility in Iraq cannot mean giving a blank check for President Bush's failed policy that has been marred by special-interest giveaways, disdain for our allies, and the absence of any serious forward planning." 10/17/2003
· "[America should do] whatever it takes to disarm Saddam Hussein, including the use of military force." 02/22/2003
· Edwards supports repealing the Bush tax cuts for those earning over $200,000 a year.
· He supports providing a 10 percent tax credit for companies that keep jobs in America.
· He would also offer a matching tax credit of up to $5,000 to help Americans making a down payment on a first home.
· He would seek to create a $1,000 exclusion from capital gains taxes, as well as $500 dividend exclusion.
· He also proposes legislation which would match $1 in private savings with as much as a $1 refundable tax credit for savings, up to a limit of $1,000 per couple, for Americans with incomes up to $50,000.
QUOTES ON TAXES
· "We shouldn't have two tax systems, one for the special interests, the big corporations, many of whom pay no taxes at all, and one for all of those families who just work hard every year and pay their taxes and carry the tax burden in America." 01/27/2004
· "I am in favor of cutting taxes. I would reduce taxes for 95 percent of Americans below where the president would reduce taxes. The president says he wants to reduce taxes. I'm for reducing taxes. I'm not against reducing taxes." 01/26/2004
· "What I would do as president is stop President Bush's tax cuts for the top two income tax brackets — people who make over $200,000 a year — close a whole group of corporate tax loopholes to generate revenue ... We also ought to actually raise the capital gains rate for those who earn over $300,000 a year." 09/25/2003
· "What Bush is doing is trying to shift the tax burden in America from wealth to work. He wants to eliminate the capital gains tax, the dividends tax, the estate tax, all the taxation of wealth or passive income on wealth, and shift that tax burden to people who work for a living." 09/25/2003
WAR ON TERROR
· Edwards thinks we should increase international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.
· He would seek to strengthen international efforts to halt the spread of dangerous weapons, and upgrade our capacity to understand and analyze information related to the unique threats posed by WMD.
· He has proposed appointing a high-level "Non-Proliferation Director" to bring focus and energy to our non-proliferation efforts.
· He has also stated that the U.S. needs a new relationship with Saudi Arabia that no longer ignores that regime's pattern of tolerance and denial when it comes to terrorists.
QUOTES ON WAR ON TERROR
· "We cannot in the name of the war on terrorism and the need for homeland security let people like John Ashcroft take away our lives, our liberties, our freedoms. Those things go to the heart and soul of what makes America great." 06/08/2003
· "Al Qaeda and other groups continue to plot and plan around the world, but they are mistaken if they believe that their terrorist acts will weaken our country's and our allies' resolve to defeat them and their murderous ways." 11/20/2003
· "But today, we face a terrorist movement that has no interest in bargaining, only in killing. If Al Qaeda had possessed a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon on September 11th, there is no doubt in my mind they would have tried to use it. That is why to win the global war on terror, America does not need a new doctrine of pre-emption; we need a new strategy of prevention." 12/15/2003
· "When it comes to fighting the war on terror around the globe, we have to keep the big picture in mind, and stay true to our principles. This administration needs to rethink its visceral, short-sighted rejection of greater leadership in post-Taliban Afghanistan. We need a new relationship with Saudi Arabia, one that no longer ignores that regime's pattern of tolerance and denial when it comes to terrorists." 12/18/2002
"We must work with the world to win the war on terrorism and to finish the job in Iraq." 09/16/2003