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Edwards Announces that His Wife's Cancer Has Returned, But Campaign Will Continue

Edwards just announced that his wife, Elizabeth, got results this week showing that her cancer has returned. The cancer is now showing up in her bone. He said that now that the cancer is in the bone it is no longer cureable, but it is treatable, and that her doctor says test results give them reason for optimism. Elizabeth Edwards spoke and said she expects to live her life the same way next week that she did last week. Edwards said the campaign will continue, that they will not be "cowering in the corner."

Update: In my earlier post today I expressed my hope and prayers that Mrs. Edwards would not have bad news to report. I neglected to reiterate that sentiment in this post, which just conveyed the information from the press conference. I go into more detail in my earlier post, but for several reasons, in addition to simply being a compassionate human being, I will be praying for the Edwards family. I think they handled the press conference exactly as they should have. As for those saying Edwards should suspend his campaign now, I don't think anyone can know what is best for the Edwards, but the Edwards themselves.

Update II: Cancer is not a political issue.


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Comments (31)

As I said on the other thre... (Below threshold)

As I said on the other thread, my thoughts and prayers go out to Elizabeth and the family.

I admire her courage when she says she will live her life the same as before. It may be true that she will do the same things she did before, but the reality is that everything has changed. Everything takes on a different hue in such trying circumstances.

I wish the former Senator would take a bit more time to consider before announcing his plans for the campaign. Some things are more important.

Damn. As a cancer survivor ... (Below threshold)
Doug L.:

Damn. As a cancer survivor myself, I'm really sorry to hear about this.

I hope we can put politics aside for a few moments and remember the Edwards family in our prayers.

Nothing like a Democrat g... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Nothing like a Democrat getting free air time using the sickness of his wife to create some boogeyman to stand up against and look tuff. Edwards is politicizing his wifes cancer plain and simple. This is not a surprise.

I wish her well, but when s... (Below threshold)
cagey1:

I wish her well, but when she said she was down in the basement moving some boxes around, I was sure she was about to tell us that she had found all of their power bills for the past 30 years, & that they have never paid more than $12.98 for an entire year of gas & electricity--thanks to carbon off-sets, embryonic stem-cells, & tax increases on the rich.

& how is it funny for him to pretend he beat her? That's a joke??

The one thing I had to give... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The one thing I had to give credit to Edwards for last election is not exploiting his wife's illness.

Time, will tell. But with 24 build up to a national press conference. I'm thinking not so much this time around.

My bet is that Edwards is o... (Below threshold)
Lee:

My bet is that Edwards is out of the race as a result of this development.

As I said in the earlier th... (Below threshold)
jim:

As I said in the earlier thread, I do not know if I would vote for John Edwards, but I certainly wish full health for his wife. I personally find no fault with him communicating her status this way. To do otherwise was to let others decide if or how to use it to their own advantage or to serve their own agenda.

I wish them well, for them to live long and happy lives; I'm just not sure I want some of it to be lived in the White House.

I am sorry to hear that her... (Below threshold)
Skeptic:

I am sorry to hear that her cancer has returned. This time in a more devastating way. This does change her life and also her future significantly. Their young children's lives will not be the same no matter how much John Edwards wants to trudge along with the campaign.
I guess I see a selfish, narcissistic politician who I expect to capitalize on this news for sympathy and news cycle time. He offers nothing to this country that other democrat candidates don't, therefore it seems highly selfish of him to keep going.

Edwards has little chance o... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Edwards has little chance of getting the nomination, especially having to face the Clinton-Obama-Gore triad.

My advice: Give it up and concentrate on what's really important: Supporting your wife who needs you to be with her, not going around on the campaign trail on a hopeless quest for votes when the polls have already said you have no chance to win.

Differences in Politics and... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Differences in Politics and Ideology certain come into perspective when you are faced with more important things in life.

My prayers are with the Edwards family & hope his wife makes a speedy recovery.

This is sad news. And I ca... (Below threshold)
Jo:

This is sad news. And I can't believe they would continue with the campaign. I hate to say it, but John Edwards (like Al Gore) seems obsessed with becoming president, no matter what.

He has no chance of winning anything. He wasn't even reelected senator in his own home state. I say stay home with your wife and get your priorities in order. John, I know you think otherwise, but the country will survive if you don't run.

Again, my prayers go out to... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Again, my prayers go out to the Edwards family. May God watch over Elisabeth Edwarads.

I sincerely hope John Edwards reconsiders his decision to continue the campaign. There's simply nothing more important than family, including the Presidency.

Rob in LA:

Your comments are way, way off the mark. Knock off the political crap.

For once I agree with Jo. ... (Below threshold)

For once I agree with Jo. My sister died from metastasized breast cancer and it was pretty ugly. As I understand it, Elizabeth Edwards' chances for survival will be less than 1 in 10. Once it is in the bones, it will travel to the lungs and brain like it did with my sister. I can't imagine that the stress of Presidential campaign is going to benefit her in anyway. I'm not sure exactly what John Edwards is thinking here.

Re one of the comments abov... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

Re one of the comments above, it didn't bother me when he joked about "beating" her. Abuse is a serious issue, but he did that in a joking way to make everyone laugh at a tense time.

As for him exploiting the news, I don't believe he did. It is relevant to the campaign and I don't have a problem with today's announcement. I do think that, even without exploiting the news, it has the potential to help him some politically. I am sure he would much rather have his wife well than get a few extra points in the next poll though.

As for them continuing the campaign, that is impossible for anyone but them to judge -- at least considering what is known publically at this time. Before hearing the cancer news, I was pretty convinced that he was faltering, especially in SC, and that he did not have a good shot at the nomination.

For the commenter who commended Edwards for not exploiting Elizabeth's cancer in the previous election, it was not discovered until just prior to election day, as I recall. I should look it up, but since I am short on time will have to do so later, but I think she did not even tell him until either just before or right after the election, so he couldn't have disclosed the info because he did not know it himself until right around election day.

Lorie, you are right. They... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Lorie, you are right. They didn't discover the cancer until a day or so before the election. I think they announced it the day Kerry conceded the election to Bush.

P.S. All of this is detail... (Below threshold)
Jo:

P.S. All of this is detailed in Elizabeth Edwards book, which I did read.

I wish Elizabeth Edwards we... (Below threshold)
Langtry:

I wish Elizabeth Edwards well, as she has young children who need their mother. But for that fact, I really wouldn't care one way or the other about her.

Why? Because she is an opportunist in every sense of the word. Her book is a vanity exercise, devised in part to raise awareness about Breast Cancer, but in larger part an exercise in softening up her husband's less-than-sympathetic image. This level of politics is high-stakes poker, people, and don't for a moment think that Elizabeth and John Edwards are unaware of this fact.

I also don't care for her comments, after Dick Cheney took umbrage to John Edwards' outing of Cheney's daughter, Mary. The comments were that Cheney's refusal to bring his daughter up as a campaign issue was undicative of "deep-seated shame" and that Cheney needed to, in effect, get over it. Those remarks were ugly and uncalled for, and a truly "pleasant" woman would not have made them.

Sorry, but I will say my prayers for people I know who are suffering, and not a woman whose flung her fair share of mud in the name of political gain.

"I hope we can put politics... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

"I hope we can put politics aside for a few moments and remember the Edwards family in our prayers."

I don't need to put anything aside to say a prayer for someone.

"Put politics aside" Exactly what does that mean?

Most Democrats at the level of Edwards are incapable of "putting politics aside" and there is little if any argument. It's like asking them to remove their skin. An older relative deeply involved in the Democrat Party did not have the decency to refrain from "Bashing Bush" while still in church at my Uncles Funeral. Oh , he whispered so I better take that back.


I would like to say , I appreciate Congressman Joe Baca ,the embattled chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, for taking the time ,("Put politics aside") attending my Uncles Funeral.

Does "Not Mentioning" party affiliation count as "putting politics aside"? lol, just curious.

I like how most people on h... (Below threshold)
Pete:

I like how most people on here start off with their prayers for the family and then, after hitting return twice, turn around and smear them. Then there are the folks who don't even bother with their prayers.

I seriously don't get conservatives.

Pete: "I seriously don't... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Pete: "I seriously don't get conservatives."

You might want to change that last word to 'some people', Pete. Back when I wrote that I had been diagnosed with cancer, not all the comments about it from readers were courteous.

Some Democrats are scum, and so are some Republicans. It's part of life.

I want to mention a reason why the Edwards (both of them) are making such a big deal about John staying in the race. It's not as though John was the front-runner, or even close. But when you get a diagnosis like that, it gets real personal, not to give an inch to the damn pathogen. You don't want to let it change who you are or what you do or what you believe. The way I see it, is John and Elizabeth are saying they are going to fight this thing, all of it, and God bless them for the fight.

I don't think they have any illusions about what is to come. Elizabeth has already been through this before, with surgery and radiation and so on. So she knows it will be rough, painful, and depressing. And for once, I don't see John Edwards as playing this up. His wife is facing a disease which is - still - trying to kill her, and anyone would be hard-hit by the news.

He's a man whose wife is facing a terrible ordeal, and she is going through it. Trust me, they're not playing games here or looking for an angle. They're just trying to get through this.

DJ - A fair point; yours is... (Below threshold)
Pete:

DJ - A fair point; yours is in every way an honorable position. My wife is actually fighting breast cancer right now (ductal carcinoma in situ) and is about to go in for a simple mastectomy; I'm kind of not in the mood to hear about how breast cancer is a political prop, you know?

I guess this gets to one of the longer term issues that we have in terms of our political discourse, that being the intense tendency to groupthink and distrust that both sides seem to struggle with. I'm guilty of it here, by taking a swipe at "conservatives" rather than individuals who're being cruel, but then you have the "liberals hate America" because of what some idiot anarchist kids do in Portland, that kind of thing.

I think it's kind of a deni... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

I think it's kind of a denial thing too, Pete. Cancer is still one of the scariest words to hear, and some folks just will not accept that it is real. It took me more than a week to register when my oncologist first told me that I might not live past 2008 unless I got immediate treatment. You hear the words, but you don't really process them, you know?

I'm sorry to hear about your wife. Sometimes it's hardest on the spouse. Back on the 9th, I was in MD Anderson for a CT Scan and other tests, and I saw this couple waiting in the CT Scan waiting room. We patients were obvious, because we all had the patient wristbands, and so the wives/husbands, etc. who were nearby each patient were also obvious.

I saw this big construction-worker-type guy sitting with his wife. He made a point of smiling at her whenever he knew she was looking, but when she was reading or doing something else, I could see this guy was going through hell. Big tough guy, and there wasn't a damn thing he could do but sit there.

That is hell to carry, and I saw that face on my wife more than a few times. So anyone who thinks that John Edwards is not worried sick about Elizabeth, or that he cares more about anything than finding a way to help her get through this alive and well, well they just don't know what the deal is really about.

God bless you and your wife, Pete, and may He bring the Edwards through this ordeal with mercy and recovery.

Rob:What I meant a... (Below threshold)
Doug L.:

Rob:

What I meant about "putting politics aside" is that the Edwards family is facing a life-and-death situation, which should be more important than whether someone is a Democrat or Republican or whether they're running for President.

I'd like to think that every once in awhile people on the Web could stop seeing everything in a political light and just be concerned for someone else's health. But I'm probably hoping for too much in the present climate.

This news sucks for the Edwards family. I'm really sorry to hear it. I was speaking merely as a cancer survivor, not as a conservative.

You said:
Most Democrats at the level of Edwards are incapable of "putting politics aside" and there is little if any argument. It's like asking them to remove their skin.

That may be true. (It sure seems like it these days.) But your comments aren't "putting politics aside," as least as far as I can tell......


I don't think they have ... (Below threshold)

I don't think they have any illusions about what is to come. Elizabeth has already been through this before, with surgery and radiation and so on.

If this is a metastasis then it's definitely NOT the same as what she had before. With metastasizing cancer, the cancer cells rapidly spread from the original tumor site through the blood and lymphatic system to produce cancers in other organs and tissues throughout the body.

I went through this with my sister. The metastasis appeared a year after her initial (apparently successful) treatment for breast cancer. It first appeared in her brain, then her lungs, abdomen and bones. The metastatic cancer cells spread much faster and are much harder to kill than the original breast cancer cells. Within 6 months she was bedridden in constant pain and on a respirator. She was dead by 9 months.

I just can't see Edwards campaigning in New Hampshire while he wife is bed-ridden. Maybe he doesn't understand what they are up against (and I could be wrong if it's not a metastasis).

I don't think he has his priorities in the right place.


DJ, you said:So... (Below threshold)
Doug L.:

DJ, you said:

Sometimes it's hardest on the spouse....I could see this guy was going through hell. Big tough guy, and there wasn't a damn thing he could do but sit there. That is hell to carry, and I saw that face on my wife more than a few times.

You're absolutely right. Seeing me go through cancer treatment was the hardest thing my wife's ever done. And I'm sorry that Mr. Edwards has to go through this all over again.

What I meant Larkin, was th... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

What I meant Larkin, was that the whole mess of bureacracy, paperwork, treatment, side effect, not knowing much but fearing the worst, will all come back again.

And I think John is still in shock.

I feel sorry for their two ... (Below threshold)
bio mom:

I feel sorry for their two little kids. They will need their father these next years. I cannot fathom how he will be able to give to them what they need and still run for president of the United States!! It is not like soldiering on in your usual day job. He is still a young man and the run for president occurs every 4 years. This really isn't the time for it. It is their personal decision, of course, but we are evaluating whom to vote for to lead our country and peoples' judgment is an important aspect of that choice.

His wife's dying improves E... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

His wife's dying improves Edward's "negatives". The guy is a political vampire.

Pete , I'm Registered De... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Pete , I'm Registered Democratic, does that make any difference? Are you saying conservatives are Rublicans?

I like DJ's analysis about the Edwards and would add that there are others invested in his campaign as well who are looking to benefit should he win. At the same time I cannot disagree with Langtry , Sheehan and Harry Reid come to mind.

I probably should have sa... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

I probably should have said the Edwards Camp sincce they have something invested and no wife to lose.

It's a sad day for the Edwa... (Below threshold)
Kyle:

It's a sad day for the Edwards family. Disregard politics. She is in for a tough fight. Our prayers should be, and are, with her, as they should be for anyone facing a fight with cancer.
It's impossibly hard to live in front of the cameras (even if you asked for it by running a national campaign), so let's not micro-analyze everything they said in today's presser (although I couldn't help but notice how much affection they have for each other). Let's adopt a snark-free rule all around for the life of this comment thread.




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